FAQ - Grievances
What constitutes a grievable issue and who can file a grievance?
An employee who disagrees with his or her supervisors as to the interpretation or application of the terms of a supplementary agreement, or as to the application of a policy to him/her as an employee may file a grievance. The employee may file a grievance or through the union recognized as the representative of the position the employee holds. (In this supplementary agreement, the term “employee” includes the union acting in behalf of an employee or group of employees.)
Are there circumstances in which a grievance can’t be filed?
A grievance may not be filed to change the substance or content of any negotiated policy, standard, or procedure contained in the supplementary agreements. Changes in these are made through negotiations. In addition, a grievance may not be filed to challenge TVA’s unilateral establishment, revision, or elimination of any policy, standard, or procedure nor the substance or content thereof.
Should an employee discuss their complaint with their supervisor prior to filing a grievance?
In all grievances except selection, suspension, or termination, the employee, prior to filing a grievance, should discuss the complaint with supervisor responsible for the action in an effort to resolve the problem. The responsible supervisor is the supervisor who is in fact responsible and not a supervisor who carried out instructions given by someone else.
The immediate supervisor (i.e., the lowest-level manager to whom the employee reports) names the responsible supervisor to the employee at the employee’s request.
How is a grievance filed by an employee and what are the time limits for filing a grievance?
A grievance is filed by submitting a completed grievance form to the responsible department supervisor. In selection cases, the grievance form is filed with the manager responsible for the selection.
This form must be filed within 30 calendar days after the employee learns of the action or proposed action and, except for grievances, challenging a termination, suspension, demotion, or warning letter, the employee should indicate on the grievance form the specific provision of a supplementary agreement or other policy, procedure, or standard that the employee believes has been incorrectly applied to him or her.
What happens after the grievance is filed? What is the process and timeline?
Upon receipt of the grievance, the supervisor distributes the completed grievance form without delay. The vice president or his/her designated representative has 15 calendar days from receipt of the grievance form in which to effect a resolution or render a decision. The vice president or his/her designated representative records the decision or the terms of the resolution on the grievance form. Copies of this are given to the aggrieved employee, the central office of the EA, and the Manager of Labor Relations.
If the vice president or his/her designated representative denies the employees grievance then the EA will submit the decision to a Grievance Review Committee (consisting of members selected by the Association President) to review the conditions surrounding the grieved action to determine whether the Association should support an appeal of the grievance.
If the Grievance Review Committee supports the grievance then the decision of the vice president or his/her designated representative may be appealed to the Manger of Labor Relations in writing with a copy to the organization. The must be done within 15 calendar days after the union (or “employee” if not being represented in the grievance by the union) receives the decision as provided for in S-11:B.
Within 30 days of receipt of the appeal, the Manager of Labor Relations or his/her designated representative will call a conference within 60 calendar days of the interested parties of management and of the employee for the purpose of seeking mediation of the grievance, considering additional information or clarifying the issue or facts. Absent a mediation resolution, the Manager of Labor Relations or his/her designated representative renders a written decision within 15 calendar days after the conference is complete. Copies are sent to the employee and the central office of the EA.
If the Manager of Labor Relations or his/her designated representative denies the grievances in the written decision, an Arbitration Review Board (ARB) consisting of three members of the Executive Committee) will examine the hearing record and recommend to the Association Office whether the case should be appealed to arbitration.
Upon receiving an unfavorable decision and provided the EA supports appealing the grievance to Arbitration, the EA has 20 days from receipt of the decision from the Manager of Labor Relations or his/her designated representative to appeal the decision to an outside independent third-party (Arbitrator).
TVA and the EA agree to schedule and hold the arbitration hearing date within 120 calendar days from the date of EA notification to TVA of intent to arbitrate.
What if the employee has filed an appeal under another procedure such as EEOC over the same issue?
If an appeal or formal complaint with respect to an action, matter, or proposed action is or has been filed under separate procedure provided by law or federal regulation, a grievance regarding such action, matter, or proposed action will not be considered or, if in process, will not be further considered or decided under the TVA-EA Agreement.
Who represents me in the grievance hearing?
An employee may represent him/herself or may have the EA represent him/her in presenting a request or complaint or in handling a grievance. If the employee represents him/herself, and if the grievance is appealed beyond the responsible supervisor, TVA informs the central office of the EA. The union may have its representatives attend all conferences.
The EA has a professional staff that has handled thousands of grievances over the years on behalf of EA represented employees.