Protocol for Union Release for AFSCME Employees
The University recognizes that employees are to be released from their work duties for purposes of processing and attending grievance proceedings, bargaining sessions, and other appropriate Union-related activities as provided by the collective bargaining agreement, law or policy. In such cases, the University must balance the rights provided in the collective bargaining agreement, or by other authority, with the mission and operational efficiency of the University.
Article IV, Section 7, Representation, of the collective bargaining agreement, states:
An employee may consult with a local union representative during working hours relative to a grievance matter by first contacting the employees supervisor. The employees supervisor shall arrange a meeting to take place as soon as possible for the employee with a union representative through the union representatives supervisor.
Request for Representation
When a supervisor receives a request for representation from an employee, use the attached listing to contact the union representatives supervisor to find a mutually convenient time for the employee and steward to be released from work, thereby providing the requested release. Such release should normally be no more than one hour, and may be scheduled prior to lunch or break times, or near the end of the work shift, if practical. Such release should also normally be within 24 hours of the request. If schedules do not permit release within 24 hours, the employee initiating the request should be informed and given the opportunity to select an alternate union representative whose schedule may allow for a more immediate response.
Article IV, Section 8, Processing Grievances, of the collective bargaining agreement, states:
Union representatives who are members of bargaining units and grievants will be permitted a reasonable amount of time to process grievances during their regularly scheduled hours of employment. Processing grievances shall be defined as investigating, filing, and attending any step meetings and/or hearing(s) regarding grievances. However, only one (1) local union representative will be in pay status for any one (1) grievance. Whenever possible the union representatives will provide twenty-four (24) hours notice to their supervisor(s).
1st and 2nd step grievance meetings
Release from work duties for stewards and/or grievants should be accomplished via supervisor-to-supervisor communication. A list of stewards and their respective supervisors is attached for this purpose. The supervisor scheduling the grievance should contact the supervisor of the steward and/or grievant to determine times the employees could be absent from work. The supervisor scheduling the grievance shall then set a mutually agreed upon time with the grievant and the steward per the collective bargaining agreement. Both the supervisor scheduling the meeting and the employees (steward and grievant) to be released should inform their respective department representatives of the time selected for the grievance. This action by the steward and grievant provides notice to their supervisors and gains agreement for the specified absence from work duties. For witnesses, release from work duties is accomplished through a timely request to the Office of Employee and Labor Relations or UIHC Staff Relations.
Third-step grievance meetings
Employee and Labor Relations or UIHC Staff Relations are responsible for scheduling third-step grievance meetings. Employee and Labor Relations or UIHC Staff Relations then advises the stewards and the employees supervisors that these employees will be requesting time off for the meeting. ASFCME has the responsibility to notify the steward and the employee of the time and date of the meeting. The steward and employee then are expected to gain agreement from the respective supervisor for the specified absence. Release from work duties for witnesses is accomplished through a timely request to the Office of Employee and Labor Relations or UIHC Staff Relations.
AFSCME Executive Board meetings, OSHA inspections, bargaining sessions, and other Union-related leave
Release requests come from AFSCME directly to Employee and Labor Relations, which contacts respective supervisors of the need for the employees release, as well as the appropriate pay status. The employee still has an obligation to notify his/her supervisor of the absence. For monthly local/chapter meetings and quarterly Council 61 meetings, the employee is to provide his/her supervisor with twenty (20) calendar days written notice. Employees must give ten (10) work days advance notice for attendance at the biennial AFSCME convention.
Most events requiring release addressed herein are scheduled in advance, and Employee and Labor Relations will notify departments as soon as possible. Exceptions do exist, such as OSHA inspections, which may require immediate release. When possible, we encourage ample notice be provided to facilitate the Union release and subsequent coverage of the employee(s) absence, which may include rescheduling other employees. Timely notice prevents the cancellation of fellow employees requests for time off and allows for operational planning and minimal disruption of the workplace.
Please contact the Office of Employee and Labor Relations at (319) 335-0052 with your questions or concerns.