HOW TO FILE A GRIEVANCE
A grievance is a dispute over the interpretation and/or application of any provision of the MOU, City rules and regulations governing personnel practices, or labor law. For additional information see the page “Grievance Defined”. You should discuss the situation with your Union Steward or labor representative before filing to determine the best strategy. The Steward has familiarity with your particular workplace and has access to additional resources within the Union if needed.
The grievance procedure is outlined in the MOU for every Unit represented by EAA and must be followed to the letter. Portions of that procedure are mentioned below for reference and clarity. It is the employee’s responsibility to schedule the informal discussion and to follow with the first level of formal grievance when needed. There are five items that are absolutely essential to keep in mind in order to win a grievance at any level.
- Prepare for every grievance as if you were presenting it to an impartial arbitrator. Remember that the various levels of review prior to arbitration are performed by those in the chain of command that promoted your supervisor and they may be sympathetic to his side of the story as they already know him.
- Document, document, document. Details of when, where, who, what, and why are essential to convince someone who is not in your workplace and are quite useful in the informal stage. Pay particular attention to possible witnesses.
- Timelines, timelines, timelines. Many grievances are denied because they are not filed or not appealed in a timely manner. There is no appeal to missing a timeline except in a violation that is ongoing, thus regularly extending the timeline. Note that all timelines are specified in calendar days and that timelines may be extended by mutual agreement of both parties.
- Cite the proper sections of your MOU or City rules that are violated. When in doubt, cite every section violated and always include Section 1.10 B (read it and you will see why). It is useful to include a phrase such as “and all other applicable MOU provisions and City rules”, particularly when you are confused as to exactly which one applies.
- Be specific regarding the remedy you seek and be certain it is within the power of the City to grant. The remedy sought in the first written stage generally cannot be changed later.
Note that the grievance procedure adopted July 1, 2010 is considerably expedited over the previous procedure. It has similar response times for both management and the employee, ensuring timely completion of the procedure. The following is a brief explanation of the steps. Please read your MOU and a discuss the grievance with a Steward or labor representative. Also note there is a somewhat different procedure if you are employed at LAPD, as explained in your MOU.
Step 1 is the informal discussion with your supervisor. The single most important thing to remember is to notify your supervisor that you wish to begin the grievance process within the specified 10 business days of the grievable incident. The meeting can occur at any mutually agreed time thereafter, but failure to notify your supervisor is a waiver of your right to grieve.
Step 2 is the first level of review. You must file the completed Grievance Initiation form below. The grievant (you) is required to file within 10 business days of your supervisor’s denial of the grievance or his/her failure to respond within 10 business days of the informal discussion. Your Steward can give advice regarding the proper citations or you may contact the Labor Representative for your department to obtain that advice.
Step 3 is a review by the General Manager of your department. Your appeal must be made within 10 business days of denial at step 2 and is made on the Grievance Appeal form below. A meeting will be scheduled for you with the General Manager (or designee). Be certain to include your labor representative in this meeting.
Step 4 is arbitration and is filed by your EAA labor representative.
If you think the grievance procedure is somewhat loaded in favor of management, you are correct. This procedure or one very similar is in effect for all represented City employees, not just EAA. And generally, the burden of proof is on the employee and his or her representative.
EAA is including the proper forms below as .pdf files for your convenience.