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A grievance for the purpose of this Article is defined as a dispute or disagreement of the application or interpretation of any term(s) or condition(s) of this Agreement.
All grievances shall be settled in accordance with the following procedure. However, upon mutual agreement of the parties, any step in the procedure may be waived. For purposes of this Article, "working days" is defined as the days when the appropriate Human Resources office is open.
The Union Steward shall present a written request for a step one grievance to the appropriate supervisor no later than thirty (30) calendar days from the date the employee, through the use of reasonable diligence had or should have had, knowledge of the event(s) giving rise to the grievance. This meeting shall be held within fourteen (14) calendar days of receipt of the request. The supervisor, employee(s) and Union Steward shall attempt to resolve the matter. The supervisor shall respond to the grievant with a copy to the Steward within fourteen (14) calendar days following the meeting. If the grievance remains unresolved, the Union may submit it to Step Two.
If the grievance has not been settled, it shall be submitted in writing, stating the nature of the grievance, the specific provisions(s) of the Agreement in question, the alleged facts upon which the grievance is based, and the relief requested to the appropriate Human Resources Department within fourteen (14) calendar days of the date on which the first step answer was given or was due. Within fourteen (14) calendar days following receipt of the written grievance an appropriate Human Resources Department head, or his/her designee, and the Union Steward will meet to discuss the grievance. Others who may attend are the aggrieved employee's immediate supervisor, and the aggrieved employee, the Local Union President or the Chief Steward. The department head, or his/her designee shall attempt to resolve the matter and shall respond in writing to the Union Steward within fourteen (14) calendar days following the meeting.
If the grievance remains unsettled, a copy of the original written grievance shall be submitted by the Union to the appropriate Human Resources Department within fourteen (14) calendar days after the second step answer was given or was due. The appropriate Human Resources Department shall convene a hearing with the Union Business Representative, the Union Grievance Committee consisting of the Local Union President, Chief Steward, and the appropriate Union Steward, the head of the Administrative Unit, or his/her designee, the immediate supervisor and an appropriate Human Resources Department representative within fourteen (14) calendar days from the time he/she receives the written grievance. This meeting may be held with or without the aggrieved employee present. The head of the Administrative Unit or his/her designee shall attempt to resolve the matter and respond in writing to the Union Business Representative within fourteen (14) calendar days of the meeting.
If the grievance remains unresolved after the response of the head of the Administrative Unit, or his/her designee, is given or is due, the Union shall have ninety (90) calendar days to request arbitration by way of a letter of intent to arbitrate/notice of arbitration. This letter of intent shall be sent to the office of Human Resources. The Union shall make a good faith effort to reduce the ninety (90) calendar day time limit whenever possible and particularly in cases involving a continuing back pay liability. Within ten (10) calendar days thereafter the parties shall attempt to select an arbitrator by mutual agreement. If the parties fail to mutually agree upon the selection of an arbitrator within the said ten (10) calendar day period, the Union shall immediately request the Minnesota State Bureau of Mediation Services or the American Arbitration Association to provide a list of seven (7) names of neutral arbitrators within five (5) calendar days following the receipt of the list to select an arbitrator in the following manner: the Union shall have the right to strike one name from the list, the Employer shall then strike one name, and the process will be repeated and the remaining person shall be the arbitrator. Expenses for the arbitrator’s services and the processing shall be borne by the losing party.
The arbitrator shall have no right to amend, modify, nullify, ignore, add to, or subtract from the provision of this Agreement. He/she shall consider and decide only the specific issue or issues submitted to him/her in writing by the parties to this Agreement, and shall have no authority to make a decision on any other matter not so submitted to him/her. The arbitrator shall be without power to make decisions contrary to or inconsistent with or modifying or varying in any way the application of the law. The decision shall be based solely upon the arbitrator's interpretation and application of the expressed terms of this Agreement and to the facts of the grievance presented. The arbitrator shall issue the award within thirty (30) days.
If a grievance is not presented within the time limits set forth above it shall be considered "waived." If a grievance is not appealed to the next step or steps within the specified time limit or any agreed extension thereof, it shall be considered settled on the basis of the Employer's last answer. If the Employer does not answer a grievance or an appeal thereof within the specified time limits, the Union may elect to treat the grievance as denied at the step and immediately appeal the grievance to the next step. The time limit in each step may be extended by mutual written agreement of the Employer and the Union. The Union and the Employer agree to institute a regular schedule for grievance meetings on a day mutually agreeable to the parties.
The Local Union President and/or Chief Steward, the Department Steward, and the aggrieved employee may attend grievance meetings during working hours without loss of pay whenever such activity is not detrimental to the operation of the department. At Step 3, the aggrieved employee and two of the three Union representatives shall be paid by the Employer if the meeting is during their working hours. Whenever such meetings are held outside normal working hours, the grievant shall receive his/her appropriate rates of pay, either at regular or overtime rates, according to their respective schedules.
The Union shall certify quarterly in writing to the appropriate Human Resources Department the name of any persons selected as stewards. The Employer will not recognize anyone as a steward if the name is not on the certified listing. The listing shall include a designation of which departments a steward shall represent. At least one (1) steward shall represent more than three (3) departments, except that when a steward is working the second or third shift, he/she may represent any other employees working on the second or third shift. The total number of stewards shall not exceed one (1) steward for each twenty (20) bargaining unit employees. The Employer may limit to one (1) the number of stewards or officers who may be gone from a work location on steward business at any one time.
In the event of a class action grievance involving two (2) or more employees from different work locations in the same department, or a grievance involving discrimination issues, the grievance shall be taken directly to Step 2 by the steward of the Union's choice, the Local Union President and the Chief Steward.
In the event of a class action grievance involving two (2) or more employees from different departments or any grievance relation to payroll, holiday, or filling vacancies, issues, the grievance shall be taken directly to Step 3 by the steward of the Union's choice, the Chief Steward, the Local Union President and the Business Representative. The initial thirty (30) day time limit shall apply to a class action grievance or discipline grievance started above Step 1. This shall not limit the Union's rights to ask for a class action remedy if an issue potentially affects more than one (1) employee but only one (1) employee is identified as a grievant. In such an instance, the grievance may be instituted at Step 1 as specified in Section 2.
The procedure described in this Article shall be the sole and exclusive means of resolving grievances submitted by employees in the bargaining unit.