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Employee Grievances Filed Under The Red Book

There are several types of grievances: employee grievances, union grievances, disciplinary/adverse action grievances, national grievances, regional grievances, and expedited grievances. Depending on the type of grievance filed, there are different deadlines and procedures that need to be followed, though there are some universal traits to all the grievances that may be filed. This Know Your Rights article will address employee-filed grievances.

An employee-filed grievance must be filed within 20 calendar days of the event giving rise to the grievance or when the employee knew or may have been reasonably expected to have learned about the event that caused the grievance. The grievance must contain:

  • the date of violation,
  • the date the grievance gets submitted,
  • the name of the grievant,
  • the name of the union representative,
  • the issues or subjects covered,
  • a statement of facts which describes the dispute,
  • the alleged contract provisions violated (this is not meant to be all inclusive),
  • the remedy sought,
  • whether the grievant wants a grievance meeting with management.

If desired, this last entitlement allows for an oral presentation before the grievance is answered. An employee can also request an extension on filing deadlines, either orally or in writing, but the extension should be granted in writing in order to prevent any claims by the Agency that no extension was granted. This is important because, if any deadline is missed, the FAA can claim that the issue is dead. However, if the FAA misses a response deadline, all that the employee/union can do is appeal the grievance to the next level. Management also must answer all grievances in writing with the reasons for the denial listed. However, if a grievance should settle, all settlement agreements must also be in writing. The rest of the details of the employee grievance process follow.

An employee grievance gets filed at step 1 of the grievance process and is filed with the employee’s immediate supervisor or any management official who is on duty. The official has to sign for the grievance if a signature is requested. A signature should be requested to make sure that a timely receipt of the grievance can be established. If a meeting is requested, the FAA has to meet within 10 days of the grievance filing. The Deciding Official then has 20 days from the grievance filing or the meeting in which to answer the grievance. If the FAA’s response is unacceptable, NATCA then has 20 calendar days to file an appeal at step 2.

When the grievance is pursued to step 2 it is filed at step 2 with the ATM, District Manager, Traffic Management Officer, or Manager of ATSCC. In cases where the ATM is the immediate supervisor, the step 2 official is the District Manager. The FAA has 20 days to answer. If the Union is unhappy with the step 2 decision, NATCA has 30 calendar days from the date of the decision or the date it was due to request arbitration or elect to use the pre-arbitration process (PAR). If the Union elects to use the PAR process, it goes to a decision maker for review in the hopes of resolution. If, after using the PAR process, resolution is not reached, NATCA has 30 calendar days from the date of the decision of the PAR in which to request arbitration. The process for deciding whether or not to arbitrate is found in NATCA’s Standing Rules (SRL-1) and is primarily based on the strength of the case and the likelihood of success.

All arbitration requests are sent from NATCA National via certified or signature receipt mail to the FAA’s Director of Labor and Employee Relations. Once an arbitration request is received, the contract provides that an arbitrator is to be chosen within 10 days. NATCA has 180 days to schedule a case or the remedy stops accruing. If the Union does not schedule the case within 360 days of the arbitration request, the grievance is considered withdrawn. However, if the Agency does not cooperate in scheduling the arbitration for 180 days, the grievance is deemed granted. Once a hearing occurs, a decision should be rendered within 30 days of the close of the record unless the parties agree otherwise.