2023 - 2026 SEIU 1021 Memorandum of Understanding: Article 21: Grievance Procedure
What’s on this Page
- 21.1 Grievance – Purpose of Procedure
- 21.2 Grievance – Definition of
- 21.3 Grievance – Standing to Initiate
- 21.4 Grievance – Procedure Initiation
- 21.5 Grievance – Department Designee(s)
- 21.6 Grievance – Time Limits
- 21.7 Grievance Procedure – Informal Review
- 21.8 Grievance – First Step of
- 21.9 Grievance – Second Step of
- 21.10 Grievance – Third Step of
- 21.11 Mediation
- 21.12 Arbitration of Grievance
- 21.12.1 Arbitrability of Grievance
- 21.12.2 Arbitration – Timing of
- 21.12.3 Arbitration – Selection of Arbitrator
- 21.12.4 Arbitration Panel – Selection of Arbitrator
- 21.12.5 Arbitration – Submission Statement
- 21.12.6 Arbitration – Scope of Arbitration
- 21.12.7 Arbitration – Arbitrator’s Decision
- 21.12.8 Arbitration – Expenses
- 21.13 Grievance – Non-Retaliation
- 21.14 Grievance – Maintenance of Performance Standards by Grievant
21.1 Grievance – Purpose of Procedure
The County and the Union agree to this Grievance Procedure to provide an orderly procedure to promptly resolve grievances asserted by employees covered by this Memorandum.
21.2 Grievance – Definition of
A grievance is a claim by an employee, a group of employees, or the Union on behalf of an employee(s), concerning the interpretation, application or alleged violation of this Memorandum. All other complaints are specifically excluded from this procedure including but not limited to, complaints which arise from the following: disciplinary actions, including those that the Union claims are based on discrimination for Union activity (except written reprimands issued to current Union directors, officers or stewards, as identified in the last quarterly list given to the County, if the Union claims the reprimand reflects discrimination for Union activity); all appeals arising from examinations; performance evaluation or denial of a merit increase; placement of volunteers; working out of class; provisions of Fair Labor Standards Act; safety related issues; any provision of this Memorandum specifically identified as not grievable.
Day shall mean County business day.
21.3 Grievance – Standing to Initiate
An individual employee or the Union who, on behalf of an employee(s), in good faith has an actual grievance with the County over a grievable matter as defined in Section 21.2 may file a grievance. The Union may file a grievance without naming the individual employee(s) on behalf of whom it filed the grievance, only if the grievance involves a right or benefit granted the Union under this Memorandum, such as bulletin boards (Section 4.5) and Union Business (Section 4.12).
At any step of the grievance procedure, an employee may represent themselves, or may be represented by a Union representative who may be a Union steward. If the Union files a grievance without naming an individual employee, the Union shall be represented by an elected officer, steward, or labor representative designated by the Union.
21.4 Grievance – Procedure Initiation
The first step of the grievance procedure must be initiated within fifteen (15) County business days from the date of the action or occurrence giving rise to the grievance or within fifteen (15) County business days from the date the grievant knew of or could have reasonably discovered such action or occurrence.
21.5 Grievance – Department Designee(s)
Within two (2) months of ratification of this MOU, the County shall post a list of all department designees for grievances on the Human Resources website near the SEIU Steward List. This list shall be kept up to date by the County and include name, title, contact information, and, if applicable, a substitute designee.
21.6 Grievance – Time Limits
Time limits specified in each step of the procedure shall be strictly observed and may only be extended by mutual agreement of the parties in writing.
Failure of a grievant to observe a time limit shall terminate the grievance. Failure of the party to whom the grievance is submitted to observe the time limits shall give the grievant the right to move the grievance to the next level.
21.7 Grievance Procedure – Informal Review
Before initiating the first step of the grievance procedure, an individual employee, or group of employees, with or without their representative, may first attempt to resolve the grievance informally. Informal attempts to resolve a grievance shall not extend the time limits, including the initiation deadline provided for in Article 21.4 of this Memorandum.
21.8 Grievance – First Step of
The first step of the grievance procedure shall be initiated upon the grievant’s submission of a written grievance and request for a first step grievance meeting to the department designee where the action(s) or occurrence(s) giving rise to the grievance took place. The department designee shall make a good-faith effort to determine the most appropriate respondent and, within three (3) County business days, indicate to whom the first step grievance shall be assigned by notifying the grievant and assigned respondent of the requirement for a first step grievance meeting.
The written request for a first step grievance meeting must:
- describe the grievance and how the grievant(s) is/was adversely affected by the County’s misinterpretation, misapplication, or violation of this Memorandum;
- set forth the specific Section(s) of this Memorandum allegedly violated;
- indicate the date(s) of the incident(s) grieved; and
- specify the remedy or solution to the grievance sought by the grievant(s).
The grievance shall be discussed at a meeting with the grievant and the assigned respondent within fifteen (15) County business days from the date of the assigned respondent’s receipt of the request for a first step grievance meeting as provided in Section 21.6 above.
Every effort shall be made by the parties to resolve the grievance at this level, which may include conferences among supervisory or administrative personnel. Such discussions will be held whenever possible, during the grievant’s work hours.
The first step assigned respondent shall respond in writing within seven (7) County business days of the first step meeting. The assigned respondent’s first step response shall indicate the non-SEIU represented designee to whom a second step grievance must be submitted.
For a grievance asserted on behalf of more than one employee, the County and the Union may agree in writing to consolidate the grievance. There shall be only one first step grievance meeting for a consolidated grievance.
21.9 Grievance – Second Step of
21.9.1 Grievance – Timing & Rationale – Second Step
To advance the grievance to the second step of the grievance procedure, the grievant shall, within seven (7) County business days after receiving the first step response, submit the grievance in writing to the second step designee indicated in the first step response. The grievant shall copy the Human Resources Employee & Labor Relations Manager, the first step respondent and the Union on the submission.
21.9.2 Grievance – Response to Second Step
The written grievance shall be responded to in writing by the second step designee indicated in the first step response within seven (7) County business days from the date the written grievance was received and a copy sent to the Human Resources Employee & Labor Relations Manager, the first step respondent and the Union. The written response shall include:
- a) a complete statement of the respondent’s position and the facts upon which it is based;
- b) the remedy which has been offered, if any; and
- c) the Department/Agency Head to whom a third step grievance must be submitted.
21.10 Grievance – Third Step of
21.10.1 Grievance – Third Step – Timing
To advance the grievance to the third step of the grievance procedure, the grievant shall, within seven (7) County business days after receiving the second step response, submit the grievance in writing to the department/agency head indicated in the second step response, with a copy to the Human Resources Employee & Labor Relations Manager and the Union. The third step grievance shall include the reasons why any proposed remedy offered at the second step was not satisfactory.
21.10.2 Grievance – Third Step – Response To
Within five (5) County business days after receiving the third step grievance, the department/agency head or the head’s designated representative shall schedule a meeting with the grievant(s). Either party may request that a Human Resources representative participate in the meeting. At the meeting they shall thoroughly discuss the grievance. The department/agency head shall give their decision within fifteen (15) County business days after the discussion and send a copy of the decision to the Human Resources Employee & Labor Relations Manager and the Union.
When a grievance is not resolved at the second step and is advanced to the third step, the department head or designated representative may request in writing additional time for the purpose of working on a resolution. Extension of this deadline shall be permitted only upon mutual agreement of both parties.
21.11.1 Mediation – Mutual Agreement
Prior to an arbitration hearing, the parties, by mutual agreement, may request the assistance of a mediator from the State Conciliation Service in an attempt to resolve the grievance. The mediator shall have no authority to resolve the grievance except by agreement of the County and the Union. In the event the grievance is not resolved, neither stipulations, admissions, settlement proposals nor concessions agreed to or offered during mediation shall be admissible at a subsequent hearing.
21.11.2 Mediation – Alternative Methods To
The parties may also mutually agree to alternative methods of resolving grievances, including but not limited to informal hearings, and/or an ad hoc Board of Adjustment proceeding.
21.12 Arbitration of Grievance
21.12.1 Arbitrability Of Grievance
Grievances directly and primarily involving the application, alleged violation, or interpretation of this Memorandum, except as otherwise provided in this Memorandum, are arbitrable. If a grievance is submitted to arbitration by the Union, neither offer for settlement nor concessions for settlement made during the grievance procedure shall be admissible in arbitration.
21.12.2 Arbitration – Timing Of
Following completion of the Third Step of the grievance procedure provided herein, if the grievance is subject to arbitration and remains unresolved, the Union on behalf of the grievant may request arbitration. The request for arbitration must be written and given to the County Counsel and the Employee Relations Manager, in writing, within fifteen (15) days of the receipt of the Step Three response.
The moving party shall, within thirty (30) days of submitting a written request for arbitration, begin the process for selecting an arbitrator and scheduling a hearing date. An extension of the thirty (30)-day timeline must be requested in writing by either party and agreed upon by both parties. Failure to comply with the timelines set forth in this section or other timeline mutually agreed upon by the parties shall immediately terminate the grievance and all rights provided under the grievance procedure.
21.12.3 Arbitration – Selection Of Arbitrator
An arbitrator may be selected by mutual agreement of the County and the Union.
21.12.4 Arbitration Panel – Selection Of Arbitrator
If the County and the Union are unable to reach a mutual agreement on the selection of an arbitrator within 24 calendar days from the date the request for arbitration is submitted to County Counsel and the Employee Relations Manager (Section 21.12.2), the parties shall submit a request to the California State Conciliation Service for a list of eleven (11) qualified arbitrators. The parties shall select the arbitrator by alternately striking names with the first strike determined by chance.
21.12.5 Arbitration – Submission Statement
The parties shall, 30 days following the receipt of a written request for arbitration, exchange in writing their understanding of the question or questions submitted for arbitration. Thereafter, the parties to the arbitration shall use their best efforts to exchange a written summary of the evidence they intend to offer and to reach agreement on and reduce to writing the question or questions submitted for arbitration. The agreed question or questions, if agreement is reached, together with the exchanged summaries of evidence and a list of witnesses to be used by each side, shall be submitted to each other and the arbitrator five (5) days prior to the arbitration hearing.
21.12.6 Arbitration – Scope of Arbitration
The decision and award of the arbitrator shall be made solely upon the evidence and arguments presented to the arbitrator by the respective parties.
The arbitrator shall not add to, detract from, or modify the language of the collective bargaining agreement or modify the language of departmental rules and regulations in considering any issue properly before them.
The arbitrator’s award shall be limited to the precise issues raised by the grievance and submitted by the parties. The arbitrator shall have no authority to consider any other issue not submitted by the parties.
Any arbitrator’s monetary award in favor of the grievant shall be limited to up to a maximum amount of $100,000 measured from the initiation date described in Section 21.4.
The arbitrator’s award shall be final and binding to the extent permitted by law.
21.12.7 Arbitration – Arbitrator's Decision
Unless the parties agree otherwise, the arbitrator shall render the decision in writing within 30 days following the hearing. The decision of the arbitrator is final. If requested by either party, the decision shall be accompanied by findings of fact and conclusions of law.
21.12.8 Arbitration – Expenses
The cost of employing the arbitrator shall be borne equally by the parties to the arbitration. All other costs such as, but not limited to, attorneys’ fees and witness fees shall be borne only by the party incurring that cost.
21.13 Grievance – Non-Retaliation
Employees who file a grievance or who participate in a grievance procedure shall be free from harassment or retaliation as a result of filing or participating in a grievance.
21.14 Grievance – Maintenance of Performance Standards By Grievant
Employees who file a grievance are in no manner excused or exempt from performance standards of the job. Job performance standards will be maintained throughout and following any action undertaken as a result of this grievance procedure.