20.1 Purpose

The purpose of this procedure is to provide a process for the prompt and fair resolution of grievances and complaints. This procedure shall be the exclusive means of resolving grievances. Nothing in this procedure shall preclude a faculty member or the Union from resolving disagreements informally, provided that the resolution is consistent with the terms of this Agreement.

20.2 Definition of Grievance

A grievance is a claim by the Union, on its own behalf or on behalf of a faculty member or members, against the University, alleging one or more violations, misinterpretations, or misapplications of one or more terms or provisions of this Agreement. A grievance must arise during the term of this Agreement in order to be processed pursuant to the procedure in this Agreement.

20.2.1 The following are not grievable: Complaints as defined in Section 20.3, below. Tenure, promotion, merit, or evaluation decisions for all faculty where the disagreement is based on whether standards are satisfied. Decisions regarding reduction in force, pursuant to Section 21.8. Non-renewal of non-tenure-track faculty, pursuant to Section 8.5. Workload decisions, except 9.2.1. Matters reserved to the University under Section 5, Management Rights.

20.3 Definition of Complaint

A complaint is an allegation by a faculty member involving a judgment by the dean or Provost that is inconsistent with substantive academic judgment at the departmental level. The complaint procedure is also available for workload decisions not related to Section 9.2.1.

20.4 Grievance Time Limits

20.4.1 The time limits set forth in this section shall be strictly enforced except that time limits may be waived by mutual written consent of both parties. Requests for a waiver of time limits shall be responded to in a timely manner.

20.4.2 A grievance may be withdrawn by the Union at any time.

20.4.3 If the Union, on behalf of itself or the faculty member(s), fails to advance a grievance within the specified time, the grievance will be considered waived. If the University fails to respond within the specified time limits, the grievance shall proceed to the next step of the grievance procedure.

20.5 Cooperation Between Parties

20.5.1 Each party shall have the right to call witnesses of its own choosing at any grievance hearing.

20.5.2 Grievance meetings shall be scheduled at mutually agreeable times and places.

20.5.3 No employee shall be subject to reprisals of any kind for participating in any way in the grievance process.

20.5.4 Formal written grievances shall be submitted using the form in Appendix C of this agreement. 

Grievances shall include the following:

(a) the specific term(s) of the Agreement allegedly violated, misinterpreted, or misapplied;

(b)  a statement of the facts upon which the grievance is based, including the date on which the alleged grievance occurred; and

(c)  the remedy sought.

20.6 Grievance Procedural Steps

20.6.1 Informal

Not later than 20 working days after the circumstances giving rise to the grievance, or 20 working days after the faculty member or Union should reasonably have learned of the circumstances giving rise to the grievance, whichever is later, the Union shall attempt to resolve the grievance by requesting a conference with the appropriate college dean or with the Provost if the grievance involves the Provost. The dean or Provost or designee shall schedule a meeting within five working days of the request at a mutually agreeable time and place.

20.6.2 Step One. If the grievance is not resolved at the Informal step, the Union may file a formal written grievance, as defined in Section 20.5.5, with the dean, or with the Provost if the grievance involves the Provost, within 10 working days following the informal meeting. The dean or Provost shall respond in writing within 10 working days of receipt of the grievance.

20.6.3 Step Two. If the grievance is not resolved at Step One, the Union, within 10 working days of the response, may submit the grievance to the Provost, or to the President if the grievance involves the Provost. The Provost or President shall meet with Union representative(s) at a mutually agreeable time and place. Within 10 working days of that meeting the Provost or President will issue a written response.

20.6.4 Step Three. If the grievance is not resolved at Step Two, the Union may appeal the Step Two decision to arbitration. A written demand for arbitration shall be submitted to the University within 20 working days of the Step Two decision. The Union shall simultaneously submit a written request for arbitration to the American Arbitration Association (AAA) or to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) and request that the parties be provided with the names of seven qualified arbitrators with experience in higher education issues. The arbitrator shall be chosen by the strike method.

20.6.5 Grievances by the Union relating to suspension without pay and discharge will be filed with the Provost at Step One as defined in 20.6.2. If such a grievance is not resolved at this level, the Union may submit the grievance to the President at Step Two as defined in 20.6.3. If the grievance is not resolved at Step Two, the Union may appeal the Step Two decision to arbitration as defined in 20.6.4. All timelines in Sections 20.6.2, 20.6.3 and 20.6.4 apply to 20.6.5.

20.6.6 The arbitration proceeding shall be conducted in accordance with the AAA’s Voluntary Labor Arbitration Rules.  By mutual agreement the parties may elect to utilize an expedited arbitration procedure. The cost of the arbitrator shall be divided equally between the parties. If the parties agree to use a court reporter, the cost shall be split equally between the parties. Each party shall bear its own costs of representation. If the arbitration hearing is postponed or canceled because of one party, that party will bear the cost of the postponement or cancellation. The cost of any mutually agreed postponement or cancellation will be shared equally by the parties. The arbitrator shall: Have no authority to rule contrary to, add to, subtract from, or modify any of the provisions of this Agreement, and shall confine the decision solely to the application or interpretation of the express terms of the Agreement. Be limited in his or her decision to the grievance issue(s) set forth in the original written grievance unless the parties agree to modify it; Not make any award that provides a faculty member with compensation greater than would have resulted had there been no violation of this Agreement. The arbitrator’s decision shall be final and binding upon the parties. Any material relating to the alleged misconduct placed in a bargaining unit member’s personnel file will be removed if the employee has been fully exonerated of wrongdoing. The University may retain this information in a legal defense file to be used or released only when required by a regulatory agency, or in defense of legal action.

20.7 Complaint Resolution Process

20.7.1 The Complaint Resolution Process shall be the sole and exclusive process for resolving complaints as defined in Section 20.3.

20.7.2 Upon formal notification of a decision involving matters covered by this Complaint Resolution Process, the faculty member may, within 10 working days after a bargaining unit member’s receipt of such official notification, file a complaint with the Provost, or the President if the complaint involves the Provost. All complaints must include the following: A statement of the decision being appealed; The reasons why the complainant disagrees with the decision; The remedy sought; The name(s), academic unit(s), telephone number, and address at which the complainant(s) shall receive all correspondence related to the complaint; and The name, telephone number, and address of the complainant’s representative.

20.7.3 Consideration of the Appealed Decision. The Provost may, within 10 working days, at his or her discretion, (a) refer the appealed decision back to the appropriate administrative level for review, or (b) render his or her own judgment on the appealed matter. In either case, no later than 20 working days following submission of the issue to the Provost, he/she shall render a written decision to the complainant and to the Union. UFWW may accept the decision of the Provost, in which case the complaint shall be deemed to have been resolved, or the UFWW may appeal the decision of the Provost as described in this Section within five working days of receipt of the Provost’s decision. A faculty complainant may withdraw the complaint at any time in the process and the complaint will be deemed to have been resolved.

20.7.4 Within five working days of the receipt of the appeal of the Provost’s decision the parties shall meet to select a mutually agreeable independent fact finder with appropriate academic credentials, at the University’s expense, to review the evidence related to the complaint. The fact finder shall be empowered to consider complaints involving only those matters defined in the Complaint Resolution Process.

20.7.5 The fact finder will review the documentary evidence considered in the original academic decision being appealed and talk with witnesses for clarification of the documentary evidence. The fact finder will conclude the investigation not later than 30 calendar days after appointment and forward a recommendation to the President.

20.7.6 The investigation shall be private.

20.7.7 Decision by the President. Upon receipt of the fact finder’s report, the President may meet with the fact finder for the sole purpose of seeking clarification concerning the report.

20.7.8 The decision of the President shall be rendered in writing within 20 working days of the receipt of the report. The President’s decision is final and binding and not subject to further review. Copies of the fact finder’s report and the President’s decision shall be transmitted by the Office of the President to the complainant and to the Union within 10 working days of the decision.