(From RPCEA Contract 2014-17)
Article 10: Procedure for Grievances
10.1.1 A “grievance” is an allegation by a unit member and/or the Association that he/she/it has been directly and adversely affected by a misapplication, a misinterpretation, or a violation of a specific provision of this Agreement.
10.1.2 A “grievant” is a unit member and/or the Association.
10.1.3 A “day” is a work day for the grievant. In the event of a group or an Association grievance, a “day” is a day on which the District Office is open for business.
10.2 Informal - Step I
10.2.1 Before filing a formal grievance, the grievant shall attempt to resolve it by an informal conference with the immediate supervisor.
10.3 Formal - Step II
10.3.1 If resolution is not achieved, the grievant, within twenty (20) days of the date the grievant knew or should have known of the occurrence of the act or omission giving rise to the grievance, may file a formal grievance on the prescribed form (Appendix C).
10.3.2 This statement shall be a clear, concise statement of the grievance, the specific section of the Collective Bargaining Agreement allegedly misinterpreted, misapplied or violated, the circumstances involved, the decision rendered at the informal conference, and the specific remedy sought.
10.3.3 Upon request of the grievant, a meeting shall be held between the immediate supervisor and the grievant.
10.3.4 Within ten (10) days of the filing of the grievance, the immediate supervisor shall send a written response to the grievant.
10.4 Formal - Step III
10.4.1 In the event that the grievant is not satisfied with the decision at Step II, the grievant may appeal the decision on the prescribed form to the Superintendent, or his/her designee, within ten (10) days after receiving the decision from Step II.
10.4.2 This statement shall include a copy of the original grievance and appeal, the decisions rendered, and a clear, concise statement of the reasons for the appeal.
10.4.3 Upon request of the grievant, the Superintendent or his/her designee shall meet with the grievant and his/her/its representative.
10.4.4 Within ten (10) days of the receipt of the appeal to Step III, the Superintendent shall transmit his/her written response to the grievant and the Association.
10.5 Formal - Step IV
10.5.1 In the event the grievant is not satisfied with the decision at Step III, he/she/it may, within ten (10) days after the receipt of the decision from the Superintendent or his/her designee, request in writing that the Association submit the grievance to an arbitrator. The Association, by written notice to the Superintendent within fifteen (15) days after the receipt of the request from the grievant, may submit the grievance to an arbitrator. If not submitted by the Association, the decision at Step III shall become final. The Association shall identify each aspect of the Superintendent’s decision with which the grievant disagrees.
10.5.2 The parties shall select a mutually acceptable arbitrator. Should they be unable to agree on an arbitrator within fifteen (15) days of the Association’s submission of the grievance to the arbitration, submission of the grievance shall be made to the California State Conciliation Services with a request that a list of arbitrators be submitted.
10.5.3 If a claim is raised regarding the ability to arbitrate the grievance as a result of the alleged violation of the terms of this Article, such claim shall be ruled on first by the arbitrator.
10.5.4 The decision of the arbitrator shall be based solely upon the evidence and arguments presented by the respective parties in the presence of each other, and upon arguments prescribed in briefs. The arbitrator shall have no power to alter, amend, change, add to, or subtract from any of the terms of this Agreement but shall determine only whether or not there has been a violation of an expressed term of this Agreement in the respect alleged in the grievance.
10.5.5 The Agreement constitutes a contract between the parties which shall be interpreted and applied by the parties and by the arbitrator in the same manner as any other contract under the laws of the State of California. The function and purpose of the arbitrator is to determine disputed interpretation of terms actually found in the Agreement or to determine disputed facts upon which the application of the Agreement depends.
10.5.6 The arbitrator’s decision shall be in writing and shall set forth findings of fact, reasoning, and conclusions on the issues submitted. The arbitrator will be without power or authority to make any decision which requires the commission of an act prohibited by law or which is in violation of the terms of the Agreement. However, it is agreed that the arbitrator is empowered to include in any awards such financial reimbursement or other remedies as he judges to be proper. The decision of the arbitrator will be submitted to the Superintendent and the Association and will be final and binding upon the parties of this Agreement.
10.5.7 All costs for the services of the arbitrator, including but not limited to, per diem expenses, his/her travel and subsistence expenses and the cost of any hearing room will be borne equally by the District and the Association. All other costs will be borne by the party incurring them.
10.6.1 No reprisals of any kind will be taken by the District, its employees, or agents against participants in the grievance procedure by reasons of such participation.
10.6.2 The grievant has the right to be represented at any step in this procedure by the Association; however, the Association shall be permitted to attend all grievance meetings to assure that the resolution of a grievance is not inconsistent with the terms of this Agreement.
10.6.3 The grievant, Association representative, and any necessary witnesses shall be granted release time to attend any hearings or meetings required by this grievance process.
10.6.4 All documents, communications, and records dealing with the processing of a grievance shall be filed in a separate grievance file at the District Office. Pending processing, and until a final determination has been reached, all proceedings shall be private, subject to the provisions of the Brown Act. The grievant or the Association shall be permitted to examine and/or obtain copies of materials in such grievance file.
10.6.5 Time limits at each step shall begin the day following receipt of written decision by the parties in interest. Such time limits can only be extended by mutual agreement of the Association and the District.
10.6.6 If the parties agree that a grievance affects a group or class of unit members, the affected employee may submit such grievance in writing to the Superintendent directly, and the processing of such grievance shall commence at Step II.
10.6.7 A decision rendered at any step in these procedures becomes final and binding upon all parties unless appealed within the time limit specified. If a decision is not given within the time limit, an appeal may be taken directly to the next level.
10.6.8 Forms for filing grievance, serving notices, taking appeals, making reports and recommendations, and other necessary documents will be prepared by the Superintendent and given appropriate distribution so as to facilitate operation of the grievance procedure. The costs of preparing such forms shall be borne by the District.
10.6.9 Until final disposition of a grievance takes place, the grievant is required to conform to the original decision of his/her immediate supervisor.