The Grievance Process
More information about the grievance process can be found in the ETA 2015-2018 Contract Article 2.
Generally, best practice dictactes the sequence of discipline should follow the following pattern:
- Oral counseling (or warning)
- Verbal warning or reprimand (with notation in personal file)
- Written warning or reprimand
- Suspension or disciplinary layoff
What is a grievance?
By Article 2, Section 1 of the ETA contract:
"A "grievance" is a claim based upon an event or condition which involves the interpretation, meaning or application of any of the provisions of this contract or any subsequent contract entered into pursuant to this contract. The term "grievance" shall not apply to any matter as to which the School Committee is without authority to act."
In layman's terms, its a formal complement of regarding the interpretation, meaning or application of the contract.
When can i file a grievance?
If you believe that your contractual rights have been violated, you need to seek out a union representative. This representative will help evaluate the situation and seek guidance for the Executive Board. If deemed necessary, the Executive Board will file a grievance on your behalf.
What is a class action grievance?
A class action grievance is a grievance filed on behalf of multiple members. These grievances are submitted directly to the Superintendent.
What is the Process?
Most grievance start at a Level 1. The ETA Executive Board has 15 school days to submit the grievance to administration. At this level, the grievance is submitted to the supervisor or principal responsible for the action. A conference is held where the grievance is presented. The supervisor or principal has 5 school days to respond after the conference.
If the grievance is not resolved at Level 1, it is escalated to Level 2. The ETA has 5 school days to submit their appeal in writing to the Superintendent. Within 10 school days, the Superintendent then holds a meeting with the aggrieved employee and the ETA. The Superintendent has 10 school days after the conference to communicate his decision in writing to the employee and the ETA.
If the grievance is not resolved at Level 2, it is escalated to Level 3. The ETA may appeal the decision to the School Committee within 10 schools days of the Level 2 decision. A meeting will be held within two school committee meetings, typically one every other Monday, but no more than 30 days. The aggrieved employee, ETA and/or his/her counsel will be heard by the School Committee. The School Committee must notified the employee and the ETA within 5 school days.
If after 25 days, the matter has not been resolved, the ETA has 10 days to appeal the decision. This is considered a Level 4 grievance, also known as arbitration. The grievance is then submitted to the Board of Conciliation and Arbitration established under Chapter 150 of the General Laws of Massachusetts. This decision is final and binding on the School Committee, the ETA, and the aggrieved employee.
What happens if the time line is not followed?
If a grievance has not been answered in the allotted time frame, the ETA may escalate to the next level of the grievance procedure.
Will I get into trouble for filing a grievance?
No! There should be no fear in submitting a grievance. Filing a grievance is your legal right.