Section 1. A grievance is a claim by an individual GA, a group of GAs or the Union that the University has violated a specific term of this Agreement. Grievances shall be processed according to this Article.

Section 2. The parties support the resolution of problems at the lowest possible level and, therefore, encourage informal discussions to resolve problems without the grievance procedure. The GA, and a Union representative if the GA so desires, shall discuss the grievance with the GA’s immediate supervisor at the time of the occurrence or at the time the employee learns of the occurrence in an effort to resolve the grievance. The University and the Union may agree to bypass this step or to have the informal discussion with another supervisor. Requests to waive the informal step shall not be unreasonably denied. Resolutions from pre-grievance discussions, although final, shall not be precedential.

Section 3. Step 1. If the grievance is not resolved through such discussion, it must be reduced to writing, dated, and presented to the department head (or dean for non-departmentalized schools) within thirty (30) calendar days after the event or after the grievant becomes aware of the event giving rise to the grievance. The written grievance must describe the claimed contract violation and identify the provision of the Agreement allegedly violated. If requested, the department head will meet with the grievant and the union representative. The department head shall provide a written response to the grievance within fifteen (15) calendar days following receipt of the grievance.

Section 4. Step 2. If the grievance is not resolved at Step 1, the grievant may within ten (10) days appeal to the Dean of the Graduate School. The grievant, representatives of the Union and the Dean of the Graduate School or designee and University’s representatives will meet within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of such appeal in an attempt to resolve the grievance. The department head may attend the meeting. If the matter is not resolved, the Dean of the Graduate School or designee will provide a written decision on the grievance within fifteen (15) calendar days of the meeting.

Section 5. Step 3. Arbitration:

1. If the grievance is not resolved at Step 2, the Union may, within twenty-one (21) calendar days from receipt of the written step 2 decision, appeal the decision to arbitration. The request for arbitration shall be filed simultaneously with the University and the American Arbitration Association.

2. The labor arbitration rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) shall apply to the arbitration. The parties may select an arbitrator by mutual agreement or pursuant to the AAA rules. Subsequent to the effective date of the contract, the parties will endeavor to mutually agree on a panel of arbitrators. The arbitrator shall issue a decision within thirty (30) days of the hearing. The parties agree that any decision issued within sixty (60) days of the hearing shall be valid. By mutual written agreement, the parties may extend this time limit.

3. The expense of such arbitration (cost of meeting room, if any, arbitrator’s fee and expenses, and transcript cost, if any) shall be split equally between the parties.

4. The parties shall make reasonable efforts to schedule arbitration hearings promptly and, where feasible, within thirty (30) calendar days of the appeal to arbitration.

Section 6. In rendering a decision, the arbitrator shall be governed and limited by the provisions of this Agreement. The arbitrator shall have no authority to add to, subtract from, or modify this Agreement, or to decide matters outside the issue submitted to arbitration. In disciplinary cases, the remedy available to the arbitrator shall not exceed making the GA whole for the remainder of the GA’s appointment period. The decision of the arbitrator shall be final and binding subject to statutory provisions.

Section 7. Failure at any step of this grievance procedure to appeal a decision within the specified time limits shall be considered acceptance by the GA and/or Union of the decision rendered and such decision shall be binding upon the GA and/or Union. Failure of the University to respond to any grievance during the time limits specified at any steps shall allow the member and/or Union to proceed to the next step. By mutual written agreement, the parties may extend the time limits in this Article.

Section 8. Only the Union may appeal denial of a grievance to arbitration.

Section 9. While final with respect to the matter itself, resolutions pursuant to Step 1 or Step 2 shall not constitute a precedent for any purpose.