3-9. Grievance Mediation

3-9.1. Neutral Grievance Mediators

The BOARD and the UNION shall establish a permanent panel of four neutral grievance mediators. Mediators may be removed from the permanent panel by written notice from one party to the other requesting removal. Cases pending before a removed mediator shall not be affected. The parties shall make every effort to agree upon a substitute mediator.

3-9.2. Grievance Mediation Panel Meetings and Authority

3-9.2(a)Mediation Panel

Either the UNION or the BOARD may request that a grievance be submitted to mediation. Grievances submitted to mediation shall be submitted to a five-person mediation panel consisting of a mediator selected by the parties and two permanent representatives designated by each party. One of the BOARD’s representatives shall be a current or former principal. The parties shall establish regular meeting dates for the mediation panel, occurring no less often than twice per month or more frequently as is necessary to ensure that all grievances submitted to mediation are heard within six months of the grievance filing date.

3-9.2(b)Submission to Mediation

Within five school days of the selection of a mediator, the parties will contact the mediator directly and notify the mediator of his or her appointment, request available mediation dates and mutually agree to a mediation date. At least seven calendar days before the mediation session, the mediator shall mail notice of the date, time and place of the session to the BOARD and the UNION. The mediator for good cause shown may postpone the mediation session or extend any period of time upon request of a party or upon his or her own initiative and shall postpone the session or extend any period of time upon mutual agreement of the parties. Prior to the mediation session, the BOARD and the UNION will submit to the mediator all relevant grievance documents for the grievance or grievances to be addressed at that session. Mediation sessions will be conducted upon request of the BOARD or the UNION on an as needed basis.

3-9.2(c)Recommendations and Resolutions

If appropriate, the mediation panel may make recommendations for resolution to the Chief Executive Officer and the UNION President. If the Chief Executive Officer and UNION President mutually agree to a resolution for a specific grievance, that agreement will be reduced to writing, executed by the parties and implemented. All resolutions shall be non-precedential and not cited in any arbitration case or labor board, administrative or judicial proceeding. In the event of a resolution, the grievance will be withdrawn with prejudice.

3-9.3. Lack of Resolution

If the parties cannot mutually agree to a resolution, they may mutually agree to table and further mediate the grievance at a subsequent mediation session. Absent a resolution or an agreement to table the grievance, the grievance will proceed to arbitration. Any grievance agreed to be submitted to mediation (other than under Article 29-4 or 29-5) and not considered by the mediation panel within sixty school days after the request for mediation will be submitted to arbitration.

3-9.4. Requests for Grievance Mediation Simultaneous with Arbitration Demand

Simultaneously with a demand for arbitration under this Article, the UNION may submit a written request for mediation to the Director of Employee Engagement. The grievance will proceed to mediation unless the Director of Employee Engagement notifies the UNION, in writing, within ten school days that the BOARD does not agree to submit the grievance to mediation. Within ten school days of receiving the UNION’s demand for arbitration of a particular grievance, the Director of Employee Engagement may request, in writing, that the grievance be submitted to mediation. Any such grievance will proceed to mediation unless the UNION notifies the Director of Employee Engagement, in writing, within ten school days that it does not agree to submit the grievance to mediation.

3-9.5. Availability of Mediation Procedures

The UNION and the BOARD may at any time agree to use the mediation procedures of this Section to assist in the resolution of grievances.