Grievance Protection

The Washington Teachers’ Union has a staff of highly trained Field Representatives who advise the Building Reps and SCAC teams, help enforce the WTU-DCPS contract, continually strive to strengthen educator-administrator collaboration, and when necessary, process grievances. Only WTU members can access the help of Field Representatives and the WTU staff if they believe their rights have been violated.

If you believe that you have been subject to unfair labor conditions or your contractual rights have been violated, please contact your Field Representative. 

WTU Grievance Procedure

(For a full explanation, see Article 6, Grievance and Arbitration, on pages 35 to 40 of the WTU-DCPS Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The wording and meaning of the provisions of the CBA prevail over any interpretation of the text below.)

GOAL OF THE WTU GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE: To resolve any disputes between DCPS educators and DCPS administrators amicably. It is expected that both parties to any dispute will make good faith efforts to meet this goal.


a complaint involving a work situation, OR

a complaint that there has been a deviation from, misinterpretation of, or misapplication of a practice or policy, OR

a complaint that there has been a violation, misinterpretation or misapplication of any provision of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

RIGHT TO REPRESENTATION: At every step of this procedure, and at every meeting that might lead to being disciplined or terminated, educators have the right to be represented by, and be accompanied by, a WTU Building Representative, a School Chapter Advisory Committee (SCAC) member, a WTU Field Representative, or other WTU representative(s).


Stage One:

Within 14 school days from the date an educator or the WTU first learns of its cause, a grievance must be submitted in writing to a principal.

During those 14 days, every possible effort should be made to resolve the issue without formerly filing a grievance, and at the same time a formal grievance should be prepared for potential filing.

An educator who feels aggrieved should seek help from a Building Representative or a SCAC team member to resolve the matter amicably. If this does not prove to be productive, the educator should seek additional help from a WTU Field Representative.

At the same time, the individual who feels aggrieved should work with one or all of the WTU representatives listed above to prepare a grievance, including:

a brief statement of the facts;

where appropriate, a reference to the provision(s) of the CBA alleged to be violated, and

the relief sought.

If there is no resolution after every possible effort has been made to resolve the dispute amicably, then a grievance should be filed with the principal within 14 days of the cause of the grievance.

Within 5 school days after a grievance has been filed, the educator and the principal should meet once more to attempt to resolve the issue. The educator has the right to be accompanied by a WTU representative. If the matter in dispute is not settled, the educator and/or the WTU representative shall submit to the Instructional Superintendent the date, time, place and persons involved in the meeting along with the original grievance. This document shall be signed by the educator and the Immediate Supervisor.

Stage Two:

Within 10 school days after the grievance has been submitted to the Instructional Superintendent, the educator and/or the WTU representative shall meet with the Instructional Superintendent. If no resolution is reached, or if this meeting does not take place, the grievance shall automatically move to Step One, Stage Three.

Stage Three:

Within 10 school days. If after the meeting(s) with the Instructional Superintendent do not produce a resolution, within 10 school days the educator and/or the WTU representative shall meet with a representative of DCPS’ Office of Labor Management and Employee Relations (LMER) in an effort to resolve the grievance.

If no resolution is reached, the parties may submit the grievance to voluntary mediation by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). However, there is only one hearing officer for DCPS, so it is likely there will be a long delay in receiving a ruling.

Because of the lack of mediators, most grievances that are not resolved by the time they reach Step One Stage Three, go to the office of the Chancellor.


Within 10 school days of receiving a grievance, The Chancellor’s designee for a neutral hearing officer shall meet with the grievant and/or a WTU representative. The hearing officer shall render a decision within 10 school days.


If either party is dissatisfied with the decision rendered at Step Two, it may take the matter to arbitration. The decision of the Arbitrator shall be final.


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