How the Grievance Process Works

Below are frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) on how to file a complaint through the Union and how the grievance process works.  Please see Article 12 of the Agreement for the complete grievance procedure.

What is a grievance?

A grievance is a written statement by a worker, or by the Union on behalf of a worker, alleging that he or she has been directly wronged by the District.  It’s a grievance if the district did something that:

  • violated a provision of the Agreement
  • violated a company policy or rule
  • violated a past practice, or
  • treated a member or grievant differently than other members in the same situation or with similar problems.

For example, failure to be compensated for overtime work, as specified by the Agreement,  is a grievable offense. ACE would NOT be able to file a grievance in situations of complaints against co-workers or your manager for giving you a poor evaluation.

Who may file a grievance?

A grievance may be filed by any worker who, at the time of filing, is a member of the bargaining unit or by a Union representative who has been authorized to file the grievance on behalf of the grievant or the Union. Service fee and full dues paying members are eligible to file a grievance.

If I think I have a grievance, what should I do first?

If you believe there is a violation, you must contact your steward before any action can take place.  We understand that people can be reluctant to step forward for fear of retaliation by their manager or the District, but ACE can not take any action unless a member informs us and files a complaint.  ACE can not file a complaint on behalf of a member without the member’s knowledge.  If ACE is aware of a violation, and no worker is involved or willing, the steward may file a grievance on behalf of the Union in defense of our Agreement.

How long do I have to file a grievance?

The grievance must be filed within 30 working days after the grievant discovered or reasonably could have discovered the circumstances or actions giving rise to the grievance. Informal attempts at resolution must take place within the 30 working day period before filing the grievance, provided, however, that if attempts at informal resolution require further discussion, the timeline for filing a formal grievance by be extended by mutual written agreement of the parties.

How do I initiate a grievance?

  1. Contact your steward and fill out the ACE Request for Representation form.
  2. The steward will investigate your complaint to determine if there is a grievance.  This can include interviewing immediate supervisors, co-workers and/or any other personnel involved in the complaint.
  3. If the investigation reveals there is a violation, the steward will call a meeting with the steward, the worker and the supervisor to try and resolve the issue informally.
  4. If the issue is not resolved, ACE will file a formal complaint at the request of the affected member.
  5. Once the formal grievance has been filed, District Human Resources must respond in writing within ten (10) working days.
  6. A first level review is held between Human Resources, the supervisor, the steward, the member, and potentially ACE’s attorney, in an effort to resolve the issue.
  7. If the issue remains unresolved after the first level of review, ACE has ten (10) working days to file a second level review with the district.  The district has ten (10) working days to render a written decision.
  8. If there is still a disagreement, and upon approval from the ACE Board of Trustees, ACE will go to a hearing or arbitration, where an impartial 3rd party will determine the outcome of the grievance.  The request for arbitration must be filed with the Director of Human Resources within ten (10) working days following the date of the decision of the second level review.