Introduction l Staff
Recent Grievance News
Resources for Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure
Full Time Faculty Grievance Procedures:
Article IX: Problem-solving on Issues other than R/P/T
Article X: Reappointment, Promotion & Tenure
Expedited Appeal of Denial of Tenure
The AAUP-AFT assists faculty members in finding informal solutions to problems they face in the workplace. The staff of the union routinely meets with faculty members to discuss and explore ways to resolve issues of many kinds. If resolution is not achievable through informal efforts, faculty members are advised as to whether the issue(s) in question are cognizable through one of the two negotiated grievance procedures and/or whether other avenues are available. The two grievance procedures are set forth in Article IX, “Grievance Procedure,” and Article X, “Faculty Personnel Grievance Procedure,” of the Collective Agreement between the Rutgers AAUP and the University. In 2008, another option was added: an Expedited Appeal of Denial of Tenure.
If you have questions and/or need information in general about University practices, policies or rules, you can find assistance by contacting our office. We will attempt to answer any questions you may have regarding sabbatical or other types of leave, instructions for academic reappointments and promotions, employment agreements and contracts (UPF-5 Forms and related documents), the University patent policy, Harassment Policy and Procedures, Post-Tenure Review procedures, workload, University regulations, faculty governance issues, etc.
Rutgers AAUP-AFT is only authorized to pursue grievances on behalf of its members under the collective bargaining agreement with Rutgers, the State University. It does not provide members with lawyers or legal advice for the pursuit of outside discrimination claims. State and federal laws provide individual avenues separate from the union-negotiated contract to pursue claims of violations of anti-discrimination laws. Consult this "FAQ's Concerning Discrimination and the Law" for information about your rights and obligations under state and federal laws.
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The Rutgers AAUP-AFT Grievance Department is staffed by one staff representative, a staff assistant, and a retired faculty member working part-time. The Chair of the Rutgers AAUP-AFT Litigation/Grievance Committee is appointed by the President.
BJ Walker is the Staff Representative and has been with the Association since 1991. Prior to joining the staff, BJ worked for an independent labor organization representing county employees in Orange County, California, and for various law firms specializing in employment law and labor arbitration.
Wendy Asreen joined the AAUP as a part-time staff person in July 2006 coming directly from Easter Seals New Jersey. Wendy has also previously worked as an Administrative Assistant for the compliance department at the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs here at Rutgers University.
You may contact the staff representatives for assistance either by telephone (732) 964-1000 or e-mail:
B.J. Walker (firstname.lastname@example.org). Meetings are by appointment only.
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Good News: Recent Grievances Resolved, 2012
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Full-time Faculty Grievance Procedures: Article IX and Article X
Article IX- Grievance Procedure
The preamble to the Article IX grievance procedure states its purpose:
"The purpose of this Article is to provide a fair and effective procedure for identifying issues, articulating and resolving problems, and disputes."
The procedure provides more structured problem-solving mechanisms when efforts for informal resolution fail.
Article IX sets forth two types of grievances or grievance allegations defined as "Category One" and "Category Two." These categories are distinguished by what is considered by the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) to be "mandatory negotiable terms and conditions of employment." Violations of the collective bargaining agreement itself, which are not otherwise specified as Category Two in the Agreement, generally fall under Category One; while violations of University policies, agreements, administrative decisions or regulations are generally considered as Category Two allegations.
The Category under which a grievance allegation falls is important because it determines what remedy may ultimately be available and the process available for pursuit of that remedy. Grievances of Category One allegations may proceed to binding arbitration, while Grievances of Category Two allegations may proceed only to advisory arbitration. That is, if a Category One grievance is appealed to arbitration, the decision of an arbitrator is binding on the administration, the AAUP-AFT and the grievant. Decisions by an arbitrator on Category Two allegations are advisory to the President of the University who can accept, reject or modify the award of the arbitrator. ( Rutgers and the AAUP-AFT have an agreed-to pool of professional arbitrators that are used in rotation). Because the process for Category Two allegations does not provide for a binding remedy through arbitration, a faculty member has the option of pursuing a remedy for Category Two allegations in court, after the issuance of a Step One decision. See section F. 6. of Article IX.
If a faculty member intends to pursue an Article IX grievance, the Grievance department provides assistance and prepares and/or assists in the preparation of the initial statement of the grievance for review by the faculty member(s) and AAUP-AFT attorneys.
There is a six month deadline "from the date on which the grievant should reasonably have known of the occurrence of the alleged violation" for filing an Article IX grievance. In some cases it may be possible to have an Article IX grievance heard on an accelerated schedule which, if requested, shortens the time limit for filing to 30 working days.
There are three possible steps in the Article IX grievance procedure. The first is mediation. The goal of mediation is to resolve grievances informally. If mediation is requested by the grievant, a mediator is appointed and a mediation session is scheduled. (Mediators are appointed, in rotation, from a list of professional arbitrators jointly agreed to by the administration and the AAUP-AFT). The mediator attempts, through meeting and discussion with the parties, to find resolution of the issues set forth in the grievance. It is a process that seeks compromise and settlement of the grievance. If the mediation is successful and a resolution is reached, it is reduced to writing and the grievance is withdrawn. If the mediation is unsuccessful, the grievance may then proceed to Step One.
Step One of the grievance procedure is the first formal stage of the process after the grievance statement has been filed. A Step One meeting may be requested by the grievant and/or the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs or his/her designee. If a Step One meeting occurs, the faculty member is accompanied by an AAUP-AFT representative (the Grievance Chair and/or Staff Representative) and a meeting is held with the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs or his/her designee (usually the Assistant Vice President for Faculty Affairs). The role of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs or his/her designee is to "conduct such investigation as he or she may require in order to render a written response. . ."
A Step One decision must be rendered by the administration "[W]ithin 45 working days of the conclusion of the mediation or within 45 working days of the notification of a waiver of the mediation step by the AAUP. . .[except that] the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs or his/her designee shall have no fewer that 15 working days subsequent to the Step 1 meeting(s) concerning the grievance to render a written response."
Once the Step One decision has been rendered, the clock starts on the time in which a grievance may be appealed to arbitration. The Executive Council of the AAUP, upon recommendation of the Litigation/Grievance Committee, determines whether or not to proceed to arbitration if a faculty member has requested that it do so.
If a grievance is appealed, hearings are held and the arbitrator then renders a decision. For Category One allegations, the arbitrator's decision is final and binding on all parties. For Category Two allegations, the arbitrator's decision is forwarded to the President of the University as a recommendation which may be accepted, rejected or modified.
Faculty members with questions regarding the Article IX grievance procedure should contact the AAUP office at 732-964-1000.
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Tenure decisions under the contract in force for 2007-2011 can be either grieved under Article X or appealed through an Expedited Appeal process.
Article X- Grievance Procedure for Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure
Outline of Article X
The preamble to the Article X - Faculty Personnel Grievance Procedure reads as follows:
The purpose of Article X is to help ensure the integrity of the reappointment, promotion, and tenure procedures; to provide a process for determining whether evaluations resulting in negative personnel actions were flawed (as defined in A.1. of Article X) and to provide remedies in cases where defects are found."
As most faculty members are aware, the process for evaluating faculty for reappointment, promotion and tenure is an arduous one with many levels of evaluation and many steps in the process. The Academic Reappointment/ Promotion Instructions set forth the process by which faculty members are evaluated. There are also regulations, policies and language in the collective agreement and in University Regulations that govern the evaluative process for reappointment and promotion.
The AAUP-AFT receives notification of personnel actions beginning in April of each year. The first notification to the AAUP-AFT of personnel actions involving the tenured ranks occurs immediately following the first Board of Governors' meeting where most actions are finalized - usually the second Friday in April. The AAUP-AFT, upon receipt of notice of these personnel actions, contacts all faculty members who have been denied reappointment, promotion and/or tenure and informs them of the availability of the Article X grievance procedure if defects have occurred during the course of the evaluation process. Notice of deadlines and other information about the process is provided and meetings are scheduled to discuss the grievance procedure and alternatives with those who are contemplating a grievance action.
There are four types of allegations (see Section A.1.a,b,c, and d) that may be brought in an Article X grievance. They are:
- A material procedural violation of the Instructions, Collective Agreement or University regulation or established practice occurred;
- The evaluation was based on discrimination or enmity by an evaluator;
- The narrative of an evaluator or evaluative body contains a material factual inconsistency with the record presented in the packet; or,
- The evaluation was not in accord with the criteria as set forth in the University Policy with Respect to Academic Appointments and Promotions.
The Grievance Department assists faculty members in determining whether defects occurred in the evaluation and provides assistance throughout the grievance process if pursued. The Grievance Department also assists faculty members in seeking informal resolutions. This often happens through meetings and communications by the AAUP-AFT with appropriate administrative officer(s).
Once a grievance statement is filed, grievance hearings are held. The three-person faculty committee hears each side’s case and makes a determination to sustain or deny the allegations presented. If an allegation is sustained, the packet is remanded back to the level where the defect occurred and to all subsequent levels. When a grievance committee orders a remanded evaluation they also make recommendations on how to correct the defects which occurred in the original evaluation.
If a remanded evaluation is unsuccessful, a faculty member may file an appeal to the Faculty Appeals Board. This is the final internal appeal process available to faculty members with regard to reappointment, promotion and/or tenure evaluations.
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Article XIII: Expedited Appeal of Denial of Tenure
The 2007-2011 contract contains an expedited appeal procedure for denial of tenure: Article XIII, Expedited Appeal for Denial of Tenure.
If you use the expedited appeal, you waive your rights to use the grievance procedure in Article X.
Please consult with AAUP-AFT staff in making your decision. We will hold Information Sessions on the Expedited Appeal and other options every year after the Board of Governors releases its tenure decisions in April. Candidates who have been turned down for tenure will be contacted by AAUP-AFT for an Information Session. For more information, call the Rutgers AAUP-AFT office at 732-964-1000. Ask to speak with either B.J. Walker (ext. 12) or Mary Gibson (ext. 14).
Outline of the Expedited Appeal.
Outline of Article X.
Experience from the First Year of the Expedited Appeal (2008)
In Spring 2008, the first year that Article XIII was available, four candidates chose to file expedited appeals and two filed Article X grievances. Of the four expedited appeals, one candidate was awarded tenure at the June 2008 meeting of the Board of Governors; one received a remand back to the department (outcome to be determined at the April 2, 2009 Board meeting); and two appeals were denied. Of the two Article X grievances, one is scheduled for hearing by a faculty committee on April 7, 2009; the other is not yet ready for hearing due to a pending decision on a procedural issue.
Should you decide, after consultation with AAUP-AFT staff, that you are not appealing or grieving, submit this form to the AAUP-AFT office.
Grievance on work-family leave