The Role of the Union Leader/Steward

As a Union leader, you are Local 407’s representative in the workplace. To many of
your co-workers, you are the Union, just as to many workers the supervisor is the
organization. For many members, you may be their only contact with Local 407.
A Union Leader must be an organizer, an educator, a mobilizer, a sounding board,
a communicator and a defender of the workers’ rights on the job.
What a Union Leader Needs to Know
KNOW THE CONTRACT

  • What is says, what it means, how it works
  • Where to find key provisions
  • How to get Contracts into the hands of members
  • How the Contract protects you and your co-workers
  • Examine based on your experiences, be prepared to recommend changes

KNOW THE GRIEVANCE PROCESS

  • Explore ways to settle problems without having to file a grievance
  • Know the where to find the grievance process described in the Contract
  • Follow the procedures carefully and be aware ,especially, of timelines

KNOW THE EMPLOYER’S POLICIES/RULES

  • Watch bulletin boards and other places notices are posted
  • Read the organization’s newsletters, emails and other communications
  • Have a current copy of the Employee and/or Employer Policies & Procedures
  • Know about any statutory rules/regulations impacting your industry

KNOW YOUR CO-WORKERS

  • Learn about their work and working conditions
  • Know the various departments, job classifications and other details of the sites
  • Keep an up-to-date email or phone list of co-workers to more easily mobilize
  • Know your fellow Union Leaders (or potential) Leaders

KNOW LOCAL 407’S POLICIES/BY-LAWS

  • Know Local 407’s Constitution and By-Laws
  • Know Local 407,s policies that impact the Membership
  • Know how the Union works

KNOW LOCAL 407’S PROGRAMS/ACTIVITIES

  • Where and when the Chapter Meetings and Assemblies takes place
  • Check on the www.local407.org website
  • Learn about Local 407 Committees

What a Union Leader Needs to Do

  • Attend Chapter Meetings and Assemblies to find out what’s happening and to participate in Union decisions.
  • Distribute Union Updates and other Union information
  • Listen to what members have to say and follow-up on issues
  • Hold regular meetings, even if it’s just an informal get-together over lunch or coffee
  • Talk to everyone in your work area at least every few weeks to ensure you’re on top of the issues
  • If you see a violation of the Contract or an injustice in the workplace, act on it—don’t wait for someone to complain
  • Represent all members fairly. It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s the law
  • Communicate with your staff Union Representative when you need help and support