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Article 7: Grievance Procedure

7.1 Purpose

The purpose of this grievance procedure is to secure, at the lowest possible administrative level, equitable solutions to problems that arise and are subject to this procedure. To the extent allowed by law, the Union and the employees agree that this grievance procedure shall be the exclusive forum for challenging any alleged violation of any provision of this Agreement. To the extent allowed by the law, the Union and the employees waive any other right they have or may have to challenge any right or benefit set forth in this Agreement in another forum. This is the only grievance or appeal procedure for the employees covered by this Agreement regarding any right or benefit provided by the College.

7.2 Definitions

7.2.1

A grievance shall be defined as an allegation that a violation of any provision of this Agreement has occurred.

7.2.2

A “grievant” shall be any faculty member, group of faculty or the Union.

7.2.3

Days shall mean Monday through Friday except for holidays, which are observed by the College.

7.3 Procedures

7.3.1

The number of days indicated at each level of this procedure shall be considered maximum and every effort shall be made to expedite the process.

7.3.2

Grievance proceedings shall be kept informal at all levels of this procedure.

7.3.3

If the College fails to comply in writing, or with its time limit requirements as set forth under any of the procedure steps, the grievance shall be considered automatically appealed to the next level of the procedure.

7.3.4

If the grievant fails to comply with the grievants time limit requirements, as set forth under any of the procedures steps, the grievance shall be considered null and void.

7.3.5

The time limits set forth herein may be extended provided the extension has been mutually agreed upon in writing by the parties.

7.3.6

A grievance shall not be considered unless the grievant initiates the grievance no later than fifteen (15) days after the grievant knew or reasonably should have known of the action, which precipitated the grievance.

7.3.7

No reprisal or retaliation shall be taken against any person who participates in this procedure.

7.3.8

A grievant may be accompanied and represented by the Union and the charged party may be represented by a person of the party's choice at any hearing or meeting conducted under this procedure.

7.3.9

The parties may facilitate any investigation which may be necessary in order to expedite the process and provide information which is relevant to the issues addressed in the grievance. This investigation may include the sharing of relevant documents, facts, records and data in the possession of either party.

7.3.10

An employee, acting individually, may present a grievance without the intervention of the Union provided the grievance has been processed in accordance with this procedure.  The grievant shall be responsible for notifying the Union in writing that a grievance is being filed.  At any hearing or meeting related to a grievance brought individually by an employee, the Union shall be afforded the opportunity to be present and make its views known.  Any adjustment made shall be consistent with the provisions of this Agreement.

7.3.11

If a grievance affects a group of two or more employees or involves a decision or action by the College, which has a departmental or College-wide impact, the Union may submit the grievance on behalf of the affected employees at Level 2 of this procedure. The parties may submit this grievance at Level 1 if the affected employees have the same supervisor.

7.3.12

All documents related to a grievance shall be maintained in a separate grievance file. This provision does not include disciplinary actions and/or documents that are the subject of a grievance.

7.3.13

Unless otherwise agreed to by the parties, grievances shall be processed at times other than during scheduled workload hours.

7.3.14

All decisions shall be submitted in writing at each step of the grievance procedure and the decision shall be submitted to both the grievant and the Union.

7.3.15

Grievances shall be filed on forms approved by the parties.

7.3.16

The parties shall maintain confidentiality for all grievance proceedings and for documents required by law to be kept confidential. If a grievant or the Union violates this provision, this action will be a waiver by the grievant and/or Union of any confidentiality right the grievant may have which is related to the grievance.

7.3.17

The parties to a grievance may mutually agree to toll the procedures time limits in accordance with sub-paragraph 5 herein and attempt to mediate the dispute. If the parties agree to mediate the grievance, the College and the Union shall ask the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) to assign a mediator. If the FMCS cannot assign a mediator in a timely manner, the parties may jointly choose another mediator. If either party wishes to terminate the mediation process and reinstate the time limits of the grievance procedure, the initiating party will notify the other party in writing of the intent to return the grievance to the procedure.

7.4 Level 1

7.4.1

The grievant and/or the Union shall submit the grievance in writing to the Department Dean during an informal meeting.  To be considered, the grievance must be filed in accordance with the fifteen (15) day time limit contained in 7.3.6 of this Agreement and contain at a minimum the provision(s) of this Agreement alleged to be violated, a description of the facts that led the grievant to believe there has been a violation of the Agreement, the dates and known times of the incident that the grievant believes precipitated the grievance, all known witnesses, and the relief requested.  The grievant may be accompanied and represented by the grievant’s Union representative in accordance with section 7.3.8 herein. If the grievance does not comply with all the provisions of this grievance procedure it shall be null and void.

7.5 Level 2

7.5.1

If the grievant is not satisfied with the results of Level 1, the grievant or the Union may submit the grievance in writing to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs. To be considered, the grievance must be filed within ten (10) days of the response from the dean and contain the provision(s) of the Agreement allegedly violated, a brief description of the facts which led the grievant to believe there has been a violation of the Agreement and the relief requested.

7.5.2

No later than ten (10) days following receipt of the grievants written grievance, the Vice-President for Academic Affairs shall submit a written response to the grievance. The response shall be submitted to the grievant and the Federation.

7.5.3

If the parties agree the Vice-President for Academic Affairs does not have the authority to resolve the grievance, the grievant or the Union may initiate the grievance with the Human Resources Executive Director at Level 3. The written grievance and time limit requirements set forth under Levels 1 and 2 above shall be followed if this alternative is used.

7.6 Level 3

7.6.1

If the grievant is not satisfied with the Vice-President’s written disposition, the grievant or the Union may appeal the grievance in writing to the Human Resources Executive Director or the Human Resources Executive Director’s designee no later than ten (10) days after the grievant received the Vice-President’s response.

7.6.2

No later than ten (10) days following receipt of the grievant’s appeal, the Human Resources Executive Director or the Human Resources Executive Director’s designee shall schedule in a timely manner a meeting in an attempt to resolve the grievance.  Each party shall be entitled to bring documents and/or witnesses to the meeting in order to present evidence on their behalf.  Each party shall have the right to cross-examine witnesses brought by the other party.  Each party shall assume its own costs including the costs of witnesses. Evidence and documents introduced shall be available for photocopy by the other party at their own expense.

7.6.3

No later than ten (10) days following the close of the meeting set forth under section 7.6.2 of this article, the Human Resources Executive Director or the Human Resources Executive Director’s designee shall submit a written decision on the grievance to the grievant and the Union.

7.7 Arbitration

7.7.1

If the grievant and Union are not satisfied with the Level 3 disposition, the grievant may appeal the grievance to arbitration no later than ten (10) days following receipt of the Level 3 disposition by the grievant. Once the ten (10) days have expired, if no arbitration request has been submitted as provided for herein, the grievance shall be considered null and void and the College shall have no obligation to schedule grievance meetings and arbitration.

7.7.2

The grievance will be appealed to arbitration by the submission of a written request by the Union to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) for a list of seven arbitrators. A copy of the request shall be sent to the College by the Union at the same time the request is filed with the FMCS. The request shall not include any special requirements for the arbitrator unless mutually agreed upon by the parties. Each party retains the right to request a second list of arbitrators from the FMCS.

7.7.3

The parties shall alternatively strike names on the list until there is one name remaining who shall be the arbitrator. A coin flip shall determine which party will strike first.

7.7.4

The arbitrator shall conduct the hearing as soon as possible following the selection of the arbitrator.

7.7.5

Issues related to the arbitrability of a grievance shall be decided by the arbitrator. If the College is challenging the arbitrability of the grievance it shall notify the Union and obtain a second list of arbitrators from the FMCS for the limited purpose of determining arbitrability. The parties shall strike names in accordance with the provisions herein. This arbitration on the question of arbitrability must be resolved prior to a hearing on the merits of the grievance; however, this provision shall not prevent striking names for an arbitrator to hear the merits of the grievance. The intent of this provision is to resolve the arbitrability question through the submission of briefs, supported with exhibits and/or affidavits as necessary or as determined by the arbitrator. If the arbitrator concludes that the issue is arbitrable the parties shall schedule the arbitration with the arbitrator selected to hear the merits of the case. If the arbitrator concludes the grievance is not arbitrable the grievance on the merits is dismissed and the issue is null and void.

7.7.6

The arbitrator’s decision shall be submitted to the College and the  Union no later than thirty (30) days after the conclusion of the hearing.

7.7.7

The arbitrator’s decision shall be in writing and shall include the arbitrator’s decision, rationale and, if appropriate, the relief.  The arbitrator shall not have the authority to expand, or add to, the rights employees, the Union, or the College have under the terms of this Agreement.

7.7.8

The arbitrators decision shall be final and binding on the parties subject to appeal in accordance with the Uniform Arbitration Act (Chapt. 44, NM Stat. Ann. 1978).

7.7.9

The arbitrators fees and costs shall be shared equally by the parties. All other expenses shall be assumed by the party incurring the costs, including the cost of witnesses.