Except as otherwise provided in this Agreement, every grievance the Union (and the Employees it represents) may have, will be adjusted as set forth below. A grievance shall be defined as a dispute concerning the application or interpretation of a specific provision of this Agreement. It is understood that other complaints or problems may also be processed through the grievance procedure but may not be taken to arbitration.
A grievance which affects a substantial number or class of Employees, or on behalf of the Union, and which the Employer's representative designated in Step 1 lacks authority to settle, may initially be presented at Step 2 by the Union representative, provided that such grievance must be filed within the time period set forth in Step 2 of the grievance procedure set forth herein.
17.2 Informal Discussion.
An Employee who has a grievance shall discuss the matter with the Employee's manager, who shall attempt to provide a satisfactory resolution of the matter.
17.3 Step 1.
Within ten (10) workdays (or within thirty (30) days if the grievance involves a monetary claim) after the occurrence of the facts on which the grievance is based (unless the facts as opposed to the grievance or violation are unknown to the Grievant), the grievance may be submitted in writing to the appropriate Regional Administrator or Department Head, as applicable, or designee, by the Union's Local Representative. Within ten (10) days thereafter, or within ten (10) days following any conference mutually agreed upon between the Local Representative and the Regional Administrator or Department Head, as applicable, or designee, whichever is later, the answer of the Regional Administrator or Department Head, as applicable, or designee, shall be given to the Local Representative in writing.
17.4 Step 2.
If the grievance is not adjusted in the time specified in Step 1, the grievance may, within five (5) days after the answer in Step 1, or of a failure to answer within the applicable time period, be appealed to Step 2 by written notice served on the Vice President of Human Resources, or designee. Within ten (10) days thereafter, or within ten (10) days following any conference mutually agreed upon between the Union's General Representative and the Vice President of Human Resources, or designee, whichever is later, the answer of the Vice President of Human Resources, or designee, shall be given to the Union in writing.
17.5 Step 3.
If no satisfactory settlement of the grievance is reached in Step 2, the Union may within fifteen (15) days after the answer of the Employer given under Step 2 or of the failure of the Employer to answer within the applicable time period, submit a demand for arbitration to the Employer with a copy of such demand to the American Arbitration Association together with a request that both parties be furnished an identical list of arbitrators from the panels of the American Arbitration Association. The arbitration shall be handled in accordance with then existing rules of the American Arbitration Association.
17.6 Arbitration Powers: Limitations.
The decision of the arbitrator under Step 3 shall be final and binding upon the parties hereto. The arbitrator designated pursuant to the above provisions shall have no right to add to, subtract from or in any way modify the terms and provisions of this Agreement. The expense of the arbitration shall be borne equally by the Employer and the Union.
17.7 Time Limits.
All time limits herein specified shall be deemed to be exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. The time limits specified in this Article Seventeen shall be deemed to be substantive provisions and failure to comply with such time limits or any of them shall be a complete bar to any action by reason of such grievance. Failure on the part of the Employer to answer a grievance at any step shall not be deemed acquiescence thereto, and the Union may proceed to the next step.
17.8 Attendance at Arbitration Hearing.
With appropriate notice and where not inconsistent with effective and efficient operations, the Employer will release without loss of pay a Registered Nurse for attendance at an arbitration hearing as a witness (only for the period necessary for testimony) and up to one (1) participating grievant.