The grievance shall mean a written complaint by a member of the bargaining unit or the Association that there has been a violation, misinterpretation, or misapplication of any provision(s) of this agreement. The provision(s) grieved shall be so designated.
4.1.2 Time Limits
All time limits consist of school days except when a grievance is submitted fewer than ten (10) days before the close of the current school term. Then time limits shall consist of all week days. Timelines may be extended by mutual consent. Upon the absence of a supervisor, a response may be made by a designee.
The parties acknowledge that a bargaining unit member and the employer may resolve problems through free and informal communications. However, a grievance shall be processed as follows:
4.2.1 Step I
The grievant may present the grievance in writing to the immediately involved supervisor, who will arrange for a meeting to take place within ten (10) days after receipt of the grievance. The Association’s representative, the grievant, and the immediately involved supervisor shall be present for the meeting. Within five (5) days of the meeting, the grievant and the Association shall be provided with the supervisor’s written response, including the reasons for the decision.
4.2.2 Step II
If the grievance is not resolved at Step I, then the Association may refer the grievance to the superintendent or the superintendent’s official designee within fifteen (15) days after receipt of the Step I answer. The superintendent shall arrange with the Association representative for a meeting to take place within fifteen (15) days of the superintendent’s receipt of the appeal. Within ten (10) days of the meeting, the Association shall be provided with the superintendent’s written response, including the reasons for the decision.
4.2.3 Step III
If the Association is not satisfied with the disposition of the grievance at Step II, the Association may submit the grievance to final and binding arbitration. If a demand for arbitration is not filed with the employer within thirty (30) days of the date of the Step II answer, then the grievance shall be deemed withdrawn.
If within fifteen (15) days of the filing of the demand with the employer the parties cannot agree on an arbitrator, the demand shall be submitted to the American Arbitration Association which shall act as the administrator of the proceedings.
Arbitration proceedings shall be conducted by an arbitrator to be selected by the two (2) parties from a roster of arbitrators provided by the American Arbitration Association. Within seven (7) days after the Association requests binding arbitration, the two parties will request the American Arbitration Association to provide a panel of seven (7) arbitrators. The Association shall strike the first name and then each of the two parties will alternately strike one name at a time from the panel until only one name shall remain. The remaining name shall be the arbitrator.
The decision of the arbitrator shall be final and binding on the parties. The arbitrator, in the opinion given, shall not amend, modify, nullify, ignore, or add to the provisions of the agreement.
A grievance must be filed within ninety (90) days of the occurrence of the event which gave rise to the grievance. The number of days indicated at each step in the procedure shall be considered as the maximum allowable to the parties and every effort shall be made to resolve the grievance as rapidly as possible.
The grievant and the Association have the right to representation in the grievance procedure. The grievant shall be present at all grievance discussions unless the Board, Association, and the grievant mutually agree that the grievant’s presence is not desirable or necessary. When the presence of the grievant at a grievance hearing is required by either party, illness or incapacity of the grievant shall be grounds for any necessary extension of grievance procedure time limits.
Any investigation, or other handling or processing of any grievance by the grievant or the Association shall, if possible, be conducted during non-teaching time.
By mutual agreement, any step of the grievance procedure may be by-passed.
Class grievances involving more than one bargaining unit member or more than one supervisor and grievances involving an administrator above the building level may be initially filed by the Association at Step II.
No reprisals shall be taken by the employer against any bargaining unit member because of the bargaining unit member’s participation in a grievance.
A grievance may be withdrawn at any level without establishing precedent.
The fees and the expenses of the arbitrator shall be shared equally by the parties.
If only one party requests the presence of a court reporter, that party shall bear the cost of the reporter. If the arbitrator requests the presence of a court reporter, both parties shall share the cost of the court reporter.
If only one party requests the postponement of an arbitration hearing, that party shall bear any per diem fee assessed by the arbitrator.
By mutual agreement, a grievance may be settled at any step without establishing precedent.
During any arbitration hearing, the individual grievant shall be released from regular assignment without loss of pay, and Association representative(s), not to exceed two, may appear at the arbitration hearing, providing the Association shall reimburse the district the cost of the substitute. Other staff members may volunteer to cover the classes of the Association representative, and this, if allowed, will result in no reimbursement.
If no written response has been rendered within the time limits indicated by a step, then a grievance shall pass to the next step.
All records related to a grievance shall be filed separately from the personnel files of the bargaining unit members. This does not preclude, however, the right of the Board to utilize said records in any future discipline or discharge proceedings against any bargaining unit member.
At the request of both parties, the Expedited Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association shall be used instead of the Voluntary Labor Arbitration Rules.