A grievance is any dispute which involves the interpretation or application of any provision of this MOU, excluding those provisions of this MOU 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.

35.2 Grievances shall be processed in the following manner:

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

Any employee who believes that they have a grievance may discuss their complaint with such management official in the department in which they work as the department head may designate. If the issue is not resolved within the department, or if the employee elects to submit their grievance directly to the Association recognized as the representative of their class, the procedures hereinafter specified may be invoked, provided, however, that all complaints involving or concerning the payment of compensation shall be in writing to the HRD Director.

(2)   Step 2. Human Resources Director

Any employee or official of the Association may notify the HRD Director in writing that a grievance exists, stating the particulars of the grievance and, if possible, the nature of the determination desired. Such notification must be received within twenty-eight (28) calendar days from the date of the employee’s knowledge of the alleged grievance. Any grievances involving demotion, suspension or dismissal must be received within fourteen (14) calendar days of the above specified action. The HRD Director or their representative, who in the case of a grievance alleging discrimination shall be the Affirmative Action Coordinator, shall have twenty-five (25) workdays in which to investigate the merits of the complaint, to meet with the complainant and, if the complainant is not the Association, to meet also with Association officials­, 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).

(3)   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 Association may advance the grievance to an Adjustment Board by submitting a written request to Employee Relations no later than fourteen (14) calendar days from written notice from Employee Relations that the grievance is denied at Step 2. The Adjustment Board shall be comprised of two (2) representatives designated by the Association and two (2) representatives designated by the County.

(4)   Step 4. Arbitration

If an Adjustment Board is unable to arrive at a majority decision, either the Association or the County may require that the grievance be referred to an impartial arbitrator, if within fourteen (14) calendar days of the date upon which the Adjustment Board hearing was held, the moving party notifies the other in writing of its desire to arbitrate. The question shall be submitted to an arbitrator mutually agreed upon by the parties or, failing mutual agreement, to that arbitrator who is selected by lot from an agreed upon panel. The fees and expenses of the arbitrator and of the court reporter shall be shared equally by the Association and the County. Each party shall bear the costs of its own presentation, including preparation and post-hearing briefs, if any.

35.3 Scope of Adjustment Board and Arbitration Decisions

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

(2)   No Adjustment Board and no arbitrator shall entertain, hear, decide or make recommendations on any dispute unless such dispute involves a position in a unit represented by the Association 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 35.1.

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

(4)   If the HRD Director in pursuance of the procedures outlined in subsection 35.2 (b), or the Adjustment Board in pursuance of the provisions of subsection 35.2 (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.

35.4 Compensation Complaints

Complaints involving or concerning 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 as 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) 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 Association.

35.5 No Strike

The Association, 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 Association 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 of operations of management or of employees not covered by this MOU.

35.6 County Charter and Civil Service Commission

(1)   The provisions of this section shall not abridge any rights to which an employee 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.

(2)   Grievances of employees in representation units represented by the Association 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 35.2 above shall be taken unless it is determined that the employee is not availing themselves of such option.

(3)   No action under Section 35.2 (b) 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 Civil Service Commission.

(4)   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 County Manager and the HRD Director will recommend to the Board of Super­visors or the Civil Service Commission, as appropriate, that it follow such award.