P&T Procedural Grievance was Averted

September 28, 2017 / Phil Lesch

An Associate Professor had notified their department chair in the spring of their intention to submit materials for promotion to Professor in spring, 2017. The Departments deadline for submission of materials was September 18, 2017. The faculty member missed the deadline. On September 21, 2017 the department chair advised the faculty member that the deadline was a hard deadline and the materials would not be accepted.

The faculty member came to PSU-AAUP for help. We found that while there was indeed a deadline in the departments P&T guidelines, we also found the following:

  1. There was history of that deadline being flexible. It had been adjusted for faculty members in past years, and absent a communication to the contrary, it was reasonable for any faculty member to assume that that flexibility would continue.
  2. The deadline for submission in the current year for other faculty members had been adjusted, negating the assertion that management had, in fact, returned to a hard deadline.
  3. Management has the ability to return to the published date as a hard deadline, but given the history of adjustments to the deadline in the past, they would have had to have supplied notice to all faculty members in  spring, 2017 of their intention to enforce the hard deadline, and then they would have had to evenly enforce the hard deadline in the current year. That did not occur.

We found that the faculty member had a meritorious grievance. We declared our intention to file the Division B grievance at Step One at Labor Management Committee. Our counterparts believe they could intervene and preclude our need to file the grievance, and asked for 48 hours to try to effectuate the reversal of the department chair's decision to not accept the materials. 

Our counterparts intervened, and they were able to get the decision reversed the same day. The faculty members materials will be accepted if they are submitted immediately. The materials are ready to go, so that is no problem. PSU-AAUP does not have a need to file the grievance.