SEIU-UOPD Article 17. Grievance

ARTICLE 17:  GRIEVANCE AND ARBITRATION PROCEDURE

Section 1.  Grievances are defined as acts, omissions, applications or interpretations alleged to be violations of the terms or conditions of this Agreement.

Grievances shall be filed within thirty (30) calendar days of the date the grievant or the Union knows or by reasonable diligence should have known of the alleged grievance, or in the case of discipline, within thirty (30) calendar days of the effective date of the action.  In the event that a deadline for filing a grievance, submitting a grievance response, or appealing a grievance response falls on a Saturday, Sunday or University holiday, such action will be considered timely if it is taken by 5:00 p.m. on the following business day (Monday – Friday).

Grievances shall be reduced to writing, and shall be signed by the grievant(s), stating the specific Article(s) alleged to have been violated and clear explanation of the alleged violation, sufficient to allow processing of the grievance.  In the case of group grievances, the grievance shall specifically enumerate, by name, the affected employees, when known.  Otherwise, the affected employees will be generically described (i.e., work location, classification, approximate number of employees) in the grievance.  Grievances shall be filed at all steps of this procedure on the form identified as the Official Statement of Grievance Form.  Once filed, the Union shall not expand upon the original elements and substance of the written grievance.

All grievances shall be processed in accordance with this Article and it shall be the sole and exclusive method of resolving grievances.  However, grievances arising under Article 19 - No Discrimination shall be subject to the alternative procedures specifically outlined in that Article.

At the request of either party, a meeting between the Union and the University representatives will take place at any step of the grievance procedure within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of the request.  If a meeting is held at the request of the grievant and/or the Union, any time limit for the University’s response set forth below shall run from the date of the meeting.

Section 2. Time limits specified in this and the above-referenced Articles shall be strictly observed, unless either party requests a specific extension of time, which if agreed to, must be stipulated in writing and shall become part of the grievance record.  “Filed” for purposes of all grievances shall mean postmarked (dated by meter or U.S. Post Office), faxed, emailed or hand-delivered by the close of the business day (5:00 p.m.) to the appropriate office identified in Appendix I of this Agreement. 

If at any step of the grievance procedure, the University fails to issue a response within the specified time limits, the grievance may be advanced to the next step of the grievance procedure.  If the grievant or Union fails to meet the specified time limits, at any step of the grievance and arbitration procedure, the grievance will be considered withdrawn and it cannot be resubmitted.

Grievance steps referred to in this Article may be waived by mutual agreement in writing.  Such written agreements shall become part of the grievance file.

Section 3.  When required by the University to investigate the grievance, any time spent by employee(s) to attend meetings during regular working hours, shall be considered as work time.

Section 4.  Multi-Supervisor Grievances.  Where there are grievances involving two (2) or more supervisors, such grievances shall be filed and processed in accordance with Step 2 of the grievance procedure. The grievance shall specifically enumerate, by name, the affected employees, when known. Otherwise, the affected employees will be generically described (i.e., work location, classification, approximate number of employees) in the grievance.

Section 5.  Grievance Procedure. Grievances shall be processed as per Appendix I (Grievance Filing and Timeline Chart).

(A)       Step 1.  The grievant(s), or the Union on behalf of the grievant(s), shall file the grievance consistent with the requirements of Section 1 with his/her immediate excluded supervisor, except in the case of grievances described in paragraph B of this Section.  The supervisor shall respond in writing to the grievant(s) within thirty (30) calendar days from the receipt of the grievance.

The parties agree that all Step 1 grievance settlements are non-precedential and shall not be cited by either party or their agents or members in any arbitration or fact-finding proceedings now or in the future.  Step 1 grievance settlements shall be reduced to writing and signed by the grievant and the immediate excluded supervisor.

The settlement shall include the statement:

“Step 1 grievance settlements are non-precedential and may not be cited by either party or their agents or members in any arbitration or fact finding proceedings now or in the future.”

Actions taken pursuant to Step 1 settlement agreements shall not be deemed to establish or change practices under this Agreement, including but not limited to Article 5 – Complete Agreement/Past Practices, or ORS Chapter 243 and shall not give rise to any bargaining or other consequential obligations.

Step 2.  When the response at Step 1 does not resolve the grievance, the grievance must be filed by the Union within thirty (30) calendar days after the Step 1 response is due or received, whichever occurs first.  The appeal shall be filed in writing to the University Vice President of Finance and Administration or designee, who shall respond in writing within thirty (30) calendar days after receipt of the Step 2 appeal.

Step 3.  Failing to settle the grievance in accordance with Step 2, the appeal, if pursued, must be filed by the Union and received by the University President or designee within thirty (30) calendar days after the Step 2 response is received. A copy of the Step 3 appeal shall be sent concurrently to the University’s Human Resources Office.  The University President or designee shall respond in writing within thirty (30) calendar days from receipt of the Step 3 appeal.  A copy of the Step 3 response shall be sent concurrently to the Union representative filing the Step 3 appeal, the Union’s Legal Department, and the Union’s Member Resource Center.

Pursuant to Article 19 - No Discrimination, grievances involving discrimination must be appealed to BOLI and/or EEOC.

Step 4.  Grievances that are not satisfactorily resolved at Step 3 may be appealed to arbitration, in accordance with Section 6 of this Article.  The Union may elect to arbitrate dismissal grievances under Section 6 or Section 10 of this Article, but not both. 

(B)       Exceptions to Initial Filing at Step 1.

(1)  Grievances Filed Initially at Step 2.

The following types of grievances shall be filed initially with the University Vice President of Finance and Administration or designee (Step 2), in accordance with the procedures specified in Sections 1 and 5(A) of this Article:

  1. Discipline grievances above a letter of reprimand other than dismissal;
  2. Discrimination grievances (Article 19 - No Discrimination);
  3. Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)/Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA)  grievances;
  4. Layoff and recall grievances (Article 41 - Layoff);
  5. Grievances alleging a violation of Article 2 – Recognition.

(2)  Grievances Filed Initially at Step 3.

The following types of grievances shall be filed initially with the University President or designee (Step 3) in accordance with the procedures specified in Sections 1 and 4 of this Article:

(a)  Dismissal grievances;

(b) Multi-Supervisor grievances (Article 17 - Grievance and Arbitration Procedure, Section 4)

(C)       Family Medical Leave Act/Oregon Family Leave Act Grievances. 

Any grievances alleging a violation of Article 34 – Sick Leave, Section 7, Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will be submitted in writing within thirty (30) calendar days of the date the grievant or the Union knows or by reasonable diligence should have known of the alleged grievance, directly to the University President or designee or designee as defined or used in this Section.   The University President or designee  or designee shall respond within thirty (30) calendar days after receipt of the grievance.  All unresolved FMLA grievances may be submitted by the Union or the grievant to the U.S. Department of Labor if not already so filed.  All unresolved OFLA grievances may be submitted by the Union or the grievant to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) if not already so filed.  However, such grievances shall not be subject to arbitration under this Agreement.  Nothing in this Article shall preclude an employee from filing a complaint with BOLI or the U.S. Department of Labor at any time. 

Section 6 (A).  Arbitration Selection and Authority.   For dismissal grievances refer to Section 10 of this Article.  Within fifty-five (55) calendar days of receipt of the University Police Department Chief’s or designee’s  response at Step 3 by the Union’s Legal Department, the Union shall notify the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) of the dispute and request a list of arbitrators that shall be specifically limited to Oregon, Washington and Idaho arbitrators.  (During the term of the 2015-17 Agreement, the parties shall attempt to reach agreement on a permanent panel of arbitrators and a process for using such arbitrators, in lieu of the current FMCS selection process.  In the absence of agreement on such a panel and process, the current selection process will be retained.)  A copy of such notice shall be sent concurrently to the University Human Resources Office.  Selection of arbitrators and dates shall be in accordance with the rules of FMCS.  The arbitration will be handled in accordance with the rules of FMCS.  In the event the Union fails to notify FMCS within fifty-five (55) calendar days of receipt of the University’s Step 3 response, as specified above, the grievance shall be considered withdrawn and it cannot be resubmitted. The Union may request, and the University may agree, to an additional thirty (30) calendar days in which to file a request to select an arbitrator.  However, any additional time agreed to will not be used in calculating the University’s liability for any remedy awarded by an arbitrator.

(B)  The arbitrator shall have the authority to hear and rule on all issues that arise over substantive or procedural arbitrability.  Such issues, if raised, must be heard prior to hearing the merits of any appeal to arbitration.  Upon motion by either party to bifurcate the hearing on procedural or substantive arbitrability issues, the arbitrator will make the determination on bifurcation.  Should the arbitrator choose to take the arbitrability issue under advisement and proceed with the merits, he/she shall issue a written decision on the arbitrability issue only, should the issue be found to be nonarbitrable.

(C)  The Parties agree that the decision or award of the arbitrator shall be final and binding on each of the parties. The arbitrator shall issue his/her decision or award within thirty (30) calendar days of the closing of the hearing record.  The arbitrator shall have no authority to rule contrary to, to amend, add to, subtract from, change or eliminate any of the terms of this Agreement, and shall be confined to the application and interpretation of this Agreement. The arbitrator shall not make any decision that limits or interferes with the authority of the University, except as modified by this Agreement.

(D)  The Parties shall split the arbitrator’s charges equally.  Should a grievance be withdrawn after the selection of an arbitrator, all charges by the arbitrator shall be paid by the withdrawing party unless the grievance is withdrawn pursuant to a settlement of the grievance.  All other expenses shall be borne exclusively by the party requiring the service or item for which payment is to be made.

Section 7.  A grievant and the Steward of record shall be granted leave with pay for appearance in arbitration proceedings, including the time required going and returning to his/her headquarters. 

Section 8.   No reprisals shall be taken against any employee for exercise of his/her rights under the provisions of this Article.

Section 9.  Grievance Committee.   A committee of two (2) Union Stewards for the bargaining unit shall be appointed by the Union to act as a grievance committee.  The committee shall discuss pending employee grievances for the purpose of achieving resolutions at the lowest possible level of the grievance procedure.  The Union Stewards appointed to this committee shall be allowed no more than one (1) hour on duty per month for committee meetings, without loss of pay and benefits provided time off is prescheduled with the supervisor and activity is reported to the supervisor pursuant to Article 9 - Union Rights.  The university shall suffer no overtime obligation as a result of this Article. 

Section 10 (A).  Expedited Arbitration of Dismissal Grievances.  If the Union wishes to proceed to arbitration on a dismissal grievance it shall notify the University of its intent to proceed to arbitration within twenty (20) calendar days following the date that the Step 3 response was received by the Union’s Legal Department.  A copy of the notice shall be sent to the University Human Resources Office.  Unless the Union specifies in such notice that it wishes to process the grievance under Section 6(A) of this Article, the parties agree to use the expedited procedure specified in this Section, and the parties will mutually arrange for scheduling an arbitrator in accordance with paragraph (B) of this Section.

(B)  The parties have agreed on a list of five arbitrators who have agreed in advance to be available on short notice to hear such cases.  Arbitrators shall be used on a rotational basis. An arbitrator unable to hear an expedited arbitration case within sixty (60) calendar days of his/her selection shall be deemed unavailable and the next arbitrator in turn will be selected.  If no arbitrators on the list are available to hear the case within sixty (60) calendar days, the earliest available arbitrator shall be used. 

(C)  The hearing shall be conducted as soon as practicable.  Except by mutual agreement, there shall be no transcripts.  The arbitrator shall issue a decision as soon as possible, but no later than twenty-one (21) calendar days after the hearing has been closed.  The 21-day requirement may only be waived by mutual agreement of the parties.

Section 11.  Steward Meetings.  The Chief Steward or Steward designated by the Union and the University’s chief human resources officer or designee shall schedule meetings as needed, but not more frequently than every other month, to review pending grievances and contractual issues and to make good faith efforts to resolve such grievances and issues.  The Chief Steward or Steward designated by the Union and the University’s chief human resources officer or designee shall mutually agree on the participation of other Union and University representatives at these meetings on a case-by-case basis.  Such meetings shall take place during regular working hours.  Bargaining unit employees authorized to attend these meetings shall be considered to be on work time.

Section 12.  Upon the Union’s written request in support of a specific grievance, the University, within a reasonable period of time, will provide a listed summary of redacted University-issued disciplinary actions.  Such requests will not extend beyond the statutory records retention requirement and the cost for preparing the summary will be borne by the Union.