Article 4 GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
- A “grievance” is a claim by a teacher or the Association based upon the interpretation, application, or violation of this Agreement, policies or administrative decisions affecting teachers’ terms and conditions of employment.
- An “aggrieved person” is a teacher, teachers, or Association directly affected by a grievance.
- A “party in interest” is the person or persons making the claim and any person who might be required to take action or against whom action might be taken in order to resolve the claim.
- The purpose of this procedure is to secure at the lowest possible level, resolution of disputes concerning the rights of the parties. Both parties agree that these proceedings will be kept as informal and confidential as may be appropriate at any level of the procedure.
- Nothing herein contained shall be construed as limiting the right of any teacher having a grievance to discuss the matter informally with his principal or immediate superior, and having the grievance adjusted without participation of the Association, provided the adjustment is not inconsistent with terms of this Agreement.
- Since it is important that grievances be processed as rapidly as possible, the number of days indicated at each level should be considered as a maximum and every effort should be made to expedite the process. The time limits specified may, however, be extended by mutual agreement.
- In the event a grievance is filed at such time that it cannot be processed through all the steps in this grievance procedure by the end of the school year, and, if left unresolved until the beginning of the following school year, could result in irreparable harm to a party in interest, the time limits set forth herein shall be reduced so that the grievance procedure may be exhausted prior to the end of the school year or as soon thereafter as is practicable.
- Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, written grievances shall be filed, whether by a teacher, teachers, or the Association, within forty- five (45) work days from the event grieved, or within forty-five (45) work days of the date the grievant knew or should have known of the basis for the grievance. If a written grievance is not filed as set forth herein, it is barred.
- Level One–Principal or Immediate Superior A teacher with a grievance shall first discuss it with his principal or immediate superior, either directly or through the Association’s designated representative, within thirty (30) work days of its occurrence, with the objective of resolving the matter informally. If, after such discussion, the matter is not resolved to the satisfaction of the teacher within five (5) work days, he shall present his complaint to the principal in writing on the form agreed to by the parties. The principal shall communicate his decision to the teacher in writing within (5) school days after receipt of the written complaint.
- Level Two–Superintendent If the aggrieved person is not satisfied with the disposition of his grievance at Level One, or if no decision has been rendered within five (5) work days after the written presentation of the grievance, he may file the grievance in writing with the Association within five (5) work days after the decision at Level One or ten (10) work days after the grievance was first presented, whichever is sooner. Within five (5) work days after receiving the written grievance, the Association shall refer it to the Superintendent of Schools. The appeal to the Superintendent shall be in writing and shall set forth the grounds upon which the grievance is based. The Superintendent shall meet with the aggrieved person within ten (10) work days of receipt of the appeal if the teacher so requests. The Superintendent shall render his decision within ten (10) work days after the conclusion of such conference or conferences or twenty (20) work days after receipt of the written appeal, whichever is sooner. Such decision shall be in writing to the aggrieved person and the principal.
- Level Three–Board of Education If the aggrieved person is not satisfied with the disposition of his grievance at Level Two, or if no decision has been rendered within twenty (20) work days after the grievance was delivered to the Superintendent, he may, within five (5) work days after a decision by the Superintendent or twenty-five (25) work days after the grievance was delivered to the Superintendent, whichever is sooner, request a review by the Board. Such request shall be submitted in writing with all related papers to the Superintendent who shall forward the request to the Board. Within thirty (30) work days after receiving the request, or at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting, the Board or a committee thereof shall review the grievance, and if requested by the Board, hold a hearing with the aggrieved party. The Board shall render its decision in writing to the Association within ten (10) work days after the hearing.
- Level Four–Arbitration
C. In all cases the determination of the arbitrator shall be in writing and shall be binding on the parties, except in those cases involving policy determinations of the Board and for those matters for which an alternative statutory appeal is available.
D. The arbitrator shall have the right to frame issues when either party cannot agree on the issues, and he shall not issue awards which are in violation of law or public policy, nor shall he issue awards which are outside the scope of the grievance definition contained herein, or which may contradict, add or subtract from the terms of this Agreement, or which result in a decision which reverses the Board’s substantive assessment of an employee’s performance.
E. The costs for the services of the arbitrator, including per diem expenses, if any, and actual and necessary travel, subsistence expenses and the cost of the hearing room, if any, shall be borne equally by the Board and the Association. Any other expenses incurred shall be paid by the party incurring same.
Rights of Teachers to Representation
- A. If the aggrieved person is not satisfied with the disposition of his grievance at Level Three, or if no decision has been rendered by the Board within the times set forth in paragraph C.6 he may, within five (5) work days, request in writing that the Association submit the grievance to arbitration. If the Association determines that the grievance is meritorious, it may submit the grievance to arbitration within fifteen (15) work days after receipt of a request by the aggrieved person. If the Association determines that the grievance is not meritorious and should not be submitted to arbitration, the Association shall so notify the grievant(s) in writing and serve such notification upon the Board.
- B. If the Association decides to submit the grievance to arbitration, the Association shall select one of the following two arbitration methods
- Contract Arbitration (Pre-scheduled Dates) – The parties agree that James Mastriani (or another arbitrator mutually selected by the parties) shall be the Permanent Arbitrator for the duration of this Agreement. The arbitrator shall schedule three (3) dates (one each during the months of November, February, and May) for the purpose of hearing those cases which have been submitted to arbitration during the period of time since the last scheduled hearing. These hearings shall be held at a site to be mutually selected by the parties at 9:30 as of each arbitration date. The Association will be entitled to have present for these hearings its President and one other designee with no loss of pay or leave days. Individual grievants and/or witnesses may be present at these hearings without loss of pay or leave days. The arbitrator and the parties shall agree upon an expedited format for those cases heard during these hearings. The parties shall review the acceptability of the permanent arbitrator on an annual basis.
- Contract Arbitration (Separate Hearing) – The permanent arbitrator named above may be contacted to schedule a mutually acceptable date for a full hearing on a case which, because of its complexity, number of witnesses required, or volume of evidence does not lend itself to the expedited format of the prescheduled hearing dates.
- Any aggrieved person may be represented at all stages of the grievance procedure by himself, or, at his option, by a representative selected or approved by the Association. When a teacher is not represented by the Association, the Association shall have the right to be present.
- The parties in interest may call upon competent professional lay representatives and consultants, including members of the administrative and supervisory staffs, to attend meetings for which provision is herein above made and to participate in the discussions thereat.
F. This procedure may be amended upon mutual agreement of the Board and the Association provided that any such amendment shall not apply to or affect any grievance which shall be pending at the time of the adoption of such amendment.
- If, in the judgment of the Association, a grievance affects a group or class of teachers, the Association may submit such grievance in writing to the Superintendent directly and the processing of such grievance shall be commenced at Level Two.
- Decisions rendered at Level One which are unsatisfactory to the aggrieved person and all decisions rendered at Levels Two and Three of the grievance procedure shall be in writing, setting forth the decision and the reason thereof, and shall be transmitted promptly to all parties in interest and to the Association.
- All documents, communications and records dealing with the processing of a grievance shall be filed in a separate grievance file and shall not be kept in the personnel file of any of the participants.
- Forms for filing grievances shall be prepared jointly by the Superintendent and the Association and given appropriate distribution so as to facilitate operation of the grievance procedure.
- All meetings and hearings under this procedure shall not be conducted in public and shall include only such parties in interest and their designated or selected representatives, heretofore referred to in this Article.