Users' Guide to the Governor's Office of Employee Relations Grievance Tracking System (1984-1990)
This manual is composed of seven parts. Part I narrates access procedures for information in the Archives. Part II briefs users on archival references services. Part III introduces the background, history, and development of the Grievance Tracking System. It describes when and why the system was established, how long it operated, and the products it produced. Part IV familiarizes users with the procedures of contract and disciplinary grievances. Part V describes GTS's data collection methods. A brief discussion on the strengths and limitations of the system is also included. Part VI illustrates in table format the components of the database, displays the major statistics about the system, and discusses how each element should be treated. Finally, appendices containing copies of original GOER documents and the Table of Contents for all collective bargaining agreements from 1982 to 1990 are attached for a better understanding of the operation of the system and the way in which it captured data.
The State Archives is the final repository for many State government records. One of the State Archives' primary responsibilities is to identify, preserve, and make available for research use the archival records of New York State government. Archival records are those records that have enduring legal, administrative, historical, educational, or other research value. Archival records no longer actively used by their creating agencies are transferred to the State Archives, where their preservation and future accessibility are ensured.
Proper names in the two GTS files are suppressed in public use copies, including those residing in the State Archives' anonymous ftp directory.
The State Archives reference staff will assist the researcher with locating the requested information, printed codebooks, and other necessary advice. See research assistance for hours, location, and policies. The State Archives presently provides the following services to allow access to machine readable records.
- Copying of paper documentation and codebooks for use with machine-readable data.
- File copying, including a copy of the data file(s) on magnetic tape(s) or floppy disk(s), and support documentation. (Tape copies are in Standard-label EBCDIC format. Floppy disks are in ASCII format.) Data will be provided to the public on the requested media at the cost of media replacement.
- Making select electronic records available via its ftp directory on the Internet. (Records in the ftp directory are in ASCII format.)
The data is not to be redistributed. Processing and technical queries should be directed to the New York State Archives, Reference Services, (518) 474-8955. The e-mail address is: email@example.com.
The Grievance Tracking System (GTS) was a microcomputer-based system in the Governor's Office of Employee Relations (GOER) which collected information from all executive branch State agencies in New York on all grievances and grieved disciplines. A grievance is an allegation by an employee that agency management has violated a provision or provisions of the collective bargaining agreement between the State and the union. A grieved discipline is an allegation by an employee that a disciplinary action taken against him or her by the employer was improper in some way.
GTS replaced the Grievance and Appeals Management Information System (GAP) in 1984. GAP was a mainframe-based system that was inflexible, not particularly user-friendly, and poorly documented. GTS mainly served as a statistical reporting system throughout its existence. At the end of the 1990/1991 fiscal year, the statewide components of GTS were discontinued as a cost-saving measure. For more information on the development of GTS, please refer to Appendices A-B.
Grievance and disciplinary grievance procedures are defined in the various collective bargaining agreements that the State negotiates with the unions representing State employees. However, the procedures for the various unions are similar enough to be described generically (see Appendix C for table of contents and article names of the relevant contracts. The actual contracts are available for study in the Reference Services, Room 11A42, Cultural Education Center). Contract grievances proceed through four steps during which labor and management attempt to resolve the issue. In step 1 the grievance is filed with local facility or office management, who renders an initial decision on the grieved issue. If the decision is unacceptable to the grievant, he or she can file the grievance with the department head or designee, usually the director of employee relations (step 2). The grievant and the union representing him or her can appeal an unsatisfactory step-2 decision to the Governor's Office of Employee Relations (GOER) (step 3). Contract grievances that are not resolved at step 3 are usually settled by an outside arbitrator. In one or two bargaining agreements there is an additional step (step 4) before arbitration. If the grievant and management agree, grievance steps can be skipped. However, a grievance will rarely (if ever) go directly to arbitration. Most grievances are settled at either step 1, 2, or 3. Relatively few cases go all the way to arbitration. A grievant can withdraw a grievance at any point in the process.
The procedure for disciplinary grievances is different than that for contract grievances. An employee is informed of a disciplinary grievance through a formal Notice of Discipline (NOD) outlining the charges, penalty(ies) sought, and his or her rights. If the employee believes the disciplinary action is improper or unfair, he or she can file a disciplinary grievance with the agency head or designee, usually the director of employee relations. The first step in a disciplinary grievance is an informal hearing between the employee and the agency head or designee. After the hearing, management may provide the employee with a written response. Often informal negotiations before or after the hearing will result in a formal or informal agreement settling the grievance and disciplinary action or in management withdrawing the NOD. These formal or informal agreements most often modify the original penalties sought in the NOD. If the disciplinary grievance cannot be settled or otherwise resolved in the agency, it is appealed to an outside arbitrator. Some bargaining agreements establish alternate procedures for certain types of disciplinary actions (e.g., a disciplinary appeals panel for disciplines involving time and attendance). Most disciplinary actions are settled in the agency, and many are settled informally. If the employee and management agree, a disciplinary action can go directly to arbitration.
GTS collected information from executive branch State agencies. Agencies were required to report to GOER monthly on all new grievances/grieved disciplines and actions in pending grievance actions previously reported to GOER. Agencies reported grievances/discipline on GOER forms. Each month GOER supplied agencies with a "turn around document" which listed all active agency grievances. The agencies used the forms to report additional actions on the grievances or disciplinary action (see Appendix A and B for copy of forms and procedures).
The system produced quarterly reports on grievance activity and monthly summaries of step-3 grievances for use by GOER. It also had the capability to produce reports in various forms using different criteria. GTS operated on a multi-user microcomputer platform (an Industrial Micro Systems 8000-SX running on a TURBO_DOS operating system). The system used POWERHOUSE software, a database management system, and contains two master data files. One captures data on grievance cases and the other on grieved discipline cases (excluding CSEA time and attendance cases handled by a disciplinary panel).
The State Archives received the data files in delimited ASCII format. The raw data in such a format can be handled by most computer software.Return to table of contents