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initiates a formal action under the applicable statutory procedure, or timely files a grievance in writing in accordance with a negotiated procedure, whichever event occurs first.

5. APPLICATION:  A grievance may be undertaken by the Union, the Employer, an employee, or a group of employees.  Only the Union may represent employees in such grievances. However, any employee, or group of employees, may personally present a grievance and have it adjusted without representation by the Union, provided that the Union will be given the opportunity to be represented in all the discussions in the grievance process.  Any adjustment of the grievance must be consistent with the terms of this Agreement.  Employees who choose the Union as the representative are individually and collectively bound by the actions and decisions of the representative.

6. INFORMAL PROCEDURE:

a.  An employee may present orally or in writing a matter of dissatisfaction with the immediate supervisor, or with the lowest level official who can adjust the grievance, within 30 days of an act or occurrence, or the date the employee was aware or reasonably should have been aware of the act or occurrence. The immediate supervisor may extend this time limit for good cause.

b.  The immediate supervisor shall investigate, and, if necessary, discuss the matter with higher levels of Management, and interview witnesses, or any other persons having knowledge of the pertinent facts relating to the incident or matter of concern. Within 15 days of the employee's presentation, the supervisor shall then render a decision and take appropriate action. The decision will be rendered orally if the grievance was presented orally or in writing if presented in writing. The grievant, if still dissatisfied, or if no decision is given within the 15 day limit, shall have the right to proceed in filing a Formal Grievance.

c.  Supervisors and employees shall make every effort to resolve the problem or correct any misunderstanding at the lowest level possible.

7. FORMAL PROCEDURE: If the matter causing dissatisfaction has not been resolved under the Informal Procedure, the grievant shall within 15 days of the informal decision or the expiration of the decision period file a Formal Grievance in accordance with the steps set forth in the following paragraphs. Failure to meet this time limit waives the right to grieve.

a.  Step 1:

A written grievance normally should be filed at the lowest Management level that has the authority to resolve the matter.  However, when the lowest level is with the employee’s first level supervisor, the written grievance may be filed at the employee’s second level.  In this instance, the second level supervisor will obtain the written response of the first level supervisor for consideration in responding to the grievance. The employee's written presentation must identify matters and issues which form the basis of the grievance and the personal relief sought, and state the specific agreement provision, law, rule or regulation alleged to have been violated. Within 15 days from receipt of the grievance, or the date of the meeting held in accordance with (g) below, whichever is later, the supervisor will issue a decision in writing, granting, modifying, or denying the relief requested. The decision will advise the employee of the name and location of the Step 2 official with whom to proceed if necessary.

b.   Step 2:

The employee may appeal to the Step 2 official (Regional or Office Director, or appropriate management official) using the Step 1 format within 15 days after the Step 1 decision was or should have been issued, or the employee may request grievance mediation in accordance with Article 21. If the Step 1 official is the Regional or Office Director, the Step 2 Deciding Official will be the management official next in the chain of command. The Step 2 official will not be the DAS for CA/PPT, unless the Managing Director was the responding management official at Step 1. Copies of the original Step 1 grievance and the written answer to the grievance will be given to the Step 2 deciding official. Failure by the Union or employee to file a timely appeal automatically terminates the grievance. Within 15 days from receipt of the grievance, or the date of the meeting held in accordance with (g) below, whichever is later, the Step 2 official will issue a decision in writing to the employee granting, modifying, or denying the relief requested. The decision will advise the employee of the name and location of the Step 3 official with whom to proceed, if necessary.

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