FA Home | Grievance Main | Discovery
Review | Arbitration
Historically, FA and the District have been able to resolve over 90
percent of potential faculty grievances at the conciliation step in the
grievance process. Experienced FA-appointed campus conciliators work
confidentially with grievants and their managers to re-open closed
communication channels, define contractual problem areas, explore compromise
solutions, and work with the parties to design their own solutions to
FA conciliators are contract experts who will immediately answer most
contract questions from either faculty or management (the deans with the
fewest grievances in their divisions are often the deans who talk to their
campus conciliator before acting), or will research your question and get
back to you later.
Here is a chronological outline of a typical conciliation effort.
a District faculty member, contacts her campus conciliator by phone or
email. The conciliator discusses Judy's issues with her and makes an
initial assessment of whether the issues involve terms of the Agreement.
If Judy simply wants information, the conciliator answers or researches
her contractual questions.
Judy's issues are not contractual, the conciliator works with Judy to
refer her to the proper resource.
the problem is contractual, the conciliator first determines Judy's
"discovery" date that fixes the 50-school-day grievance filing
deadline. All conciliation efforts must occur before the filing
deadline. If the deadline is imminent, the conciliator may ask the
District to extend the deadline; the District normally complies with
problems broadly fall into one of three categories:
Board has clearly followed the terms of the Agreement.
Board has clearly violated, misinterpreted or misapplied one or more
terms of the Agreement.
not clear whether the Board has, or has not, committed a VMM.
The first two categories are normally easy to resolve. If the Board has
behaved correctly, there is no VMM and therefore there is nothing to grieve.
If the Board clearly committed a VMM, it is normally sufficient for the FA to
explain the contract issues to the dean, or failing that, to the dean's
supervisor. The third category, unclear cases, is the difficult one. The rest
of this outline is devoted to that category.
it is unclear whether the Board has committed a VMM in Judy's situation,
the conciliator then determines whether Judy has made a good faith
effort to resolve the problem directly with her dean. This step must
take place before further conciliation steps.
Judy has made an effort to resolve the conflict directly with her dean,
the conciliator outlines the conciliation process to Judy and asks her
for permission to speak directly with her dean and/or others involved in
the conflict to hear all perspectives. If Judy does not give her permission,
then further conciliation is typically fruitless.
conciliator contacts the dean and others to hear their perspectives. At
this point the conciliator should have a solid grasp of the contractual
conciliator then typically arranges for all the parties involved to meet
face-to-face. At this meeting(s) the conciliator attempts to clarify the
contractual issues, helps the parties see the situation from the other's
perspective, and assists the parties to formulate a solution themselves.
This process typically works if all parties work hard on attacking the
problem instead of each other (a cliché, but an apt one).
Judy and her dean do find a solution that is consistent with the terms
of the Agreement, the conciliator may write a summary of the
understanding and asks them both to either correct or agree to the
summary, and this settles the matter.
the parties cannot reach agreement on how to resolve Judy's contractual
issues before the filing deadline, then Judy has two options:
can permanently abandon her grievance, or
can file a formal Notice of Grievance; the filing convenes an Internal
All discussions and correspondence between faculty members and campus
conciliators are strictly confidential. Discussions and actions during
conciliation meetings are not only confidential, they are also contractually
protected; evidence of such discussions and actions cannot be used by either
party in subsequent Internal Review Hearings or Arbitration Hearings (see Article
5.1.3). This protection is intended to encourage honest (and sometimes
heated) dialogue between the parties in order to get all relevant issues out
on the table for discussion.
The Conciliator's Role
A campus conciliator's most important role is advocate for the
Agreement. As a representative of the Faculty Association, the
conciliator is of course keenly interested in advancing the interests of
faculty members over management interests. But unlike lawyers who are bound
to defend their client regardless of their guilt or innocence, the campus
conciliators are bound to uphold the terms of the Agreement. This
makes perfect sense: the Agreement represents literally thousands of
hours of exasperating and meticulous effort by the FA and District to bargain
equitable working conditions, compensation and procedures for changing job
status for all District faculty members. It would be foolhardy for an FA
representative to either advocate or allow a single union member to violate
the terms of the Association's and District's hard-won Agreement.
Back to Top