3.1 Attendance at Meetings
County workers who are official representatives or Stewards of the Union shall be given reasonable time off with pay to meet and confer or consult with management representatives or to be present at hearings where matters within the scope of representation are being considered. The use of official time for this purpose shall be reasonable and shall not interfere with the performance of County services as determined by the County. Such representatives or Stewards shall submit written requests for excused absences to Employee Relations at least two working days prior to the meeting whenever possible. Except by agreement with Employee Relations, the number of workers excused for such purposes shall not exceed 3 per Union, or 2 from each of the following representation units:
Accounting and Administrative Services Unit
and five from Office and Technical Services Unit, whichever is greater, at any one time. If any worker’s request for excused absence is not approved, such disapproval shall be subject to appeal to the County Manager whose decision shall be final.
The Union shall be allowed up to 150 hours of unpaid release time per calendar year for official representatives and stewards to conduct necessary internal union business. Requests shall be made to the worker’s department head 14 days in advance.
Shop stewards working P.M. shifts shall be provided one hour of paid release time to attend monthly Steward Council meetings held in the evening, not to exceed eight times per year. Shop stewards working day shifts shall be provided one hour of paid release time to attend monthly Steward Council meetings held during the day, not to exceed four times per year. The number of stewards released shall not exceed thirty in any given month. The Union shall provide updated lists of stewards to Employee Relations on a quarterly basis. Only stewards on the lists shall be eligible for release time. It is acknowledged that the County will attempt to provide such release time, but that each instance must be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Any denial of requested time off may be appealed to the Human Resources Director, whose decision shall be final.
3.2 Handling of Grievances
The Union shall designate a reasonable number of Stewards to assist in resolving grievances. The designation will depend on such circumstances as geographical locations, hours of employment, and departmental organizational structure. The Union shall notify Employee Relations in writing of the individuals so designated. Alternates may be designated to perform Steward functions during the absence or unavailability of the Stewards. Stewards may be relieved from their assigned work duties by their supervisors to investigate and process grievances initiated by other workers within the same work area or representation unit, including participating in Steps 1-4 of the grievance process as described in Section 38.2. Requests for release time shall not be unreasonably denied. Stewards shall promptly report to the Union any grievances which arise and cannot be adjusted on the job. Supervisory workers shall not represent nonsupervisory workers in a grievance procedure where such activity might result in a conflict of interest. Neither Stewards nor the Union shall order changes, and no change shall be made except with the consent of the appropriate department heads.
The Union shall notify the County in advance of an investigatory meeting if an additional steward is required to attend for the purpose of taking notes. Unless the County objects, an additional steward may be released for this purpose.