22.1 Definition. A grievance, within the meaning of this Agreement, shall be defined as any dispute between the University and the Union, an employee, or a group of employees as to alleged misapplication or misinterpretation of the terms of this Agreement or the Employer's written personnel rules, policies or practices.
22.2 Employee Grievance Rights. Any employee who believes he/she has been aggrieved may personally seek relief from that condition by filing a grievance, irrespective of any supervisor's opinion of the grievance's validity. In the presentation of grievances, the employees shall be safe from restraint, interference, discrimination, or reprisal.
22.3 Employee Representation. The Union as exclusive representative of bargaining unit employees is the responsible representative of said employees in grievance matters. However, an employee may be self-represented or select a representative outside the Union membership for Steps One and Two. In such cases, the Union shall not be held liable for the results or costs of such outside representation and will be considered an interested party to the proceedings.
22.4 Time Limitations. An extension of the time limitations as stipulated in the respective steps below, may be obtained by mutual consent of the parties. Failure of the employee to comply with the time limitations without a request of time extension shall constitute withdrawal of the grievance. Failure of the Employer to comply with the time limitations without a request for time extension shall establish the right of the employee to proceed with Union concurrence to the next step of the grievance procedure. For the purposes of calculating time requirements, the first day shall be the day following the day on which the employee was aware, or reasonably should have been aware, of the issue giving rise to the grievance. Saturdays, Sundays, and University holidays shall be included in the calculation of days except that the final day may not be on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday but will end at the close of the first working day following the Saturday, Sunday, or holiday.
22.5 Pay Status – Meetings. Meetings and discussions on the grievance held with the Employer in connection with this grievance procedure shall normally be held during the University's regular business hours, or as mutually agreeable, and no deduction in pay status shall be made for the grievant or steward for reasonable time spent in such meetings or discussions during the employee's scheduled duty hours. The work schedule of the grievant will be seriously considered in the scheduling of the grievance meetings. Time off for employees and Stewards shall be granted by supervision following a request, but in consideration of job responsibilities. If the requested time off cannot be granted, the parties shall arrange for time off at the earliest possible time thereafter.
22.6 Grievance Withdrawal. A grievance may be withdrawn in writing at any time by mutual agreement of both parties and if withdrawn shall not be resubmitted.
22.7 Steps of the Grievance Procedure. All grievances shall be processed in accordance with the following procedure. Grievances over final counseling or dismissal will begin at Step Two. For all other grievances, the parties may agree to waive Step One. For grievances filed directly at Step Two, the grievant will have thirty (30) calendar days from the occurrence of the situation, condition or action that caused the grievant to file.
Step One: Presentation. Within thirty (30) calendar days of the occurrence of a situation, condition, or action that caused the grievance, the employee(s) affected and/or the steward or Union representative shall present the grievance to the employee's immediate supervisor for resolution. The Human Resources Consultant may also attend, if desired by the University. Presentation of the grievance shall include a short written description of the subject of the grievance and the contract Articles allegedly violated. If the grievance is directed against the employee's immediate supervisor, the grievance may be presented to the next higher level of supervision. In the event the employee's immediate supervisor does not have authority to resolve the grievance, the grievance will be presented at the level having authority to act as determined by the Employer. The Employer will respond within five (5) calendar days of the meeting.
In the event an employee files a grievance outside the department in which he/she is employed and the grievance cannot be resolved at Step One, the grievance will be processed at Step Two by the level of management as designated by the University in the department which has been named in the grievance.
Step Two: If a satisfactory settlement is not reached in Step One, and the employee wishes to pursue the matter further, said grievance shall be put into writing on the agreed upon grievance form and referred to the department head or designee or to the next appropriate level of management and the Office of Labor Relations within fifteen (15) calendar days after the decision from Step One. The date of alleged occurrence of the grievance shall be specified. The parties shall attempt to meet to resolve the grievance within fifteen (15) calendar days following the date of written submittal. At this step, the Union agrees to cite all known sections of the Agreement and/or written policy or practice allegedly violated and to provide a copy to the Human Resources Office and Office of Labor Relations. The grievant may be represented by a steward and a union staff representative. The University will be represented by the appropriate management official(s) or designee(s), a representative from the Office of Labor Relations, and a Human Resources Consultant, if desired by the University. The University will respond in writing within ten (10) calendar days.
Step Three: Grievance Mediation. If a satisfactory settlement is not reached at Step Two, the grievant with authorization from the Union may submit the written grievance within fifteen (15) calendar days to the Office of Labor Relations requesting grievance mediation. A response to the request will be issued within ten (10) days.
Upon mutual agreement, the Employer and the Union shall request, within ten (10) calendar days, grievance mediation services of the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC). If those services are unavailable on a timely basis, the parties shall immediately request a list of grievance mediators from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) or other agreed upon mediation provider. The cost of the mediation shall be borne equally by both parties.
Step Four: Arbitration. If a satisfactory settlement is not reached at the prior step, either of the signatory parties to this Agreement may submit the grievance to binding arbitration. Such submittal must be made within thirty (30) calendar days following the conclusion of the prior step.
Within sixty (60) calendar days of the execution of the Agreement, the parties agree to meet to establish a permanent panel of ten (10) arbitrators. These arbitrators shall be assigned cases by the parties on a rotating basis. If the arbitrator is not available to hear the case within ninety (90) calendar days of the decision by either party to go to arbitration, the parties will contact the next arbitrator in the rotation. If no arbitrator can hear the case within ninety (90) calendar days, the case will be assigned to the arbitrator who can hear the case on the earliest date. If an individual arbitrator decides to remove his/her name from the panel or if one or more members of the panel are not continued by either party, the parties will meet to decide whether to substitute an additional name(s).
No later than seven (7) working days prior to the scheduled arbitration meeting, the parties will submit questions of arbitrability to the arbitrator for preliminary determination, share the name of each witness intending to testify at the hearing, and attempt to agree upon the issue statement. A copy of written materials submitted to the arbitrator will be provided to the opposing party.
The parties agree that the arbitrator shall have no power to render a decision that adds to, subtracts from, alters or modifies in any way the terms and conditions of the Agreement. The parties further agree that the decision of the arbitrator will be final and binding upon all parties. The Union or the Employer will have the right to request the arbitrator to require the presence of witnesses and/or documents. The cost of the arbitration shall be borne equally by the parties and each party shall bear the full cost of presenting its own case including any expert or attorney's fees and costs. The arbitrator's decision shall be made in writing and the arbitrator shall be encouraged to render the decision within thirty (30) calendar days of the close of the arbitration.
In cases where a grievance is moved to arbitration and the parties did not avail themselves of Step Three: Grievance Mediation, the moving party shall have the unilateral right to demand a pre-arbitration settlement conference. These conferences shall not delay the arbitration process, and may be held with or without the presence of the arbitrator, at the option of the moving party. In the event that an arbitrator is present, the cost of the arbitrator's participation shall be borne equally by the parties.
22.8 Files. Grievance documents shall be maintained separately from employee personnel files. Employee personnel files will accurately reflect the final outcome of a grievance.