Goals of a Union Steward

The following twenty-five items will serve as a checklist for you. 
Refer to them as a guide in fulfilling your obligation as Union Steward.

  • Keep yourself informed on union affairs.
  • Serve as an example to your members.
  • Keep the members informed on union policies and union activities.
  • Attend union meetings and union affairs. Encourage and bring the members from your department. Don't chide members for missing meetings. Think of other ways to communicate with them.
  • Meet the new members early, inform them, educate them, help them become members - make them more than dues payers.
  • Get your location to act as a union - have them stick together.
  • Act as a leader - do not let personal likes or dislikes prejudice your actions as a grievance representative.
  • Fight discrimination, whether it be overt or very discreet. Discourage prejudice of any kind.
  • Keep accurate and up-to-date records. Write it down.
  • Do not promise, if you cannot deliver.
  • Encourage political action on the part of your members. See to it that they are registered and vote.
  • Be an active politically.  Encourage members to exercise their right to vote,  and to vote for labor friendly candidates.
  • Know how to refer to the union contract, by-laws, and international constitutions. If you are not sure, seek help so that you can become familiar with the documents.
  • Encourage and support the union's activities on behalf of organizing the unorganized.
  • Inform the membership of union services. Encourage them to take advantage of not only the services the union sponsors outright, but those that the union helps subsidize. If your local does not already have a community services representative, encourage the local in creating one.
  • Fight, whenever you meet it, the anti-union element. You can best do this by being informed and being dedicated to the labor movement.
  • Do not hesitate or stall. If you do not know, admit you do not know. Then try to get the answer.
  • Keep your workers informed on sources of information. Give pertinent information whenever a worker wants it.
  • In dealing with the management, remember that you are the elected or appointed representative of your fellow members. Never consider yourself to be inferior to management representatives. You are always their equal.
  • Be proud of your position. Remember you are a union representative of your local union which has the full support of tens of thousands of members bound together in an international union, with the support of millions of other union members.
  • Wear your union button and encourage your coworkers to wear it.
  • Investigate every grievance as if it were your own. Keep the member informed. Make sure you keep your deadlines. There is no excuse for missing a time limit. Research every grievance as if it were going to arbitration but try to resolve it at the lowest possible level. Keep your local union informed of the status of each grievance.
  • Attend and encourage attendance at any labor education program that might be available to you and your members.
  • Remember your goal is to be the best union representative you can be. Always strive for this goal. Excellence has no substitute.

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