A steward is a Union member charged with the responsibility of representing members of a labor organization. If any employee has an issue, problem, concern, or comment about working conditions, mangement, or an employee, they should contact a Steward. A Steward will uphold and enforce the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Stewards can be the voice of the employees. You do not have to "deal" on your own call a Steward. Any and all employees can seek help from a Steward.
Employers sometimes assert that the only function of a steward in a PDC (Pre-Disciplinary Conference) is to be a silent witness. This is wrong! The steward has the right to counsel an employee during the interview and assist the employee in presenting the facts.
· Before the conference begins, the employer/supervisor must inform the steward and employee of the subject matter which is being investigated.
· A steward has the right to meet with the employee privately before the PDC begins. The relationship between a steward and employee is confidential and management cannot force a steward to reveal anything the employee tells them.
· A steward may speak during the PDC but may not obstruct the questioning.
· A steward can interrupt to object to a question or request a clarification of the question so the employee understands what is being asked.
· A steward can advise an employee not to answer questions that are abusive, misleading, badgering, confusing or harassing.
· When the questioning ends the steward can provide relevant facts and information to justify the employee’s behavior.
BE SURE TO CHECK YOUR CONTRACT AND YOUR AGENCY’S POLICIES FOR ADDITIONAL STEWARD RIGHTS AND DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES.
BEGINNING THE INVESTIGATION
Ø If you are a state employee covered by the Master Agreement then you must first secure permission from your immediate supervisor to investigate the grievance. Otherwise check your contract for your rights to process grievances during work hours.
Ø Meet with the grievant. Take accurate notes of all events surrounding the grievance. Be sure to get names of witnesses both union and management. Secure a witness statement from the grievant.
Ø Thoroughly examine any contractual provisions that may be involved. If you have any questions, ask your Chief Steward or District Council Rep.
Ø Complete the investigation by interviewing and obtaining witness statements and copies of any and all documentation you need to prove your case.
FILE THE GRIEVANCE
Ø Fill out the grievance fact sheet. Be sure to list all of the documentation & witness statements you have gathered. You should have on the fact sheet the “Who? What? When? Where? Why?”
Ø Fill out the grievance form making sure you cite any and all contractual provisions that apply by their article and section.
Ø Obtain a grievance number from your District Council Office and include it on the fact sheet & grievance form.
Ø A separate file should be kept for each grievance that should include a copy of the fact sheet, the grievance form, witness statements, documentary evidence, any notes taken by the steward and copies of all subsequent correspondence.
Ø Send only the blue copy of the grievance to the appropriate management representative within the time limits for filing the grievance. All evidence will be shared with management at the first step hearing.
Ø Send the fact sheet, the yellow copy of the grievance, and all evidence to your Council Staff Representative. Retain a copy of the same in your file folder.
NOT A GRIEVANCE?
Ø If after you complete your investigation you determine that no grievance exists, contact the grievant and explain what was reveled through your investigation and why you feel it is not a grievance.
Ø If the grievant insists on filing the grievance, do so and inform your District Council Staff Rep. That the individual insisted it be filed.
Ø While the issue at hand may not be a grievance it may be a legitimate issue for a labor / management meeting.
ALWAYS KEEP THE GRIEVANT INFORMED OF THE STATUS OF THEIR GRIEVANCE
The Union needs individuals to represent their fellow employees and the Union as a whole. The West Shore School District a big place to work. Many employees only have contact with fellow employees in the same location. The Collective Bargaining Agreement is an enforcable document District wide.Every building, employee, manager, supervisor, etc... that is in the District is affected by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Everyone should be treated with the same rights and respect. If one building, employee, manager, supervisor, etc... does not follow the Collective Bargaining Agreement, we need Stewards to step up to enforce. We need people to report issues, but it is just as important to have a Steward that is easy to be contacted. If we can get a Steward in every building, than every building's employees have a close person to reach if an issue arises. The person may also be more familar with an issue because they are in the same building. Being a Steward sounds like it is hard. But if you are the type of person who can listen, research, and talk to most anyone, you can learn to help your fellow employees. Training to be a Steward is free and easy. You can be come a Steward and stop being a Steward at anytime. Contact any current Stewards for information on how to become a Steward yourself.
Rumors and talk come up all the time about the Union and District. If you hear anything that you are not sure about please don't spread it. Call a Steward, so they can research the item. The Steward will find out the truth and report back to you. Rumors and stories can start by anyone. We all need to communicate with each other in a way that is proper and appropriate for the situation. Bulletin boards are being setup, email accounts are being collected, meetings are being arranged so all Support Staff Employees have a chance to get the truth and facts. Please remember that we all have to unite in order to maintain a good work environment. Someday we all will have a GREAT work environment. Things take time to work out. NO ONE IS ALONE ANYMORE.