Union stewards are a key to building our union's strength. Stewards are the eyes and ears of the union in the workplace - helping protect the rights of all workers and providing representation in meetings between management and a co-worker. Stewards are abasadors and greet new workers and help explain the union. Stewards help organize co-workers to stand up for themselves and each other.
More stewards means more strength in negotiations, more power in our State Capitol and Washington, DC, and more effective contract enforcement in workplaces everyday.
Helpful Steward Information
Meeting and greeting new members - Just saying hello and answering basic questions about the union can be very helpful with new co-workers. You should have a stash of "Meet and Greet Cards" so you can give one to each new co-worker with your name, name of the Union Rep for your worksite, and helpful contact information. If you are running out, contact your Union Rep and ask for more.
Keep in mind that new members receive a $25 credit on their initiation fee after attending a "New Member Meeting" during their first six months. Find out the nextnew member meeting.
Also, all members receive a 1/2 off one month's dues after attending a quarterly General Membership Meeting. Find out the next General Membership Meeting nearest you and let your co-workers know about it.
If a co-worker is asked to come into a meeting that may be disciplinary in nature, she/he has a right to have a representative with them - this is called a Weingarten Right. The union steward is often the person who can fill this role in a Weingarten Meeting. Here are some points to keep in mind for stewards in such meetings:
Ask Management to explain the nature of the investigation before the meeting begins.
- Exercise your right to speak privately to the employee before the questioning begins.
- Act as a witness in this meeting, not necessarily as a defense attorney.
- Take notes for future reference. Your notes can be invaluable.
- Ask clarifying questions to make sure the employee understands what is being asked, or if you think Management didn't understand the answer.
- Ask for a break if the employee is emotionally distressed.
- Ask Management to stop if they are badgering the employee.
- Object to improper questioning by Management.
About Steward Trainings
Steward trainings are held throughout the year. Trainings are for both those who are already stewards and those wanting to become one. Trainings are usually a full day of skills building and workshops. Trainees receive a specially developed Stewards Manual.
Once a year, UFCW 21 hosts our Stewards Conference for all stewards to gather, learn from each other, and develop skills, build deeper solidarity, and make connections with fellow union members from across the state.
If you are interested in becoming a steward or have questions, contact your Union Representative. Don't know your Union Rep? Click here to find their name and contact information.
Next Steward Training: TBA
You're invited to join fellow UFCW 21 members to learn how to become a successful union steward and make the union stronger. If you are already a union steward this is a great refresher class.
Topics to be covered include:
- Role of a union steward
- Legal rights of a union steward
- Solving workplace problems