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May 09, 2006

Since the creation of our Shop Stewards Program in 1985, hundreds of UFCW members have stepped forward to assume their share of the responsibility for the progress of our members.

Our Shop Stewards now make an important contribution to the overall education and communication with the members throughout our vast jurisdiction. New members especially are not fully aware of their rights under the various collective bargaining agreements negotiated and enforced by this Union.

You serve in what is now the largest Union in Northern California and one of the largest in the world. We continue to grow and it is as crucial to our success as ever that all of our members become enlightened men and women who will stand up and fight for what they have worked for and earned.

I congratulate you and thank you for doing your share to strengthen our alliance of workers dedicated to achieving their fair and equitable goals through maximizing the principles of the Trade Union Movement.

This uniquely great Union belongs to each of us, but it takes our ongoing dedication and hard work to protect and improve what we have achieved together.

It is my pleasure and my honor to work with you in service to the wonderful members we are so privileged to represent. 

With warm personal regards, 

Fraternally and respectfully,President Jacques Loveall, UFCW 8 - Golden State

Jacques Loveall
International Vice President



For more information on becoming a Shop Steward please contact us at or (916) 786-0588.

May 09, 2006

A Steward acts as a two-way expediter of information from the Union to the members, and vice versa. Members rely on Stewards for accurate, timely information about what's going on in their Union, and every Union needs reports from its Stewards about the views of the members.

Being a Steward is an interesting and vital job. It is often called the most essential job in labor-management relations.

Effective Stewards are men and women who've earned the respect of both members and management. They can often mean the difference between harmonious, cooperative relations between the Union and management and relations characterized by acrimony and unresolved problems.

Leadership on the Steward level also can make a difference in the strength of a Union. Stewards who communicate with the members and accurately report back to the Union on members' views can make the difference between solidarity and disunity.

Satisfaction in helping others is the only reward. But for the members who serve as Stewards, there is no higher reward. Below are some common concerns our Stewards hear from co-workers and some appropriate responses:


I can't afford to join. I have a family to support and my check is not big enough.

Possible Answers

  1. You can't afford not to belong to a Union. It pays in the form of job security, better wages, and improved benefits covering you and your family.
  2. Everything of value has a price. What you should do is compare the value of your benefits, increased wages, and working conditions with the price you have to pay for them. I am sure you will agree that the Union dues are a sound investment.
  3. Did you ever stop to think how much less you would be making if it were not for the Union? I am sure neither you nor I could afford to work for a company that did not have a Union. If it were not for the Union, wages would be far less than they are now, with little or no benefits.


I don't need a Union. I get along just fine.

Possible Answers

An individual without proper training cannot possibly represent themselves and such an individual is much too vulnerable, simply because he/she doesn't know his/her rights under the law and the contract.

For more information on becoming a Shop Steward please contact us at or (916) 786-0588.


Steward Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

May 09, 2006
General Duties of a Shop Steward

The following items, we hope, will serve as a checklist of the duties that you should perform as a Shop Steward:

  1. Keep yourself and the members informed on Union policies, activities, and current events. Study the labor newspapers and magazines available to you. Post only authorized Union information on the store bulletin board.
  2. Attend and encourage attendance at any labor education programs that might be available to you and the members.
  3. Attend Union meetings and Union affairs and bring the members from your store. Get your store to act as a unit - have them stick together.
  4. Give the members the satisfaction of listening to their problems; however, do not make any promises or commitments to a member.
  5. In keeping with the policy of your Union, discourage discrimination and prejudices of any kind. Do not let personal likes and dislikes prejudice your actions as a Shop Steward.
  6. Inform the members of Union services. Encourage them to take advantage of these services and refer them to the appropriate department at the Union Office.
  7. You should actively support those approved objectives which are favorable to your Union. You should report the activities of any person or persons which are detrimental to your Union.
  8. Encourage political action on the part of the members and their membership in support of the Active Ballot Club. Become a member and an active supporter yourself. See to it that members are registered and vote.
  9. Encourage and support your Union's organizing programs.
  10. Report items of general interest (including pictures) to the editor of the UFCW 8 "Voice of Action."
  11. Be proud of your position. Remember you are a Shop Steward of your Union with a membership of more than 30,000 which has the full support of hundreds of thousands of members bound together in the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
  12. Remember your objective and goal is to be an effective Shop Steward in your store. Always strive for it. Excellence has no substitute.


Specific Duties of a Shop Steward

The duties outlined below shall be subject to the individual instructions of the District Union Representative for your store:

  1. Welcome the new hires. Inform, educate, and help them to become to better members, not just dues-payers.
  2. Report possible contract violations within the proper time limits to your District Union Representative. The Shop Steward should in no way jeopardize his or her position by trying to arbitrate or solve contract problems between Union members and management.
  3. Provide employees all necessary forms, such as Health and Welfare claim forms, Withdrawal Card request forms, Change of Address forms, Grievance Claim of Hours forms.
  4. Advise all members not to submit to a lie detector test.
  5. Advise all members not to talk to security agents without having a District Union Representative present.
  6. Keep an up-to-date record of employees and their phone numbers.
  7. Post membership meeting signs and encourage attendance. Remember, membership meeting attendance is not spontaneous and the degree of attendance will be proportionate to your enthusiasm and efforts.
  8. Post "Don't Go Suspended" signs. It is extremely important that no member be more than two (2) months in arrears in their dues.

For more information on becoming a Shop Steward please contact us at or (916) 786-0588.

May 09, 2006
You Can Refuse Dangerous Work If...
From the Office of Assistant Secretary of Labor
for Occupational Safety and Health

No American worker should have to choose between his job and his life.

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld rules issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which say that you have the right to refuse a dangerous work assignment ... if you meet the following conditions:

  1. You have reasonable belief, based on what you know at the time, that there is a real, imminent danger of death or serious physical injury. If you have good reasons that other reasonable people would recognize, you may refuse the task even if it is later found that there was no imminent danger.
  2. If you have asked your employer to eliminate the danger and he or she failed to do so.
  3. The danger is so imminent that it cannot be eliminated quickly enough through normal OSHA enforcement procedures.
  4. You have a reasonable alternative.

If your employer takes action against you for refusal and OSHA and the Federal Courts must later rule on your case, they will look carefully at the facts to see whether you have met these conditions.

Therefore, it is a good idea to follow, if possible, certain steps if you must refuse unsafe work:

  1. Talk to others and your Union Representative about the hazard. It will help your case if you tried to get other views.

    If they agree with you, it may strengthen your case since the danger must be one that other reasonable people would recognize.

    If they don't agree with you, you may want to take their view into account. If your opinion has a reasonable basis, however, the law can still protect you even if others disagree with you.

  2. Calmly tell your supervisor exactly why you think there is danger and ask that it is fixed.
  3. Make it clear to the employer that you are refusing the assignment because of imminent danger and not for any other reason.
  4. Offer to do the job once it can be made safe and to do other work in the meantime.
  5. Do not leave the job site unless ordered by your employer.
  6. Call OSHA at the first opportunity. If the danger is really imminent, OSHA needs to know about it so the problem can be resolved.

If you refuse dangerous work under the conditions described above, you cannot be punished or discriminated against by your employer. That means, for example, that you cannot be fired, demoted, denied benefits, or given a less desirable job assignment as punishment.

If you believe that you have been punished or discriminated against for this reason, file a complaint with OSHA within 30 days of the time you learn of the punishment. OSHA will investigate, and if necessary, can go to court to restore your job, earnings or benefits. If that happens, you will not have to pay any legal fees.

If you refuse dangerous work, you may be protected under the National Labor Relations Board law's also. This is especially true if you refuse in cooperation with or on behalf of other workers.

If you have been punished for refusing work, contact OSHA to discuss your case. You may want to also contact the National Labor Relations Board.

To contact OSHA look in your phone book under the United States Government, Labor Department, Occupational Safety and Health Administration or write to OSHA Headquarters, 395 Oyster Point Blvd., So. San Francisco, CA 94080; telephone: (415) 972-8500. You may also visit their website at

The Sacramento District Office phone number is (916)263-2800.

For more information on becoming a Shop Steward please contact us at (916) 786-0588.

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