The purpose of our contract grievance procedure is to
establish a fair and agreed-upon method of resolving disputes arising over the
interpretation or application of particular clauses in our collective
bargaining Agreement and/or college/university policy. A fair grievance
procedure is the historically proven method of avoiding protracted and mutually
ruinous conflicts between employees and their employer.
WHAT IS A GRIEVANCE?
Our Agreement defines a grievance as “a breach,
misinterpretation or improper application of terms” of the Agreement itself or
“an arbitrary or discriminatory application of, or failure to act pursuant to,
the applicable policies or rules of a Board of Trustees, or applicable
regulations or statutes which establish terms and conditions of employment.” (Article VII.B) In short, any violation of our contract, of the law, of the
policies of the individual college/university Boards of Trustees, or of the
normal practices and procedures at your college/university are subject to our
EXAMPLES OF COMMON GRIEVANCES
Experience has shown that certain problems occur often.
Everyone must be evaluated for tenure, promotion, and retention. Criteria and
procedures for evaluation must be provided in writing. A copy of any document
placed in an employee's personnel file must also be transmitted to the
employee. Policies and practices concerning teaching credit cannot be changed
unilaterally by the administration. Employees may not be compelled to accept
In general, you are likely to have a grievance if you are
being treated in a manner that appears to be at variance from the normal
pattern applied to your colleagues.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
If you believe you may have a grievance you should
immediately contact your Department Representative, Grievance Chairperson, or
Local President, or call the Council office (908-964-8476). Do not delay; there
are time limits within which a grievance must be formally filed. For any
alleged violation by a peer promotion or retention committee you must notify
the college/university's president in writing within 14 days (Article VII.G.5).
The time limit for all other grievances is 45 days from the date you “should
reasonably have known of its occurrence” (Article VII.G.1). Unfortunately,
many grievances have been lost because of an individual's reluctance to seek
resolution through the formal grievance procedure before the time limits have
passed. Thus, be sure to contact the
as possible for assistance in writing a “14 day letter” or determining if you
have a valid grievance and how to go about defining and resolving it.
A representative of the
answer your inquiries and investigate your complaint. If you desire, the
will assist you in filing a grievance. Once filed, a grievance can be held in
abeyance by mutual consent in order to resolve it informally, but a grievance
not filed before the expiration of the time limits is irrevocably lost. If you
decide to pursue the grievance, the
you and present your case through the formal steps of the grievance procedure
(Article VII.D). On each campus the
specialists in processing grievances, and also has three full-time staff
representatives available for assistance. The cumulative experience of these
individuals means that your grievance will receive prompt, thorough, and expert
THE ARBITRATION STEP
Although anyone can file and process a grievance through the
initial steps, only the
has the legal authority to
pursue a grievance to arbitration. At any point prior to arbitration the
parties can mutually agree to a settlement of the dispute and end the process.
If, however, the college and State refuse to settle, the
Grievance Committee, comprised of representatives from all nine campuses, must
review the case and vote on its merits for submission to arbitration. Since
has taken hundreds of cases to arbitration
at a cost in arbitrators' fees of over $100,000.
ENFORCING THE CONTRACT
A strong grievance procedure vigorously enforced by the
is necessary to insure equitable treatment under the contract. We recommend
that all unit members periodically review Article VII along with the rest of
the Agreement and become familiar with their rights. If you feel that you may
have received inequitable treatment, you should contact the
Through the grievance procedure, we have been successful in
protecting employee rights. To cite just a few examples, back pay has been
obtained for many individuals, irregularities in reappointment and promotion
procedures have been corrected, and, on one occasion, additional pay for all
unit members was gained by correcting the State's “mistake” in calculating
salary increases. With your continued support, the
can improve the grievance procedure in negotiations and continue to apply it
with fairness and for the benefit of all.
Contract enforcement is the most demanding, time-consuming,
and expensive task that the
performs for you.
Without vigorous enforcement, a contract is worthless. We must maintain
constant vigilance, especially in these days of attacks on due process, to
insure that our hard-won gains are not eroded by management. Your
prides itself on having built a strong grievance
machinery which operates democratically for all unit members. But we need your
help to make it work.
For more information on grievances and related information
Should Contact Your Local Union If: