Grievance Update by Deirdre Verne

WCCFT Vice President Deirdre Verne

In the last issue of FTConnect, I wrote about the grievance process. In this issue, I will review an actual complaint that resulted in a grievance filing. In September, two full-time faculty members contacted the union regarding the timing of step increases. Both faculty members noted that their step increases hadn’t appeared in their September pay checks and, after an inquiry to payroll, they were told that step increases are not processed until October. The members were concerned that their total pay for the year would be short 1/12th of the pay step increment.

Next, the members contacted me. Once I received their complaint, I began an investigation. I reviewed the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) salary scales and then gathered more information from the members. Then I consulted with WCCFT President Jim Werner and our NYSUT Labor Relations Specialist, Amanda Velazquez. We all agreed that this was worth pursuing as we assumed pay increases were implemented on September 1. I then reached out to a few other members who I knew to keep detailed personal records to see if they had experienced the same delay in prior years when moving up a pay step. These members confirmed that the delay was not a new occurrence and that they had received the same feedback from payroll when they had asked – pay step increases don’t occur until October. This eliminated the issue of a one-time payroll mistake.

Before contacting payroll directly, I had to consider possible explanations. For example, it was possible that payroll was making up the lost pay increase for September by increasing pay in later pay cycles. If this was the case, then no harm was done. The faculty would be receiving the full amount of the pay increase by the end of August. It’s important that a grievance investigation leave the door open to logical answers as opposed to opening with an accusation. This helps build better communications, long-term, with the administration. I posed the question to payroll and indicated this possibility.

Unfortunately, I did not receive a response, and, therefore, the union made a decision to submit a formal grievance. Once a formal letter is sent to Dr. Miles, the college is required to respond within the deadlines identified in the CBA. This formal grievance was then given to Michael Hekle, the college’s new Labor Relations Specialist, who investigated the matter further.


We received a response from Mr. Hekle that we considered fair. He was able to show that our pay step increases are linked to Westchester County procedures and timelines. He also established that the October implementation date has been a consistent and on-going practice at the college. As a result, we withdrew the grievance and we acknowledged that pay step increases occur in October. This was a case of a grievance that did not necessitate or result in any remedial action.


I should note that both members did something very important to start; they took the time to review their paycheck. I continually emphasize the importance of regularly checking your paystub because we have also identified pay issues that required a remedy and have been resolved in favor of the member. Also, please note there is a 30-day contractual time period within which to file a grievance.


Not sure where to find your paycheck? Go to If you don’t know your login ID, contact the WCC Help Desk.