ARTICLE 12 GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE AND ARBITRATION
12.1 The parties agree that all problems should be resolved, whenever possible, before the filing of a grievance but within the time limits for filing grievances stated elsewhere in this Article, and encourage open communications between the Company and Officers so that resorting to the formal grievance procedure will not normally be necessary. The parties further encourage the informal resolution of grievances whenever possible. A grievance is defined as an alleged violation of a specific term or provision of this Agreement. At each step in the grievance process, participants are encouraged to pursue appropriate modes of conflict resolution. The purpose of this Article is to promote a prompt and efficient procedure for the investigation and resolution of grievances.
12.2 It is the intent of the parties to first provide a reasonable opportunity for resolution of a dispute through the grievance procedure and arbitration process.
12.3 An Officer who believes that any provision of this Agreement has not been properly applied or interpreted may present his grievance to be settled by the following procedures. During each step of the grievance procedure the Company has the right to perform a reasonable investigation into the complaint. The investigation may include but is not limited to: conducting interviews, having Officers prepare written statements, and reviewing records.
In order to advise a grievant, representatives of the local Union may request copies of the information used by the Company to reach its conclusions for any response to a grievance that was filed by bargaining unit members through the Local. Disclosure of any confidential information relative to individual Officers will require written authorization from the subject Officer(s). Officers will hold the Company harmless for any information it provides to the Union with the Officer’s appropriate authorization. Information that is not relevant to the grievance in question is considered privileged or confidential by the Company or the Officer in question or that is protected by state or federal law will not be made available.
Informal Resolution: The aggrieved Officer shall first discuss his grievance with the Shift Steward, and if the Shift Steward considers the grievance to be valid, then the Officer and the Shift Steward will contact the Officer’s supervisor within five (5) workdays of the incident (unless mutually extended in writing) and will attempt to effect a settlement of the complaint. If a resolution is achieved at this informal level, the matter does not need to be reduced to writing and will be considered closed. If the Officer contacts his supervisor to modify the grievance, the Shift Steward will be given the opportunity to be present and such modification will be in conformity with this Agreement. A supervisor will respond to these informal grievances within five (5) workdays (unless mutually extended in writing).
Step 1: An Officer who believes he has an unresolved grievance shall discuss the grievance with his Shift Steward who shall reduce the grievance to writing, sign it and obtain the signature of the grieving Officer (if the Officer is willing to sign it), and along with the affected Officer will present the written grievance to the Assistant Warden of Security (or designee) within five (5) workdays after the occurrence of the facts giving rise to the grievance.
The Assistant Warden of Security (or designee) will have five (5) workdays from the date the grievance to respond to either an original or amended grievance. The Assistant Warden of Security (or designee), at his discretion, may schedule a meeting to discuss the issue with the Shift Steward and attempt to reach resolution of the grievance. The Assistant Warden of Security (or designee) will respond to the grievance in writing. If resolution is reached at this level the grievance will be considered settled based on the answer provided by the Assistant Warden of Security (or designee).
An official grievance will provide (at a minimum) the following information:
The specific terms of the Agreement alleged to have been violated;
The proposed remedy being sought by the grievant;
The name of the grievant;
Date of submission.
Step 2: If the grievance is not resolved in Step 1, the local Union President (or designee) will request a meeting to discuss the grievance with the Facility Administrator (or designee) within five (5) workdays of the denial by the Assistant Warden of Security (or designee). The Facility Administrator (or his designee) shall respond in writing within ten (10) workdays of the presentation of the grievance stating his final answer.
Step-3: If the grievance is not resolved in Step 2, the local Union President (or designee) within ten (l0) workdays (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays) of the denial by the Facility Administrator, will submit the grievance, in writing to the Company’s Western Region Vice President (or designee). The local Union President will make a copy of the unresolved grievance and also send it to the
Union’s Regional Representative. The Company’s Western Region Vice President (or designee) and the Regional UGSOA Representative will, within 20 workdays of receipt of the unresolved grievance, arrange to review the grievance together in an attempt to resolve the matter. This review may be by telephone or teleconference, electronic mail, or by arranged personal meeting. Grievances related to suspension (or unpaid administrative leave) or termination will be submitted directly to Step-3 of the grievance process.
Grievances processed in accordance with the requirements of Section 12.3 that remain unresolved may be processed to arbitration by the Union, giving the Company’s Director of Employee and Labor Relations written notice of its desire to proceed to arbitration not later than 45 business days after the Step 3 grievance response.
Officers have the right to have a Union representative present during each step of the grievance process. It is understood between the parties that the local Union President, Vice President (or designee), Shift Steward or alternate may act as the representative in question. Officers may not request a specific union representative to represent them in any actions.
As referenced in this Article, workdays do not include Saturday, Sunday, Holidays.
12.4 Only those grievances which have been processed in strict accordance with the requirements of the above paragraphs and which remain unsettled shall be processed to arbitration in accordance with the procedures and limitations described herein.
12.5 The Union shall have the power to determine whether or not a grievance filed by a member of the Unit should be submitted at each step of the grievance process or if unresolved grievances should be submitted for arbitration. The time limits set forth in each step of the grievance procedure may be extended by mutual agreement in writing and such extended time limits shall then be considered as applicable to the grievance involved for the purpose of this section. In the event the Union requests an extension of time to review any Step of the grievance process, the Company shall grant said extension, not to exceed the amount of the original timeline for that specific Step (i.e. Step 1 is 5 workdays).
12.6 The arbitrator shall be selected from a panel of seven (7) proposed arbitrators, submitted by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). The party requesting arbitration shall be responsible for contacting the FMCS to obtain the list. If the two parties cannot agree on an arbitrator during the review of the original list, a second list of prospective arbitrators may be requested from the FMCS. If the parties still cannot agree on an arbitrator then the strike method will be used on the second list. The party requesting arbitration will strike the list first.
12.7 The arbitrator shall be governed at all times wholly by the terms of this Agreement. The arbitrator shall neither add to, subtract from, modify nor alter the terms or provisions of this Agreement. Arbitration shall be confined solely to the application and/or interpretation of this Agreement and the precise issue(s) submitted for arbitration.
12.8 No claim for back wages under this Agreement shall exceed the amount of earnings the Officer would have otherwise earned by working for the Company, less any and all compensation the Officer received from any other source, including unemployment compensation. Under no circumstances will interest charges be included in any award for back pay.
12.9 All fees and expenses of arbitration shall be borne equally by the parties. Each party shall bear the cost of preparing and presenting its own case. The party desiring such transcript shall be responsible for scheduling a reporter to record the proceedings. The requesting party is responsible for the cost of the reporter and the transcript of the proceedings. If the opposite party timely requests a copy of the transcript at the hearing, the reporter and transcript costs will be equally split between the parties.
12.10 The decision or award of the arbitrator shall be final and binding upon the Company, the Union and the grievant, provided any party may appeal to an appropriate court of law a decision that was rendered by the arbitrator acting outside of or beyond the arbitrator’s jurisdiction, pursuant to applicable law.
12.11 It is the specific intention of the parties that the grievance and arbitration procedures set forth herein are the exclusive and sole mechanism for the resolution of any grievances, disputes, disagreements or claims made under or related to this Agreement.
12.12 Nothing contained herein shall prohibit the Company’s ability to file and process its own grievance under the procedure outlined above.
12.13 In the event the parties settle any grievance prior to a final and binding determination by an arbitrator, such settlement shall be on a non-precedent setting basis unless the parties affirmatively state otherwise in writing signed by both parties. Evidence of any such non precedent setting settlements shall not be admissible in any proceedings under this Article, including but not limited to, arbitration hearings.
12.14 The Company will provide copies of all disciplinary notices to the affected Officer and Union.