who manages the domestic concerns of a family or institution…One
who superintends another's affairs…One who helps in
arrangements…Marshaling…An overseer… A
focus is to give assistance to our hundreds of shop stewards
who are helping hundreds and thousands of union members throughout
Local 830. We tip our union hats to you who serve your co-workers
and this office. You accepted the burdens of workplace leadership.
A position that is fraught with anxiety and frustration but
without glory, but is also a position that can be truly gratifying
as you help and assist your coworkers. That alone is our
reward for serving the membership.
position is a day-to-day activity of membership contact within
your shop. Uniquely, by this position you have the opportunity
to be on top of most situations that occur whether it is
the company violating the contract or whether the Union business
agent is unavailable to be there quickly.
members look first to their steward. You are most often available
on a daily basis, you have frequent and direct contact with
your union office and usually you have been in bargaining
and understand intimately the essence of the contract language.
Whether you are a new steward or one with years of true experience
you have a lot of people relying on you to protect their
interests and to enforce their labor agreement.
a steward you have distinct ROLES to fulfill:
Solver Leader Communicator
Problem Solver - Each of
these roles dictates a level of commitment that you have taken on to
be an effective steward. The problems that you encounter are not always
related to your current work situation or your labor agreement. Often,
a member may have an interpersonal problem that requires assistance by
outside experts. You need to know where and to whom to refer your co-worker
for the type of help that they may need. Our resource network is useful
here so become familiar with its listings.
As a leader it is understood that to lead by example is the
most valid way to receive the respect of you co-worker. Whether
it is in the quality of work that you personally perform
or the willingness to take on a problem for the member and
working it through the grievance procedure with your employer.
The giving of your time and lending a caring ear will earn
you miles of dividends from the member.
Communicating is critical. As your business agent strives
to make regular plant visitations for the purpose of knowing
the membership, so too is it important that you keep in touch
with the different members working in your building. During
negotiations and while processing a grievance, it is a particularly
critical time for communications. Updating the members as
to the bargaining process and status of his/her grievance
is vital and expected. Introducing yourself to new members
is the first chance to provide that individual with a proper
introduction to the union. You are the welcoming liaison
for new employees to their union.
As an educator, you will find it powerfully persuasive to
greet your new members as well as current members with the
information that they can relate to. Most often our stewards
have been with the company for many years. During this time
they have seen and been involved with a great many matters.
Such matters can be spoken to with great validity since you
lived through changes, grievances and of course bargaining.
Be generous with your knowledge, but do so unobtrusively
and with humility.
As an organizer, you will find need to do internal as well
as external organizing. Internally, it is necessary for the
members to reflect a solidarity in the eyes of the employer,
an image that shows that the union is alive and well in their
employees. A united front is always the only true way to
impose your desires on the employer. You know the different
types of power. (Perceived Power, Believed Power and True
Power) The behavior in the workplace strongly suggests to
the company that we take care and look out for each other
so beware! "Social Signal", that component of behavior
or dress that shouts solidarity without speaking a single
word. This might be the wearing of our Teamsters buttons,
hats or jackets. Externally, each and everyone of us needs
to be on the alert for good sound leads that we can use to
introduce our union to the non-union elements around us.
Often, our members know a friend or relative who works non-union.
As the non-union company competes with our union facilities,
they can't help but to undermine our wage and benefits levels.
Our union rates are much higher than non-union firms as a
rule and consequently, non-union firms undercut our companies
with lower bids on goods and services that they supply in
direct competition with you.
Role in Filing Grievances
most likely will be called upon to file periodic grievances.
This right is to be protected but not abused and good judgment
should be exercised in applying our responsibilities of
providing due process. To help assess the validity of a
grievance consider the following "Just Cause" standards.
Key Tests to Just Cause:
The basic elements of just cause which different arbitrators have emphasized
have been reduced by Arbitrator Carroll R. Daugherty to seven tests.
These tests, in the form of questions, represent the most specifically
articulated analysis of the just cause standard as well as an extremely
A "no" answer
to one or more of the questions means that just cause either
was not a satisfied or at least was seriously weakened in
that some arbitrary, capricious, or discriminatory element
NOTICE: "Did the Employer give to the employee forewarning
or foreknowledge of the possible consequences of the employee's
REASONABLE RULE OR ORDER: "Was
the Employer's rules or managerial order reasonably related
to (a) the orderly,
efficient, and safe operation of the Employer's business,
and (b) the performance that the Employer might properly
expect of the Employee?"
INVESTIGATION: "Did the Employer, before administering
the discipline to an employee, make an effort to discover
whether the employee did in fact violate or disobey a rule
or order of management?"
FAIR INVESTIGATION: "Was the Employer's
investigation conducted fairly and objectively?"
PROOF: "At the investigation, did
the 'judge' obtain substantial evidence or proof that the
employee was guilty
EQUAL TREATMENT: "Has the Employer
applied its rules, orders and penalties even -handedly
and without discrimination
to all employees?"
PENALTY: "Was the degree of discipline administered
by the Employer in a particular case reasonably related to
(a) the seriousness of the employee's proven offense, and
(b) the record of the employee in his service with the Employer?"
note of the basics when investigating a grievance. Ask the
WHO WHAT WHERE WHEN WHY WITNESSES
is everything. The sooner you look into a matter the fresher
it will be in everyone's mind. Being on top of things and
moving quickly to gather information is a virtue, but not
however at the expense of thoroughness. Be detailed as you
look into the concerns of the member. Who are the individuals
involved in the case. Write them down and gather statements
from them as appropriate. First hand information is strong,
second hand information is weak by comparison. What exactly
occurred? Remember, often times emotion will cloud the issue
so take time and get the details and repeat them back for
clarity. See what other members know about the case. Where
the violation or infraction occurred is sometimes persuasive
so be detailed. When will be important for a couple of reasons.
First of all the sooner we gather information the more accurate
it typically will be. But more importantly, we need to watch
the time elements contained within our labor agreements.
These time elements require certain processing steps in order
to properly move the grievance along and if we fail to watch
those time elements we could lose the right to grieve all
REFUSE TO FILE A GRIEVANCE -
WHEN IN DOUBT FILE
IF SHORT TIME PERIODS REMAIN - HAND-CARRY THE GRIEVANCE TO MANAGEMENT
why the grievance or event occurred and if appropriate what
provisions of the labor agreement are violated. If no contract
provision is obvious you can file anyway by explaining the
concern itself. Interview all known witnesses as soon as
possible and record their statements. Listen more than you
talk and repeat back to the witness and grievant what you
understand them saying.
all grievance matters are contract violations. Sometimes
there might be a violation of a company policy, state, federal
or municipal law, past practice, or a consequence of disparate
most grievance matters our stewards and the grievant are
encouraged to have a preliminary discussion with the first
level of management to determine if they understand the concerns
or alleged violation of either party. If this is unsuccessful
then a more formal step is to follow.
of Fair Representation for Stewards
Investigate all grievances fairly and fully.
Don't discriminate against your members.
Pay attention and adhere to the time limits in your grievance
Don't play favorites or act in an arbitrary manner.
Represent all members equally and in good faith.
Keep members informed.
Investigate, prepare and present grievances in an above-board
and professional manner.
Don't "horse trade" grievances. Handle each grievance
on its own merit.
Not all grievances are taken forward, particularly to arbitration.
Many are unfounded, without basis in contract violation,
un-winnable, lack evidence or supporting data.
Strategies for Stewards
member approaches the steward with a grievance. What should
Stewards need to listen carefully to a member's problem or complaint.
You might ask the member some questions and even have the member review
the facts more than once. The facts may change as more information is
Let the member know how you will proceed in investigating his/her claim.
Inform the members as to: time frames, delays, investigative steps,
relevant contract language, similar cases, etc. Be up front and honest.
Investigate all aspects of the case. Interview witnesses, fellow workers,
supervisors, etc. Ask questions and keep a record of findings.
FOUR: CONTRACT LANGUAGE
Review the contract for relevant language. Consult your business agent
if contract is unclear or silent on the issue. Check appropriate work
rules, laws, letters of understanding, etc. for possible violations.
FIVE: PROCEED OR WITHDRAW
you find a violation that may be carried further, you may
wish to set up a meeting with supervision on the matter.
efforts to have the grievant present to verify facts. Prepare
yourself and the member fully for this meeting. If no contract
violation exists you may have to set up a meeting with the
member and explain why he/she has no grievance. Be informative,
up front and honest. Always follow up and do not leave the
matter undecided. Share the discovered facts.
with supervision to attempt settlement of the grievance informally.
Settling at the lowest possible step is the preferred goal
of stewards. If the case is not settled, a formal grievance
may need to be filed.
SEVEN: WRITING A GRIEVANCE
Formalize the grievance in writing according to the policy and wishes
of your local union. Make sure all information is given on the form.
Other data may be submitted to your business agent on attached sheets
of paper. Make sure grievance forms are completed in full and legibly.
A steward must conduct himself/herself professionally at all times. Through
preparation, good performance and honest dealing with your members you
will be respected by your peers and management alike. Set a good example
for your members. Do your job well and perform your duties as a steward
with integrity. Throughout the grievance procedure, keep your members
informed every step of the way. Good communication builds trust.
of Conduct for Stewards
is nothing so persuasive for your membership to see than
being the example of what leadership should reflect. Look
to the following standards for your guide:
you have a link you would like to see
Send an Email to: Danny Grace
all else Fails...
Union Stewards Prayer
me, Oh Lord,
the genius to explain
to my brothers and sisters
the policies and plans
of our great union
even though no one explains them to me.
me the understanding
that I may forgive the apathetic member,
curb the overly ambitious member,
and accept the views of the member
who does nothing until I have done something...
and then tells me
what I should have done
and how I should have done it.
Lord, make me formidable in debate,
logical in argument
and fearless in confrontation.
Let me be a lawyer,
pleasing, cajoling, threatening, and belaboring
so that I make the best of a good case
and a good case from no case at all.
me, Oh Lord,
to stand at all times with both feet firmly on the ground ….
Even when I don’t have a leg to stand on.