The Parties agree to establish two procedures. The first is grievance/mediation, which is a non-binding effort on the part of the Parties to settle issues that were not settled at the informal and first step of the negotiated grievance procedure. The second is a Departmental procedure that this Agreement adopts for interpersonal disputes as described below.
An employee may elect to have a grievance resolved through grievance/mediation by making a request to the Regional Director or other equivalent Management Official in lieu of submitting the grievance to the second step. Any decision reached through mediation must not violate provisions of this Agreement or any existing personnel policy, practice, or procedure.
The parties agree to the use of the services of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). The process will be used as a non-binding attempt at dispute resolution before the invocation of the second step grievance.
a. Each grievance/dispute will be dealt with on an individual basis.
b. The grievant requesting the use of mediation will submit the request within five (5) workdays after the receipt of the Step I decision.
c. The parties will jointly initiate a request within 5 workdays from receipt of the request for grievance/mediation from the grievant.
d. The Parties agree to cooperate with the efforts of the FMCS. Cooperation does not imply agreement.
e. Any recommendations of the mediator shall not be used as evidence during any official, binding third party settlement, nor may they be used in any further grievance proceeding.
f. The use of the mediation process will serve to suspend the time parameters for invoking the second step grievance or arbitration until one or both parties decide the mediation process has not been successful. Success is defined by the Parties reaching an agreement that resolves the dispute.
g. If the grievant and/the parties agree that the mediation has failed to resolve the dispute, the suspension of the grievance and arbitration time frames will be discontinued and the grievant may proceed to the Step 2 level.
a. For the purpose of this Agreement, the Department of State’s Alternate Dispute Resolution Program covers interpersonal disputes and not issues where established policies, procedure, regulations or this agreement is alleged to be violated by one of the parties.
b. Where both parties agree to use this plan, the request will be referred to the Labor-Management Relations Office to ensure that the dispute is appropriate for ADR.
c. Use of this ADR process will suspend the time limits for invoking steps of the grievance procedure negotiated under this Agreement. When the Parties agree that the ADR has failed to resolve the dispute, or when either party declines to continue ADR efforts, the suspension of the grievance and arbitration time frames will be discontinued.