The contract is an agreement between the UFT and the Department of Education. A grievance is a complaint about the violation, improper implementation or misinterpretation of the contract. Union-represented staff members may enforce their contract and protect their rights through the grievance process. If you believe that a supervisor has violated your contractual rights and you and your chapter leader have been unable to resolve your complaint informally, you should ask your chapter leader to assist you in filing a grievance against the DOE.
Your chapter leader will explain the grievance process to you and help you prepare the grievance. Your chapter leader will also assist you in citing the violated contract clause and desired remedy, and will represent you at the first step grievance hearing. In certain instances, your chapter leader will file a grievance on your behalf or on the behalf of the entire chapter (i.e., class size, mandated consultation, job postings and program deadlines). For most grievances, the first step is a grievance hearing at the school with the principal, chapter leader and aggrieved union member. If your case is not resolved at the school level, the union may proceed to a hearing at the chancellor's level. If your case is not resolved at the chancellor's level, the union may consider taking the grievance to the final appeal, arbitration, where your case will be heard by an independent neutral arbitrator who is selected jointly and paid for equally by the DOE and the UFT. You cannot be disciplined or discriminated against for exercising your contractual rights.
You can read the full policy on grievances in Article 22 of the contract.