SEIU is the parent organization of NAGE/IAEP. The following Steward information is taken directly from their website.
Your Role as Steward
As an SEIU/NAGE/IAEP steward, your job involves much, much more than handling grievances.
Grievances are important. They are often the most visible and dramatic aspect of the union’s presence. Sometimes they’ll take up most of your time.
But grievances should never be confused with your chief responsibility as a steward: to build a united, organized, and involved membership in your workplace.
Without this involvement and solidarity, no union in the world can protect and serve its members.
As a leader in the workplace, you’ll have your hands full. That’s because SEIU/NAGE/IAEP stewards are …
Organizers. This is the big one. It doesn’t just mean signing up new members, although it means that too. It means SEIU/NAGE/IAEP stewards are responsible for organizing the whole workplace to deal with problems as a united group.Which is, when you think about it, what labor unions are all about.
Problem solvers. You’re the person workers turn to with their problems. It might be a work-site hazard. Maybe someone’s been fired, or perhaps layoffs are threatened. It might be just a new employee with a question. Perhaps you can solve the problem with a friendly word, or maybe you’ll organize a worksite action or file a grievance. Problems don’t go with your territory. They are your territory.
Educators and communicators. The contract. The health insurance plan. What’s a “ULP”? How can I do this? Why did they do that? It’s a complicated world, and your members are counting on you to help them make sense of it. Equally important, your union officers are counting on you to help them keep in touch with your co-workers. You work with them every day. They don’t.
Worksite leaders. You’re the one who keeps it moving. You’re the one who’s not afraid to speak up to management. You make unity happen, and you never let anyone forget there’s a union at your worksite. (Nobody said this job is easy.)
Your Protections as a Steward
When you’re dealing with management on union business, you deal with the employer as an equal.
You can imagine how happy that makes them. That’s why the National Labor Relations Act and state labor boards specifically protect you (and other union leaders) from punishment or discrimination by managementbecause of your union activity. It’s illegal for an employer to:
- Deny you promotions or pay opportunities.
- Isolate you from other workers.
- Saddle you with extra work or unusually tough assignments.
- Deny you overtime opportunities.
- Enforce work rules unfairly against you or harass you with extra supervision.
Your contract may also spell out your rights, and perhaps you’re covered by state and local ordinances if you’re a government worker.
If your employer tries to discriminate against you in this way, it’s a violation of federal law.
Your Duties as a Steward (Not all apply to L167 Stewards)
No one can list all the different duties you’ll be asked to perform. What follows are some of the more important things SEIU/NAGE/IAEP stewards do.
Not all stewards do all things. Some unions elect negotiators and stewards separately. Some ask staff reps to handle the final steps of grievances. You’ll find these things out as you go along.
You don’t have to learn your duties all at once. And you’ll have more experienced stewards and staff reps to help you get started.
- Get to know all the workers in your unit.
- Greet new members and help them get oriented.
- Recruit and lead volunteers.
- Play a leading role in unit meetings. Keep the members informed. Help out with balloting, elections, and reports.
- Get committees going and attend committee meetings, guiding them when need be (and when possible).
- Keep updated phone, addresses and email lists of your members.
- Learn all the problems in the workplace.
- Investigate grievances.
- Interview members.
- Write and file grievances.
- Negotiate with management. This can range from informal talks with supervisors to arbitration hearings, formal contract bargaining, and labor/management committee assignments.
- Maintain files and records. (We know it’s boring, but it’s really important.)
- Keep updated address, phone, and email information on your members.
- Work on contract campaigns.
- Organize rallies, vigils, work actions, petitions, parades, demonstrations, and other activities. Big parades and demonstrations require marshals, and you’ll need to keep them briefed. (Wear comfortable shoes. Trust us on this one.)
- Work on newsletters, leaflets, press releases, picket signs, buttons, stickers, bulletin board displays, whatever.
- Attend steward training classes.
- Do a lot of different things with your union’ s coalition partners in the community.
- Inspect the worksite for health and safety problems. Know where the OSHA 2000 Log is posted. File federal and state OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) violation reports and accompany inspectors on site visits.
- You don’t have to do this all yourself. Don’t be shy about asking individual members to help you out. It’s one way to get them involved.
LOCAL 167 Steward Information
(To contact a steward please call the Bat Phone @ 763-614-6504)