A grievance is a complaint, a deviation or a misapplication of past practice involving a work situation that you believe violated: an article of the Union Contract, Trenton Board Policies and Rules, or (in some cases) state or federal laws.
Committee members: Janice Williams, Chair
- Talithea Duncan, Co-Chair
- Ronald Sanasac, Co-Chair
- Yetunde Araromi
The Association Grievance Committee (AGC) serves members when contract violations occur. Most Level One grievances may be handled by building level representatives or can be submitted to the AGC. Information of all Level One grievances shall be sent to the Grievance Committee by building level representatives or individual members.
To contact the Grievance Committee: Call the TEA office at: 609-396-0016 Ext. 13
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a Grievance? Grievance is a process used when there is a violation of the contract and the issue is not resolved.
How do I begin the grievance process? Your TEA Chief Building Representative or TEA Building Representative is the first person you should contact. They will then determine if they can solve the problem themselves or refer it to the Grievance Committee.
Then what happens? You should write or email the details of the problem to your grievance contact person. The grievance contact is the individual who will file a level one grievance on behalf of the member when it is determined that the member does have a grieve-able issue.
What do you mean, “grieve-able issue”? Remember that there is a distinct difference between a grievance and a building problem. A building problem is usually handled by that building’s representatives. Sometimes a building problem can lead to a grievance, but that is not always the case. Do not assume that because an issue was discussed that a grievance has been filed. Filing a grievance is the final step, not the first.
What happens when a grievance is filed? | Most grievances start at Level One to resolve the problem with the individual who can grant the remedy. If remedy is not granted it goes to Level Two – the Superintendent of Schools or designee will then review it and either agree that there has been a violation of the contract or not. If there is no remedy, then it goes to Level Three – Board member hearing. If there is no satisfactory remedy, we may then take it to Level Four – Arbitration. Further details of our grievance procedure can be found in the TEA contract, Article III, pages 7 – 14.
“Smile and File”
It’s only natural to be angry if your principal or supervisor orders you to do something that you know to be against the rules. It’s important to remember, however, that disobeying an order from your principal or supervisor— even if they’re wrong —is considered “insubordination” under the law. That’s why your rule of thumb in these situations is to “smile and file.” You should let your boss know that their order isn’t right, but go ahead and carry it out while documenting the problem. Then, as soon as you’re off the clock, talk to your delegate or contact the union to pursue the grievance process. You can’t stop your boss from doing the wrong thing once, but you can prevent them from ever doing it again!
Document, Document, Document
When you realize that there may be a problem with your work conditions or you have an interaction that you think is problematic, be sure to document the situation right away. You may send an email to yourself just to keep a note on file. You may also send an email to your administrator. When emailing your administrator, be sure to stick to facts. While the administrator might realize their error on reviewing your email or might rescind their erroneous order, you shouldn’t count on this email to resolve the problem and you definitely shouldn’t use it to vent. Instead, you might begin your email with a phrase like, “Dear [administrator]: I am just writing to ensure that I correctly understood our exchange at [the date and time]. When [event] happened, I heard you tell me [what they said],” etc. Make a detailed narrative. This may become formal evidence later, but at the very least you will ensure that the problem didn’t result from a misunderstanding.