The employee may appeal to the Step 3 official (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services, or appropriate management official) using the Step I format within 30 days after the Step 2 decision was or should have been issued. Copies of the complete grievance file and the written answers to the grievance will be given to the Step 3 deciding official. Failure by the Union or employee to file a timely appeal automatically terminates the grievance. The Step 3 official will issue a final written decision granting, modifying, or denying the relief requested, so that the Union or employee will receive the decision within 30 days from the Employer’s receipt of the grievance.
d. If the grievance is not satisfactorily settled at Step 3, the Union may refer the matter to arbitration in accordance with Article 22 (Arbitration).
e. All time limits in the Article may be extended only by mutual written consent of the Parties.
f. At any stage of the grievance procedure, if the grievance is filed with an inappropriate management official or supervisor, the official will forward the grievance to the appropriate deciding official and promptly notify the grievant who the deciding official will be.
g. Upon written request, the Step 1 or Step 2 official, or designee, will discuss the grievance with the employee and/or representative within five (5) days of presentation of the grievance. The meeting will extend the time limit for the Employer's response by five (5) days.
h. At any step of the negotiated grievance procedure, when any management deciding official designates someone to act on his/her behalf, that designee will have complete authority to render a decision at that step and will render the decision. If the designee would be someone who decided the issue at any previous step, then the grievance may be elevated to the next higher level.
i. In the event either party should declare a grievance non‑grievable or non‑arbitrable, the original grievance shall be considered amended to include this issue. The Employer agrees to raise any question of grievability or arbitrability of a grievance no later than the time the Step 2 decision is given. However, the Employer may raise the non-grievability or non-arbitrability of a management right (as defined in 5 U.S.C. 7106(a)(1)) at any time.
j. Failure of the Employer to observe the time limits stated in this grievance procedure shall, at the election of the grievant, advance the grievance to the next Step.
k. Grievance decisions will be served directly upon the employee either by mail or in person with a copy to the Union representative. Proof of service shall be:
(1) A return post office receipt executed by the person served; or
(2) A written acknowledgment from the person served when hand delivered.
l. In all grievance decisions by either Party, the basis for any denial will be given.
a. In those instances where the Employer alleges that a Union official or representative has violated the Agreement or where the Union alleges that the Employer or the Employer's representative has violated the Agreement and has not been filed as an employee grievance and informal discussions with the person or persons giving rise to the alleged violation have failed to resolve the issue, the Employer or the grievant shall file a written grievance with the Union President or the Employer's representative within thirty (30) days of the alleged violation or within thirty (30) days of the date the Employer or the Union became aware of the alleged violation. The Union President and the Employer's representative will confer within fifteen (15) days in an attempt to resolve the grievance. The Union President or the Employer's representative shall investigate and shall render a written decision within ten (10) days.