BCTC MOU Section 36: Grievances

36.1        Definition A grievance is any dispute which involves the interpretation or application of any provision of this MOU excluding side letters and letters attached to this agreement, and excluding those provisions which specifically provide that the decision of any County official shall be final, the interpretation or application of those provisions not being subject to the grievance procedure.

36.2     Grievances shall be processed in the following manner:

(a)          Step 1. Department Head and/or the Designated Representative

Any employee who believes that he/she has a grievance may discuss his/her complaint with such management official in the department in which he/she works as the department head may designate. If the issue is not resolved within the department, or if the employee elects to submit his/her grievance directly to the Union, the procedures hereinafter specified may be invoked, provided, however, that all complaints involving or concerning the payment of compensation shall be in writing to Employee Relations.

(b)          Step 2. Employee Relations

Any employee or any official of the Union may notify Employee Relations in writing that a grievance exists, stating the particulars of the grievance and, if possible, the nature of the determination desired. Notification must be received within twenty-eight (28) calendar days from the date of the employee’s knowledge of an alleged grievance. Any grievances involving demotion, suspension, non-punitive discipline, reduction in step or dismissal must be received within fourteen (14) calendar days after receipt of written notification of such disciplinary action. The Employee Relations Director or his/her designated representative, shall have twenty (20) workdays in which to investigate the merits of the complaint, to meet with the complainant and, if the complainant is not the Union, to meet also with the officials of the Union, and to settle the grievance. No grievance may be processed under paragraph (c) below which has not first been filed and investigated in accordance with this paragraph (b).

(c)        Step 3. Adjustment Board

If the parties are unable to reach a mutually satisfactory accord on any grievance which arises and is presented during the term of this MOU, the Union may advance the grievance to an Adjustment Board by submitting a written request to Employee Relations within twenty-eight (28) calendar days from the date of the Step 2 denial. The Adjustment Board shall be comprised of two (2) members designated by the Union and two (2) designated by the County. Either party may request that one (1) member of the Adjustment Board for the other party not be a County employee. Adjustment boards shall be convened within twenty-eight (28) calendar days from the date such notification is received.

(d)        Step 4. Arbitration

If an Adjustment Board is unable to arrive at a majority decision, the Union may invoke arbitration by sending Employee Relations a written request within twenty-eight (28) calendar days after receipt of the Adjustment Board’s decision. When arbitration is timely invoked, an arbitrator shall be designated by mutual agreement between the parties. The fees and expenses of the arbitrator and the Court Reporter shall be shared equally by the parties. Each party shall bear the costs of its own presentation, including preparation and post-hearing briefs, if any.

36.3        Scope of Adjustment Board and Arbitration Decisions

(a)        Decisions of Adjustment Boards and arbitrators on matters properly before them shall be final and binding on the parties to the extent permitted by County Charter.

(b)        No Adjustment Board or arbitrator shall entertain, hear, decide or make recommendations on any dispute unless such dispute involves a position in a unit represented by the Union which has been certified as the recognized employee organization for such unit and unless such dispute falls within the definition of a grievance as set forth in subsection 36.1.

(c)        Proposals to add to or change this MOU or written agreements or addenda supplementary hereto shall not be arbitrable. No proposal to modify, amend or terminate this MOU, nor any matter arising out of or in connection with such proposals, may be referred to arbitration under this Section. Neither Adjustment Boards nor arbitrators shall have power to amend or modify this MOU or written agreements or addenda supplementary hereto or to establish any new terms or conditions of employment.

(d)        If the Employee Relations Director pursuant to subsection 36.2 (b), or the Adjustment Board pursuant to subsection 36.2 (c) resolve a grievance which involves suspension or discharge, they may agree to payment for lost time or to reinstatement with or without payment for lost time.

36.4        Compensation Complaints Only

Complaints involving or concerning the payment of compensation shall be initially filed in writing with Employee Relations. Only complaints which allege employees are not being compensated in accordance with the provisions of this MOU shall be considered grievances. Any other matters of compensation are to be resolved in the meet and confer process if not detailed in the MOU which results from such meet and confer process shall be deemed withdrawn until the meet and confer process is next opened for such discussion. No adjustment shall be retroactive for more than sixty (60) calendar days from the date upon which the complaint was filed.

No change in this MOU or interpretations thereof (except interpretations resulting from Adjustment Board or arbitration proceedings hereunder) will be recognized unless agreed to by the County and the Union.

36.5        No Strike

The Union, its members and representatives, agree that it and they will not engage in, authorize, sanction or support any strike, slowdown, stoppage of work, curtailment of production, concerted refusal of overtime work, refusal to operate designated equipment (provided such equipment is safe and sound) or to perform customary duties; and neither the Union nor any representatives thereof shall engage in job action for the purpose of effecting changes in the directives or decisions of management of the County, nor to effect a change of personnel or operations of management or of employees not covered by this MOU.

In the case of a legally declared lawful strike against a private sector employer which has been sanctioned and approved by the labor body or council having jurisdiction, an employee who is in danger of physical harm shall not be required to cross the picket line, provided the employee advises his/her supervisor prior to leaving the picketed location, and provided further that an employee may be required to cross a picket line where the performance of his/her duties is of an emergency nature and/or failure to perform such duties might cause or aggravate a danger to public health or safety.

36.6        County Charter and Civil Service Commission

(a)        The provisions of this Section shall not abridge any rights employees may be entitled under the County Charter, nor shall it be administered in a manner which would abrogate any power which, under the County Charter may be within the sole province and discretion of the Civil Service Commission.

(b)        All grievances of employees in the bargaining unit shall be processed under this Section. If the County Charter requires that a differing option be available to the employee, no action under paragraph (b) of subsection 36.2 above shall be taken unless it is determined that the employee is not availing himself/herself of such option.

(c)        No action under paragraph (b) of subsection 36.2 shall be taken if action on the complaint or grievance has been taken by the Civil Service Commission, or if the complaint or grievance is pending before the Commission.

(d)        If any award by an Adjustment Board or arbitrator requires action by the Board of Supervisors or the Civil Service Commission before it can be placed in effect, the Human Resources Department Director and County Manager will recommend to the Board or Commission, as appropriate, that it follow such award.