The parties agree to use their best efforts to encourage the informal and prompt settlement of complaints and grievances which may arise between the PSC, the employees, and the University. The orderly processes hereinafter set forth will be the sole method used for the resolution of all complaints and grievances.
A complaint is an informal claim by an employee in the bargaining unit or by the PSC of improper, unfair, arbitrary or discriminatory treatment.
A complaint may, but need not, constitute a grievance. Complaints shall be processed through the informal procedure herein set forth.
A grievance is an allegation by an employee or the PSC that there has been:
1. a breach, misinterpretation or improper application of a term of this Agreement; or
2. an arbitrary or discriminatory application of, or a failure to act pursuant to the Bylaws and written policies of the Board related to the terms and conditions of employment.
20.3 Informal Procedure for Handling Complaints:
Any employee in the bargaining unit may present and discuss his or her complaint either with or without a representative of the PSC. Similarly, a representative of the PSC may present and discuss a complaint on behalf of any employee or group of employees with the head of the department involved. This presentation and discussion shall be entirely informal. Any settlement, withdrawal or disposition of a complaint at this informal stage shall not constitute a binding precedent in the settlement of similar complaints or grievances.
20.4 Formal Procedure for Handling Grievances:
Grievances may be filed by an employee in the bargaining unit on his or her behalf, by the PSC on its behalf, or by the PSC on behalf of any employee or group of employees in the bargaining unit. Grievances involving employees in more than one College of the University may be filed by the PSC initially at Step 2 of the grievance procedure.
Except in the case of a grievance or arbitration brought by the PSC on its own behalf or on behalf of an employee or a group of employees, no member of this unit may represent another member of this unit at any level of the grievance or arbitration procedure.
A grievance must be filed by an employee or the PSC within thirty (30) days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, after the PSC or the employee on whose behalf the grievance is filed became aware of the action complained of, except that grievances relating to reappointment or to appointment with a certificate of continuous employment shall be filed within thirty (30) days excluding Saturdays, Sundays, or legal holidays of the individual’s scheduled date of notification as specified by Articles 10 and 13 of the Agreement. Any grievance or informal complaint not processed in accordance with the time limits specified herein shall be deemed waived by the grievant.
A grievance must be stated in writing setting forth the basis therefor with reasonable particularity, including a designation of the Article of the Agreement, the Section of the Bylaws, or the written policy of the Board relied upon, and the remedy requested.
Step 1. Grievances shall be filed with the President of the College affected or the President’s designee. The President or the designee shall, within fifteen (15) days excluding Saturdays, Sundays, or legal holidays, of the receipt of the grievance, meet with the grievant and a representative of the PSC for the purpose of discussing the grievance. The President or the designee shall, within fifteen (15) days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, or legal holidays, after the grievance meeting, issue a decision with reasons in writing to the grievant and the PSC.
Step 2. If the grievance has not been settled at Step 1, then within twenty (20) days, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, after receipt of the written decision of the President of the College or the President’s designee, or the expiration of the time limits for making such decision, the grievant or the PSC may submit the grievance in writing to the Chancellor or the Chancellor’s designee, together with a copy of the decision of the President of the College affected, or the designee. The Chancellor or the Chancellor’s designee shall, within twenty (20) days, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, or legal holidays, of the receipt of the grievance, meet with the grievant and a representative of the PSC for the purpose of discussing the grievance. In the event the Step I decision was not received by the PSC at least fifteen (15) calendar days prior to the scheduled Step 2 meeting, the Chancellor or his/her designee shall, upon request by the PSC, direct the College to present its arguments first at the Step 2 meeting and shall grant the PSC, upon its request, an adjournment of no greater than fifteen (15) calendar days for the presentation of the grievance at Step 2. It is understood that nothing herein shifts the burden of proof with respect to the allegations contained in the grievance. The Chancellor or the designee shall, within twenty (20) days, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, or legal holidays, after the grievance meeting, mail the disposition with reasons in writing to the PSC and to the grievant or grievants affected by certified mail, return receipt requested.
Step 3. If the grievance has not earlier been settled, or if the Chancellor’s disposition has not been issued within the time limits above set forth, the person or persons who submitted the grievance at Step 2 may appeal the Step 2 decision to arbitration by serving written notice to that effect by certified mail, return receipt requested, directed to the Chancellor or the Chancellor’s designee and to the American Arbitration Association (hereinafter “AAA”) within twenty (20) days, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, or legal holidays, after mailing of the Step 2 decision, or the last date for the mailing thereof. Arbitration shall be conducted in accordance with the rules of the American Arbitration Association and the laws of the State of New York, subject to the provisions of paragraph 20.5 hereof. Legal holidays referred to above shall be those holidays so designated by the State of New York.
20.5 Special Arbitration Provisions:
(a) Effective with the start of the 2016-2017 academic year, the parties shall mutually agree on a panel of arbitrators. An arbitrator from the panel shall be designated to serve in any case submitted to arbitration in accordance with this Section. The designation of the arbitrator to be assigned in a particular case shall be made by the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) or by such other method as agreed to by the parties to the collective bargaining agreement. Such designation shall be made in rotation order for cases submitted for arbitration in accordance with this Section. The arbitrator shall be authorized at any time during the course of the proceedings, on the basis of the proceedings to date, to issue preliminary or interim awards, including awards as to arbitrability, which shall determine the further course of the proceedings.12
(b) For purposes of this sub‑paragraph, “academic judgment” shall mean the judgment of academic authorities including faculty, as defined by the Bylaws, and the Board (1) as to the procedures, criteria and information to be used in making determinations as to appointment, reappointment, promotions, and tenure and (2) as to whether to recommend or grant appointment, reappointment, promotions and tenure to a particular individual on the basis of such procedures, criteria and information. In the arbitration of any grievance or action based in whole or in part upon such academic judgment, the Arbitrator shall not review the merits of the academic judgment or substitute his or her own judgment therefor, provided that the Arbitrator may determine (i) that the action violates a term of this agreement or (ii) that it is not in accordance with the Bylaws or written policies of the Board, or (iii) that the claimed academic judgment in respect of the appointment, reappointment, promotion or tenure of a particular individual in fact constituted an arbitrary or discriminatory application of the Bylaws or written policies of the Board.
(c) 1. In cases involving the failure to appoint, promote or reappoint an employee in which the Arbitrator sustains the grievance, except as specifically provided by sub‑paragraph (d) below, the Arbitrator shall not, in any case, direct that a promotion, appointment or reappointment with or without tenure be made, but upon his or her finding that there is a likelihood that a fair academic judgment may not be made on remand if normal academic procedures are followed, the Arbitrator shall remand the matter to a select faculty committee of three tenured full or associate professors of The City University of New York, to be selected from a panel jointly chosen by the Chancellor and the President of the PSC of, when possible, 100 tenured full or associate professors, or in a case involving members of the non‑classroom instructional staff, from a panel of, when possible, 40 Higher Education Officers, Higher Education Associates, Registrars, Associate Registrars, Chief CLTs and Senior CLTs. The composition of the said panel shall be subject to review and/or replacement annually. Members of a select faculty committee selected to serve on said committee following the adoption of the 2017-2023 Agreement by the Board of Trustees shall receive a $600 stipend for their service.13 The University shall pay $300 and the PSC shall pay $300 to each select faculty committee member following receipt of the committee’s decision.
The selection of the members of a select faculty committee shall be made in the following manner: The Chancellor shall submit to the PSC the names of 4 persons from the panel established pursuant to paragraph 20.5.c.1 to serve on the committee. The PSC may reject one name. In the event the PSC does not reject one name the Chancellor shall select the 3 persons to serve on the committee.
The committee to whom such remand is made for the making of the academic judgment shall (1) have access to the same materials to which the College President had access with respect to the action from which the grievance arose, except as modified by the arbitrator’s award, (2) shall meet to deliberate on the assigned case, (3) be subject to the regular rules of confidentiality of faculty proceedings, and (4) shall be constituted within a reasonable time after the Arbitrator’s Award is rendered and shall render its decision within twenty (20) days thereafter. The authority of the committee is limited to rendering the academic judgment on the action from which the grievance arose. The committee recommendation shall be in conformity with the Bylaws and policies of the Board and with the Agreement. The recommendation of the committee shall be in the form:
“The committee recommends (does not recommend)
(a) appointment, (b) reappointment or (c) promotion”
The committee shall not make recommendations as to any other matter, including but not limited to period of employment or compensation or other benefit of employment.
On receipt of a positive decision which conforms with this Agreement, the Chancellor shall recommend approval of the select committee decision to the Board of Trustees. In the event that the committee decision does not conform with the Agreement, the committee shall be disbanded and a new committee established. The deliberations and decision of the select committee shall not be grievable.
2. In cases which arise from actions on reappointment with tenure or a CCE or promotion, the grievant who has been awarded retroactive tenure, CCE or promotion as a result of the recommendation of a select faculty committee adopted by The Board shall receive the salary exclusive of fringe benefits which would have been payable from the effective date of the tenure, CCE or promotion less any amounts earned and other legal offsets attributable to the period between the date of tenure, CCE or promotion and the effective date of the implementation of the remedy.
In cases which arise from actions on reappointment for a prescribed period of time, and the grievant is reappointed as a result of the recommendation of a select faculty committee adopted by The Board, the sole remedy shall consist of reappointment for a prospective equivalent period of time.
Grievances which arise from action on reappointments with tenure, CCE, Certificate of Continual Administrative Service or promotion shall be given priority in processing in the grievance procedure including scheduling for arbitration.
(d) 1. In cases involving the failure to reappoint an employee in which the arbitrator sustains the grievance upon a finding of a failure to comply with, or an arbitrary or discriminatory application of, procedures such that no academic judgment could have been made with respect to the reappointment of such employee, and a further period of service is necessary to correct the failure to comply with, or the arbitrary or discriminatory use of, procedure, the arbitrator may recommend the prospective reappointment of such employee for a period not to exceed one academic year. The Board shall appoint the employee in accordance with the arbitrator’s recommendation. In no event shall such reappointment confer or result in the granting of tenure, a certificate of continuous employment, or a multiple‑year appointment.
2. If an employee who has been appointed upon an arbitrator’s recommendation is thereafter reappointed pursuant to established procedures for the next academic year in a tenure or certificate‑bearing title, or in a multiple-year reappointment situation, the service pursuant to the appointment recommended by the arbitrator shall be counted as service toward tenure or a certificate of continuous employment, or a multiple-year appointment, as the case may be.
20.6 In no event shall the Arbitrator have authority to add to, subtract from, modify or amend the provisions of this Agreement or the Bylaws of the Board. Such decision or award shall be binding upon the PSC, the University and the employees affected thereby. The costs of arbitration shall be borne equally by the parties. When arbitrations are not initiated by the PSC, the American Arbitration Association shall require the employee or employees submitting the same to file with the Association adequate security to pay the cost of arbitration. Expenses for witnesses, however, shall be borne by the party who calls them.
20.7 A grievance filed by the PSC pursuant to this article may be resolved by settlement only if agreed to in writing by the Office of Labor Relations and by the PSC Central Office.
12For the special arbitration provisions preceding the 2016-2017 academic year, see section 20.5 (a) of the 2007-2010 collective bargaining agreement.
13The Board of Trustees adopted the Agreement on December 16, 2019.