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Know Your Contract: Grievances (The Red Branch)

Broadly defined, the NCCFT Executive Committee’s primary responsibility is to defend our contract. That defense will take different forms in different contexts. One of the most important is the grievance procedure, which is outlined in Section 19 of our collective bargaining agreement. Section 19 states that you can file a grievance on your own behalf. However, if we agree that a violation has occurred, we will file the grievance for you. For that reason, it’s very important to understand what a grievance is and what it is not.

Simply put, a grievance is a dispute as to whether or not a contract violation has occurred. It is not a violation of committee, departmental, or Academic Senate bylaws, or any other policy or procedure that does not appear in the contract’s language. The grievance procedure has four steps, of increasing complexity and finality, to allow us to address a range of issues in the most appropriate way. 

  • Stage 1: An informal process that allows the parties to the grievance to resolve their differences between or among themselves. While this stage is informal, it does establish a written record of the grievance that will become important at Stage 2 or beyond.
  • Stage 2: If the parties cannot resolve their differences informally, the grievance proceeds to Step 2: the grievance is forwarded to the college president. During this stage, the college president can assign a designee to investigate the grievance and render a decision.
  • Stage 3: If the decision reached by the college president or designee is unacceptable, the grievance can be forwarded to the Grievance Board for mediation. The goal at this stage is to find a compromise resolution to which all parties can agree.
  • Stage 4: Finally, if the grievance cannot be mediated, the college or the NCCFT (but not the grievant) can take the case to binding arbitration. The arbitrator’s decision will be binding on all parties, though he or she cannot make a decision that violates or changes the terms of our contract or that violates the law.

We encourage you to read through Section 19 of our contract to familiarize yourself with its details. If you believe you have been subject to a contract violation, contact the NCCFT office first. A member of the Executive Committee will discuss your situation with you in detail and help you figure out what your next best steps would be.

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