12.1 Purpose

a. This grievance procedure shall be used to process and resolve grievances arising under this Agreement and employment-related complaints.

b. The purposes of this procedure are:

(1)   To resolve grievances informally at the lowest possible level;

(2)   To provide an orderly procedure for reviewing and resolving grievances and complaints promptly. 

12.2 Definitions

a. A grievance is a dispute of one or more employees, or a dispute between the State and PECG, involving the interpretation, application, or enforcement of the express terms of this Agreement.

b. A complaint is a dispute of one or more employees or PECG involving the application or interpretation of a written rule or policy not covered by this Agreement and not under the jurisdiction of the SPB. Complaints shall only be processed as far as the department head or designee.

c. As used in this procedure, the term “immediate supervisor” means the individual identified by the department head.

d. As used in this procedure, the term “party” means PECG or employee, or the State.

e. A “PECG representative” refers to an employee designated as a PECG steward or a paid staff representative.

12.3 Time Limits

Each party involved in a grievance shall act quickly so that the grievance may be resolved promptly. Every effort should be made to complete action within the time limits contained in the grievance procedure. However, with the mutual consent of the parties, the time limitation for any step may be extended.

12.4 Waiver of Steps

The parties may mutually agree to waive any step of the grievance procedure.

12.5 Presentation

At any step of the grievance procedure, the State representative may determine it desirable to hold a grievance conference. If a grievance conference is scheduled, the grievant or a PECG representative, or both, may attend without loss of compensation. 

12.6 Informal Discussion

An employee’s grievance initially shall be discussed with the employee’s immediate supervisor. Within seven (7) calendar days, the immediate supervisor shall give his/her decision or response. 

12.7 Formal Grievance – Step 1

a. If an informal grievance is not resolved to the satisfaction of the grievant, a formal grievance may be filed no later than:

(1)   Twenty-one (21) calendar days after the employee can reasonably be expected to have known of the event occasioning the grievance;

(2)   Within fourteen (14) calendar days after receipt of the decision rendered in the informal grievance procedure.

b. However, if the informal grievance procedure is not initiated within the period specified in Item (1) above, the period in which to bring the grievance shall not be extended by Item (2) above.

c. A formal grievance shall be initiated in writing on a form provided by the State and shall be filed with a designated supervisor or manager identified by each department head as the first level of appeal.

d. Within fourteen (14) calendar days after receipt of the formal grievance, the person designated by the department head as the first level of appeal shall respond in writing to the grievance.

e. No contract interpretation or grievance settlement made at this stage of the grievance procedure shall be considered precedential.

12.8 Formal Grievance – Step 2

a. If the grievant is not satisfied with the decision rendered pursuant to Step 1, the grievant may appeal the decision within twenty-one (21) calendar days after receipt to a designated supervisor or manager identified by each department head as the second level of appeal. If the department head or designee is the first level of appeal, the grievant may bypass Step 2.

b. Within twenty-one (21) calendar days after receipt of the appealed grievance, the person designated by the department head as the second level of appeal shall respond in writing to the grievance.

c. No contract interpretation or grievance settlement made at this stage of the grievance procedure shall be considered precedential.

12.9 Formal Grievance – Step 3

a. If the grievant is not satisfied with the decision rendered pursuant to Step 2, the grievant may appeal the decision within twenty-one (21) calendar days after receipt to a designated supervisor or manager identified by each department head as the third level of appeal. If the department head or designee is the second level of appeal, the grievant may bypass Step 3.

b. Within twenty-one (21) calendar days after receipt of the appealed grievance, the person designated by the department head as the third level of appeal shall respond in writing to the grievance.

12.10 Formal Grievance – Step 4

a. If the grievant is not satisfied with the decision rendered at Step 3, the grievant may appeal the decision within fourteen (14) calendar days after receipt to the Director of the Department of Human Resources or designee.

b. Within thirty (30) calendar days after receipt of the appealed grievance, the Director of the Department of Human Resources or designee shall respond in writing to the grievance.

12.11 Response

If the State fails to respond to a grievance within the time limits specified for that step, the grievant shall have the right to appeal to the next step.

12.12 Formal Grievance – Step 5

a. If the grievance is not resolved at Step 4, within thirty (30) calendar days after the 4th-level response, PECG shall have the right to submit the grievance to arbitration.

b. Within fourteen (14) calendar days after the notice requesting arbitration has been served on the State or at a date mutually agreed to by the parties, the parties shall meet to select an arbitrator. If no agreement is reached on the selection of an arbitrator the parties shall, immediately and jointly, request the State Mediation and Conciliation Service or the American Arbitration Association to submit to them a panel of nine (9) arbitrators from which the State and PECG shall alternately strike names until one name remains and this person shall be the arbitrator. If the parties cannot agree from which service to obtain the list of arbitrators, the party requesting arbitration shall pay all costs, if any, of obtaining the list of arbitrators.

c. The arbitration hearing, itself, shall be conducted in accordance with the Voluntary Labor Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association. The cost of arbitration shall be borne equally between the parties.

d. An arbitrator may, upon request of PECG and the State, issue his/her decision, opinion, or award orally upon submission of the arbitration. Either party may request that the arbitrator put his/her decision, opinion, or award in writing and that a copy be provided.

e. The arbitrator shall not have the power to add to, subtract from, or modify this contract. Only grievances as defined in subsection 12.2 a. of this Article shall be subject to arbitration. In all arbitration cases, the award of the arbitrator shall be final and binding upon the parties.