If you’re looking for help with a workplace problem or concern, one of the best places to start is with one of your local’s stewards.
Stewards are active members of your local who are very familiar with your collective agreement and who volunteer to help co-workers and the employer ensure that the agreement is being adhered to.
Stewards are often the first people employees and employers turn to when there’s a problem in the workplace. They can often help settle simple misunderstandings or, if the problem is more serious, help initiate the formal grievance process.
The Steward is either elected by those that they will represent and then ratified at a Local meeting; or elected and ratified at a Local meeting. They can be appointed by the Chief Steward and ratified at the next Local meeting but that is only used in cases where the Local meeting is not happening in time, and the Steward needs to be appointed in the interim (e.g. for education purposes).
If you’re not sure who your local stewards are, contact us (424-4063, 1-877-556-7438, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Why become a steward?
Being a local steward is challenging but incredibly rewarding. You help ensure the employer abides by the collective agreement. You are a trusted co-worker who can help advise your colleagues of their rights in the workplace, and conscientiously listen and respond to members’ concerns. You represent your local in the workplace, and you are the person who co-workers will come to when they are having issues at work. Management may also come to you for clarification of their roles and responsibilities.
To be an effective steward, you need to know your collective agreement. You must be a good listener and able to keep co-worker information confidential.
A steward keeps your local chief steward and your employee relations officer in the loop, ensuring they are informed about complaints and potential areas of labour-management conflict.
You will be expected to attend your local meetings as often as you can.
How do I become a steward?
Stewards are chosen by their co-workers, and ratified by the membership at a local meeting. The number of stewards for your local will depend on the size of the workplace and the number of members. Stewards can be appointed by your local executive (subject to ratification at their next local meeting).
Where does a steward go for assistance?
You are not alone. Each local is required to elect as part of its executive a chief steward to assist stewards. The NSGEU offers courses to prepare you for the challenges of being a steward. And of course, stewards can contact head office at any time for further assistance: 424-4063 or toll-free 1-877-556-7438 or by email, email@example.com