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Grievances

Grievances

 

What is a grievance and how the OSTA can help you?

A grievance is an alleged violation, misinterpretation or misapplication of a specific article(s) or section of your contract agreement.  A Disciplinary Grievance refers to a grievance involving a verbal reprimand, written reprimand, suspension, removal or reduction in pay and/or position.  If you have a complaint of violation of the Agreement, a complaint of misapplication of the Agreement or a complaint of misinterpretation of the Agreement then you have may have just cause for filing a grievance!  Please note though, if you are newly hired and still on initial probation, you cannot grieve a disciplinary action.

 

An employee having a grievance shall present it to his/her immediate supervisor within fourteen (14) days of the date on which the grievant knew or reasonably should have had knowledge of the event giving rise to the grievance.  Any grievances submitted beyond the fourteen days will not be honored.

 

 

How do I file a grievance?

 

The first step is to contact your district staff representative or post steward to discuss your issue.  Not all grievances are advanced to arbitration so discussing your issue with someone that is familiar with the contract is highly recommended. 

 

The next step requires logging into the Electronic Grievance System at: http://oh-grievance.force.com/AppLogin.  You can file the grievance yourself or have your post steward or Staff Representative file it for you. 

 

Once logged in, complete the process for submitting a grievance:

  •  Create new grievance
  •   Enter the required contact information
  •   Enter the relevant grievance information & appropriate remedy
  •   Attach the relevant contract articles you believe have been violated
  •   Confirm submission & enter your name
  •   Click Submit

 

 

 

What should I document in my grievance statement?

 

There is no method that guarantees success in the area of grievance handling, however, the following questions will aid in a grievance investigation. 

 

  • Who was involved in the incident?  Be sure you can identify not only who was involved, but also the location and statements etc.
  • When did it happen?  Identify the incident as specifically as possible – time, date, shift, overtime or regular time, holiday or leave time, etc.
  • Where did it happen?  Locate the area as specifically as possible.  If equipment is involved, identify it, including the condition and previous problems.  This is especially important in safety grievances.
  • What happened that makes this incident a grievance?  What are the circumstances of the incident?
  • Why is this incident a grievance?  Review your contract and cite specific article(s) and/or section(s) that the grievant alleges to have been violated.  Failure to cite the specific article(s) can relieve the Employer of any obligation to process the grievance!!
  • What is the proper remedy?  Be clear, reasonable and realistic in your statement of what you would like management to make as a resolution of the grievance.  For example, when grieving a discipline issue, the issue to “have xxx days returned/restored to my position, with full back pay and benefits and to be made whole.”  When grieving a denial of permissive leave, the proper remedy is to have the leave request granted or if the date has passed, to be paid at time and one-half (1 ½) the regular rate of pay for the date denied and subsequently worked.  

 

What if there are several of us having the same issue?

 

When an issue impacts a large portion of the bargaining unit in the same manner, the Union can file a “Union” grievance on behalf of the affected members.  Only one member is required to sign the grievance.  When completing the electronic grievance filing, you will be asked if it is a class action grievance, click the box and on the next screen listed all of the impacted personnel.

 

If you believe a “union” issue has occurred, please notify your District Staff Representative to discuss the facts.   Please note, all Class Grievance’s or “Union” grievances must be filed within fourteen (14) days of the date on which any of the affected grievants knew or reasonably could have had knowledge of the event giving rise to the grievance. 

 

 

I’ve submitted my Online Grievance Report, now what?

 

 

An employee having a grievance shall present it to his/her immediate supervisor within fourteen (14) days of the date on which the grievant knew or reasonably should have had knowledge of the event giving rise to the grievance.  Any grievances submitted beyond the fourteen days will not be honored.

 

Once the grievance has been submitted electronically,  the Office of Human Resource Management – Labor Relations will schedule a meeting to be held within twenty (20) days to discuss the grievance.  Again, a Union Representative will attend this meeting to represent the grievant, if it is desired by the grievant.  The Director/Superintendent or a designee will then render his/her decision in writing and return a copy to the grievant and the Union within thirteen (13) days after the meeting,

 

Once the Employer has submitted its Step 2 reply, the Union will appeal the grievance to the final step of the grievance procedure.  This step is merely a formality to comply with the terms of the contract.  The final decision on whether a grievance goes to arbitration lies with the OSTA’s Legal Committee.

 

 

Legal Committee…because not every grievance can be forwarded to arbitration.

 

Each grievance has value; however, not every grievance can be forwarded to arbitration.  As a result, the Legal Committee is forced to prioritize grievances by the potential impact, both positive and negative to the contract itself.  The committee will look at the impact upon the individual versus the district and versus the state as a whole.  They must weigh the potential of a negative result, which would give the Employer more power against the actual grievance.  The grievance is discussed by the committee, staff representatives and the OSTA Legal Counsel and a vote is taken by the committee members with majority ruling.  It is important to note though that this a denial by the committee is not the end all, be all for a grievance.  Any grievance that has been denied has the opportunity to appeal that decision to the Combined Board of the Ohio Troopers Organizations.  The grievant is sent notice of the denial and an appeal form which must be returned within ten (10) days of the letter.  The Combined Board will make the decision whether to overrule the Legal Committees denial and proceed with arbitration or to withhold the Legal Committees decision.

 

 

What’s taking so long for my grievance to get to arbitration?

 

The arbitration process is not quick.  There are two arbitration panels that we use.  One panel, which consists of two arbitrators, hears only disciplinary cases of suspensions and/or fines of less than ten (10) days.  The other panel, consists of four arbitrators, hears all termination grievances, demotion grievances and issue grievances.  Grievances are scheduled for arbitration (once approved by the legal committee) in the order in which they are filed, with terminations taking precedence.  Since the same panel of arbitrators that hears issue cases hears the termination cases, termination grievances are scheduled with top priority and issue cases are scheduled only when there are no pending terminations. 

 

The contract requires that a termination grievance be scheduled within forty-five (45) days of its filing, which does not always occur due to the scheduling nature of arbitrations.  The arbitrators send their available dates to the Office of Collective Bargaining (OCB), once all the arbitrators have supplied their availability, OCB sends the dates to us and to the Patrol.  We then choose the dates that work best for us and the Patrol does the same.  When a date that works for both parties is selected, it is confirmed by OCB that the date is still available and then it is firmly scheduled.  Due to the fact that the dates have to mutually agreed to by both parties, it is rare that we schedule more than two (2) dates a month.  Cases are assigned in the order in which they were filed, with terminations scheduled first.  Discipline of ten (10) days or less is scheduled at the same time with that panel’s arbitrators in the same manner.

 

We are continually exploring ways to speed this process up by employing alternative methods of resolution, such as mediation.

 

 

Click on the links below to access files that will assist you in filing a grievance electronically:

 

 

Electronic Grievance PowerPoint

 

 

Electronic Grievance Quick Tips

 

 

You can log into the Electronic Grievance System at: http://oh-grievance.force.com/AppLogin.