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Notifies members of all relevant meetings and encourages attendance; Keeps members informed about actions of the executive board, grievance committee or other decision-making body of the Local Union; solicits opinions and communicates to the Local Union officers the feelings and concerns of union members on a regular basis; builds support for contract negotiations, executive board action and shop floor activities.
Explains to members their rights and how to exercise them; explains the contract, grievance procedure, health and safety and other workplace regulations and protections, internal union procedures, and relevant laws.
Welcomes new hires/members to the union; participates in the orientation process for new members that explains the union and the rights, privileges and benefits of union membership; mobilizes the members for tough grievance and contract fights; assists in internal organizing (in right-to-work states); assists in external new member organizing.
Speaks for the Union and acts as the representative at the workplace; represents all workers in the bargaining unit fairly and without discrimination; acts as the primary contract enforcer and works to make management live up to the contract; listens to worker complains; investigates, prepares, presents and writes grievances.
Works to resolve problems before a worker is adversely affected or before the situation escalates to a grievance; develops relationships of respect and trust among the membership; works to develop open communication with supervisors; refers workers with problems away from the workplace to the appropriate union, government, professional or community service agencies.
Duty 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 procedure.
- 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, unwinnable, lack evidence or supporting data.