What is a Grievance?

INTRODUCTION: The purpose of our contract grievance procedure is to establish a fair and agreed-upon method of resolving disputes arising over the interpretation or application of particular clauses in our collective bargaining Agreement (CBA) and/or school policy.

A fair grievance procedure is the historically proven method of avoiding protracted and mutually ruinous conflicts between employees and their employer.

PURPOSE: Article 7.1 of our contract defines the purpose is to secure, at the lowest possible level, solutions to the problems of interpretation which may arise regarding the wages, hours, and other conditions of employment of employees covered by this Agreement. The District and the Association desire that such procedures shall be as informal and confidential as may be appropriate for the grievance involved and at the procedure level involved.

DEFINITION: A grievance is any claim by a teacher or the Association, in writing, that there has been a violation, misinterpretation, or misapplication of the terms of the Agreement. While both parties may maintain files of grievances and disposition thereof, the District shall not make any entry or file any paper in the personnel file of any teacher

COMMON GRIEVANCES: In general, you are likely to have a grievance if you are being treated in a manner that appears to be at variance from the normal pattern applied to your colleagues.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: If you believe you may have a grievance you should immediately contact your Building Representative, Do not delay; there are time limits within which a grievance must be formally filed. The time limit for most grievances is 21days from the date you “should reasonably have known of its occurrence” (Article 7.4). Unfortunately, grievances have been lost because of an individual’s reluctance to seek resolution through the formal grievance procedure before the time limits have passed. Thus, be sure to contact the SEA as soon as possible for assistance in determining if you have a valid grievance and how to go about defining and resolving it.

WHAT THE UNION DOES: Your Building Representative will answer your question and help you in filing a grievance. Once filed, a grievance can be held in abeyance by mutual consent in order to resolve it informally, but a grievance not filed before the expiration of the time limits may be lost. If you decide to pursue the grievance, the SEA will represent you and present your case through the formal steps of the grievance procedure (Article 7.4)

THE ARBITRATION STEP: Although anyone can file and process a grievance through the initial steps, only the SEA Board of Directors has the legal authority to pursue a grievance to arbitration. The SEA’s Grievance Committee, comprised of the Executive Board will review the case and vote on its merits for submission to arbitration. If you disagree with the decision of the EBoard, you can appeal to the full Board. The decision of the full board is final. At any point the parties can mutually agree to a settlement of the dispute and end the process.

ENFORCING THE CONTRACT: A strong grievance procedure vigorously enforced by the SEA is necessary to insure equitable treatment under the contract. We recommend that all unit members periodically review Article 7, as well as the rest of the Agreement, and become familiar with their rights. If you feel that you may have received inequitable treatment, you should contact you Building Representative immediately. Through the grievance procedure, we will be successful in protecting employee rights. With your support, the SEA can improve the grievance procedure in negotiations and continue to apply it with fairness and for the benefit of all.

GENERAL PROVISIONS: If in the judgment of the Association, a grievance affects a group of teachers, the Association may file a grievance independently of any member directly to the Superintendent.

 SUPPORT THE SEA: Contract enforcement is the most demanding, time-consuming and expensive task that the Southbridge Education Association (SEA) performs for you. Without enforcement, a contract is worthless. We must maintain constant vigilance to insure that our hard-won gains are not eroded by administration. The SEA prides itself on having built a strong grievance machinery which operates democratically for all unit members. But we need your help to make it work.

Together, we have strength.

SEA grievance form 2.0 copy

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