In DEP, we should acknowledge that the term GRIEVANCE has a historic connotation of being entitled, unappreciative, or greedy.  Many people don’t want to appear unappreciative or like a squeaky wheel.  It’s also outside our comfort zone to advocate for ourselves!  Now is the time that this needs to be clarified, once and for all.

A grievance is the legal mechanism that represented employees have available to them to ensure that policies and procedures are followed appropriately, including but not limited to compensation.  The grievance process is outlined in the Citywide Agreement as well as the Unit Contract for Scientific & Engineering Titles.  We expect the City to always follow policies and procedures, but we must also be aware of our responsibilities.  Most importantly:

The grievance procedure specifically states that “no monetary award shall in any event cover any period prior to the date of the filing of the STEP 1 grievance unless such grievance has been filed within thirty (30) days of the assignment to alleged out-of-title work”.

This means that grievances must be filed quickly!  Some examples that would qualify:

  1. “A claimed assignment of Employees to duties substantially different from those stated in their job specifications”
  2. A job is posted, you apply, interview, and are selected.  Once you begin conducting the responsibilities of that new position, a grievance should be filed.
    1. It is common in DEP for title processing to take over a year.  If you do not file a grievance, you will not be compensated for that time.
    2. Your responsibilities change significantly and are no longer consistent with your title specifications.  This may be the result of a retirement or any other form of organizational restructuring.
      1. Local 3599 can provide you with your contractual title specifications to help you assess whether your responsibilities are consistent with your title.


  1. If you believe that a grievance would be appropriate, please initiate a consultation with your Local 3599 President ( and/or Vice President (
  2. If it is determined that you should file a grievance, you will file a STEP 1, which will be submitted to your Bureau Human Resources via your chain of command.
  3. The remaining procedures are outlined in Section VI of the Unit Contract for Scientific and Engineering Agreement.  There are important timelines that are required for responses!


Please review the Citywide Agreement (Article XV- Adjustment of Disputes)

Please review the Unit Contract for Scientific and Engineering (Section VI- Grievance Procedure)