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Report on the WV Public Employees Grievance Board

Prepared by the Executive Committee


West Virginia Public Workers Union, UE Local 170

Fiscal Year 2008 was the first year of operation by the West Virginia Public
Employees Grievance Board under the revised statutes. In that period, 1544
new grievances were filed by public workers covered by the provisions. A
combined total of 463 decisions were issued by the five staff administrative
law judges (ALJs) during that same period. Of those decisions, 78% were
denied completely, with another 5% denied in part.

In the Final Report on grievance procedures prepared by the WVU Institute


for Labor Studies and Research for the legislature’s Joint Committee on
Government and Finance (March 1, 2006), it was determined that only 15%
of grievance decisions issued in 2004 (the last year for which totals were
provided) were granted in favor of employees. A frequent justification of
adopting the revised statute was to address what was acknowledged as a
statistically lopsided outcome under the old statute. The glaring bias in favor
of the employer was to be addressed under a procedure that was touted as
more fair to grievants than had previously been the case.

The 2008 figure of 17% of decisions granted to the employee is, however,
only marginally different from the 2004 figure contained in the Final Report,
as well as below the figures for most years prior to 2004. The inescapable
conclusion is that the legislative remedy adopted in July 2007 failed to
adequately address the issue of fairness in West Virginia’s public employee
grievance system.

The West Virginia Public Workers Union, UE Local 170, therefore calls for the
following legislative remedies:

Strengthening and expanding the due process rights, including the


right to representation, of West Virginia’s public employees
Adoption of collective bargaining for West Virginia’s public employees
Removal of the West Virginia Public Employees Grievance Board from
the administrative authority of the executive branch and its
reassignment to the administrative authority of the state’s judicial
branch