Master Agreement Between the Government of the Province of Alberta and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees
Definitions and Scope
A grievance is a difference arising out of the interpretation, application, operation or any contravention or alleged contravention of this Agreement or as to whether any such difference can be the subject of arbitration. A grievance shall be categorized as follows:
An individual grievance is a difference affecting one (1) Employee. Such grievance shall be initiated at the appropriate level of the grievance procedure as outlined in clause 29.03;
A group grievance is a difference affecting two (2) or more Employees, seeking the same redress. Such grievance shall be initiated in the same manner as an individual grievance as outlined in Clause 29.03. A group grievance shall list all Employees included in the grievance; or
A policy grievance is a difference that seeks to enforce an obligation of the Employer to the Union or the Union or its members to the Employer. A policy grievance shall not be an obligation that may or could have been subject of a grievance by an Employee.
At each step of the Grievance Procedure, the Employer’s Representative and the Union Representative shall exchange all particulars known to them and related to the issue in dispute that would assist in resolving the grievance.
A grievance concerning the dismissal or termination of employment of a Probationary Employee may be subject to the Grievance Procedure except that it shall not be a subject of arbitration at Level 3.
A grievance concerning the dismissal or termination of employment of a Wage Employee may be subject to the Grievance Procedure except that is shall not be a subject of arbitration at Level 3.
Notwithstanding 29.01(d), a Wage Employee who has served twenty-four (24) months of service from their first date of hire and who is dismissed for disciplinary reasons in accordance with Article 28, Disciplinary Action, shall have access to the Grievance Procedure including arbitration at Level 3.
“Demotion” means a transfer to a position with a lower maximum salary.
Meetings During Grievance Procedure
A Union Steward shall not discuss a grievance, or leave his place of work to investigate a grievance, during working hours without first obtaining permission from his supervisor to do so.
The Designated Officer or the aggrieved may request that a written grievance be discussed at Level 1 or Level 2 of the Grievance Procedure. A Union Staff Member or Union Steward shall be allowed to be present at these discussions, if desired by the grievor. The grievor's request for a discussion shall not be unreasonably denied. This discussion shall be recognized as the grievor's opportunity to clarify the circumstances surrounding his grievance. When a request for discussion has been approved, leave with pay shall be allowed. However, the grievor and any accompanying Union Steward shall inform their respective supervisors before leaving and upon returning to their respective work places. Expenses incurred in attending the meeting may be claimed in accordance with the Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expense Directive and the Public Service Relocation and Employment Expenses regulations.
An Employee and their manager will attempt to resolve differences through informal means, where possible, prior to proceeding with a written grievance. A Union Steward, at the request of the Employee, may accompany and assist the Employee at this step.
The Employer shall advise all Employees by poster or by some other similar means of notification, of the name, title and mailing address of the Designated Officer for Levels 1 to 2 of this Grievance Procedure. A copy shall be sent to the Union.
An Employee wishing to pursue a grievance, shall submit it in writing to the Employee's Department Human Resources Representative within twenty-one (21) days of the date upon which the subject of the grievance occurred or the time the Employee first became aware of the subject of the grievance.
The Designated Officer at Level 1 shall reply in writing within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the grievance.
With the approval of the Union in writing, an Employee not satisfied with the reply at Level 1 shall, within fourteen (14) days of receipt of that reply submit the Employee's grievance in writing to the Employee's Department Human Resources Representative.
The Designated Officer at Level 2 shall reply in writing to the Employee within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the grievance at Level 2 and shall submit a copy of his reply to the Union.
Variance From Grievance Procedure
The level of commencement of a grievance may be varied up to and including Level 2 by written agreement between the Employer and the Union.
Grievances involving Dismissal, Suspension without pay and Demotion shall be commenced at Level 2, unless otherwise agreed between the Parties pursuant to Sub-Clause 29.03(c) above.
A Policy Grievance shall be submitted to the other Party within fourteen (14) days of the date upon which the alleged violation of the Collective Agreement has occurred, or within fourteen (14) days from the date upon which the aggrieved Party first became aware of the subject of the grievance.
Within a reasonable time of filing a Policy Grievance, the Parties shall meet in an attempt to resolve the difference. Failure to resolve the Policy Grievance within fourteen (14) days of filing shall entitle the aggrieved Party to advance the Policy Grievance to Level 3 within an additional fourteen (14) days.
Level 3 - Arbitration
If a settlement is not reached through the above proceedings, an Employee with the approval of the Union (in the case of an Employee grievance), the Union (in the case of a Union grievance) and the Employer (in the case of an Employer grievance) may refer the grievance to arbitration by notice in writing that must be given within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the reply at the previous stage or level to which the grievance was advanced. Notice to the Employer shall be given to the Public Service Commissioner.
The submission of a grievance to arbitration shall be to an Arbitration Board of three (3) members, one (1) to be appointed by the Union, one (1) to be appointed by the Employer and a third, who shall act as Chairperson, to be mutually agreed upon by the other two (2), or to a single arbitrator or to a mediator-arbitrator.
The notice referred to in Sub-Clause 29.04(a) above shall indicate which system of arbitration the party wishes to follow, and state the name of its nominee to an arbitration board or suggest one or more names of persons it is willing to accept as a single arbitrator; or mediator-arbitrator, as the case may be;
Upon receipt of the notice referred to in Sub-Clause 29.04(a) above, the other Party shall respond within seven (7) days, indicating which system of arbitration it finds acceptable in respect to the grievance. If the other Party does not respond within the said seven (7) days, the grievance will be dealt with by an Arbitration Board. If it is not agreed that a single arbitrator or mediator-arbitrator shall be used, the other Party shall state the name of its nominee to an Arbitration Board. The Party initiating the submission of the grievance to arbitration under 29.04(c)(i) above shall then, within seven (7) days, state the name of its nominee to an Arbitration Board. If the other Party fails to appoint its nominee to an Arbitration Board within fourteen (14) days, its nominee will be appointed by the Chair of the Labour Relations Board upon request of the Party submitting the grievance to arbitration. If the other Party agrees to a single arbitrator or mediator-arbitrator, it shall suggest one or more names of persons it is willing to accept as arbitrator or mediator-arbitrator.
Where the Parties have submitted a grievance to a mediator-arbitrator, they shall request the mediator-arbitrator to mediate between them and to encourage them to resolve any difference or differences raised by the grievance. If the mediator-arbitrator determines that the Parties will not resolve their differences, then the mediator-arbitrator is empowered to determine any and all differences and to issue a written award concerning the same. The Parties agree that unless it is otherwise agreed between them, any resolution reached with the assistance of a mediator-arbitrator, or any determination made by a mediator-arbitrator shall not establish a precedent for any other grievance, difference or dispute.
A single arbitrator or mediator-arbitrator shall have all of the same powers as an Arbitration Board. In such cases, the Party referring the grievance to arbitration, shall, instead of submitting the name of its nominee, submit the name of the arbitrator it wishes to suggest to the other Party. If agreement cannot be reached on the appointment of a single arbitrator or upon the appointment of a mediator-arbitrator, within seven (7) days, an Arbitration Board will be appointed in accordance with the provisions above.
Each Party to this Agreement shall bear its own costs of arbitration, including the costs of its nominees to the Board. The Parties shall bear equally the costs of arbitration board Chairpersons and single arbitrators and mediator-arbitrators.
The Employer shall grant an Employee leave of absence with pay for the purpose of attending the arbitration of his grievance. Except where a dismissal of the Employee is upheld by the arbitration decision, an Employee may claim his expenses incurred in attending the arbitration of his grievance in accordance with the Travel, Meal and Hospitality Directive and the Public Service Relocation and Employment Expenses Regulation.
The Employer shall grant leave of absence with pay to a witness appearing under notice to attend at arbitration proceedings.
Power of Boards of Arbitration
Arbitration Boards, single arbitrators and mediator-arbitrators are empowered to decide grievances between the Parties or persons bound by the Collective Agreement.
Arbitration Boards, single arbitrators and mediator-arbitrators shall not add to, alter, modify or amend any part of the terms of the Collective Agreement by their decision, nor make any decision inconsistent with it nor to deal with any other matter that is not a proper matter for grievance under the Collective Agreement.
Arbitration Boards, single arbitrators and mediator-arbitrators shall confine their decisions solely to the precise issue submitted to them and shall have no authority to make a decision on any other issue not so submitted.
When disciplinary action against an Employee is involved, the Arbitration Board, single arbitrator or mediator-arbitrator may vary the penalty as is considered just and reasonable under the circumstances.
Where a grievance is heard by a three (3) member Board, the decision of a majority of the members is the decision of the Board, but if there is no majority, a decision of the Chairperson governs and that decision is the decision of the Arbitration Board.
Arbitration decisions shall be final and binding on the Parties and all other interested persons.
Procedures and Time Limits
Time limits and procedures contained in this Grievance Procedure are mandatory. Failure to pursue a grievance within the prescribed time limits and in accordance with the prescribed procedures shall result in abandonment of the grievance. Failure to reply to a grievance within the prescribed time limits shall advance the grievance to the next level. Grievances so advanced shall be subject to time limits as if a reply had been made on the last allowable day of the preceding level in the procedure.
Time limits in this Article may be extended by written agreement between the Employer and the Union.
It is clearly understood that time limits established herein are mandatory and are to be adhered to; however, where an arbitrator or Arbitration Board determines that there are reasonable grounds for extending the time for taking any step in the grievance process or arbitration procedure, the arbitrator or Arbitration Board may, notwithstanding Clauses 29.07(a) and (b), grant an extension, even after the expiration of the time, if, in its opinion, the other party would not be unduly prejudiced by the extension. In these situations, the onus is on the Party who fails to adhere to the time limits to prove the reasonableness for it’s failure to adhere to such time limits.
Service of Documents
If anything is required or permitted to be served under this Agreement, it shall be deemed to be properly served if it is served:
in the case of an individual:
personally or by leaving it for the individual(s) at the individual’s last or most usual place of abode with some person who is apparently at least eighteen (18) years old; or
by mailing it to the individual(s) by registered or certified mail at the individual’s last known post office address; or
personally by a receipted courier service.
in the case of the Employer:
personally on the Public Service Commissioner; or
by leaving it at or by sending it by registered or certified mail to the office of the Public Service Commissioner; or
personally on the Public Service Commissioner by a receipted courier service.
in the case of the Department:
by leaving it at or by sending it by registered or certified mail to the office of the Human Resources representative of the Department; or
in the case of the Union:
personally on the President, Secretary or an officer of the Union or by leaving it at an office occupied by the Union; or
by sending it by registered or certified mail to the address of the President, Secretary or an officer of the Union; or
personally on the President, Secretary or an officer of the Union by a receipted courier service.
The date of delivery establishes the date of receipt for documents that are served personally.
Documents that are mailed by registered or certified mail shall be deemed to have been received on the date they are registered or certified with Canada Post.
Procedures as stipulated in this Article may be varied by written agreement of the Parties.