If the parties are unable to resolve the grievance after the Step 2 meeting, the union can advance the grievance to an Adjustment Board (Step 3) by submitting a written request to Employee & Labor Relations or the Human Resources Director within the timeframe prescribed in the applicable MOU. An employee cannot advance a grievance to the Adjustment Board without involving his/her union.
An Adjustment Board is a hearing before a four-member panel that is tasked with attempting to resolve or adjust the grievance. For each Adjustment Board, the union appoints two panel members, and the Employee & Labor Relations Manager appoints two panel members. Each party presents their case by introducing evidence in the form of written documents and testimony from witnesses. Normally, the grievant’s presentation is made by a union representative, and the Department’s presentation is made by a representative from Employee & Labor Relations (attorneys are not normally involved at Step 3). Although a union representative and Employee & Labor Relations representative “present” the opposing cases, this presentation is actually accomplished by having witnesses offer oral testimony and introduce written documents. Employee & Labor Relations and County Counsel work closely with department representatives to prepare the case and prepare witnesses. The four panelists may also ask questions of both parties and of witnesses. After all evidence and presentation is completed, the four panelists convene in executive session to attempt to reach a majority opinion to grant, partially grant, or deny the grievance and requested remedy. If the panel reaches a majority decision, that decision is binding on the parties and the grievance process ends. If the panel is unable to reach a majority decision, the union may invoke arbitration (Step 4) as described below.