A grievance is defined as a dispute or difference between the parties of the contract concerning interpretation and/or application of the contract or its provisions. Note: suspensions as a result of Summary Punishment (SPAR) is not subject of a grievance, except as provided in Article 7.2.
There are four main categories of grievances, and each has specific filing deadlines outlined in Article 9 of the contract.
1) Contractual/"Standard" (Section 9.3 of the contract)
2) Psychological (Section 9.4 of the contract)
3) Medical (Section 9.5 of the contract)
4) Discipline/"Suspension" (Section 9.6 of the contract)
There are actions taken against officers by the Department that are unfair. Some actions violate Department Rules or even violate the law. However, just because something is unfair or even illegal, does not make it a grievance. Before filing a grievance, please read the contract to find out if a violation has in fact occurred. If still in doubt, consult with the Watch or Unit FOP Representative or call the Lodge office. Remember, other remedies exist for officers who have been wronged when the contract hasn’t been violated, such as civil suits, CR numbers, Labor Board Complaints, etc.
It makes the officer’s case stronger, and the grievance process move more expediently if the grievant can maintain any documents that support his/her cause, i.e., copies of time due slips, A&A sheets, etc., and submit these along with the grievance.
A grievance may be initiated by the Lodge or an aggrieved officer. Any officer shall have the right to present a grievance at any time, although it is understood that the officer should attempt to satisfy his concerns or resolve the issue on an informal basis before invoking the procedure. In the event an informal resolution proves to be unsatisfactory, a grievance may be filed in a form outline in the contract. Per section 9.12, the Lodge reserves the right to determine whether any grievance shall be advanced to arbitration.
Most units have a supply of grievance forms and a grievance logbook. Locate a form and the logbook and take the next number from the book. Complete the grievance form by filling in the applicable boxes. In the narrative portion, briefly state the facts and describe how the contract was violated.
(For Discipline grievances) In the event the grievance is for a recommendation of a suspension or discipline (other than a SPAR), then the following wording should be used for the narrative, (the wording can also be found in the annual FOP book).
“Grievant officer was suspended for (fill in number of days) as the result of CR # (fill in the Complaint Register Number). Grievant officer feels this is punishment without just cause. Grievant officer seeks to have pay/benefits restored, the suspension record expunged and the contract made whole.”
Once you have filed your grievance and submit it to your immediate supervisor, the supervisor will complete the center portion of the grievance form and will set forth his/her response within 7 calendar days. Generally, in suspension cases, the supervisor’s response is that it is beyond their scope of authority to resolve the grievance. In that case, the supervisor will note words to the effect, “Unable to resolve at this level.”
The Supervisor then must submit the completed form to the Unit CO who will also write a response to the grievance within 14 calendar days. The grievant receives the “Gold” copy and the remainder of the form is forwarded to the Management Labor and Affairs Section, who in turn will forward a written response to the FOP.
Finally, after the Lodge’s Grievance Committee conducts a review of the grievance package, and had determined that the grievance should be forwarded to the Arbitration process if the Lodge will contact the grievant/officer in writing with the status of the grievance.
If you should need assistance in filing your grievance, please call the F.O.P. office during business hours and ask to speak to any available Field Representative.