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:
Objection: I can’t afford to join. I have a family to support and my check is not big enough.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Objection: I don’t need a Union. I get along just fine.
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.
Objection: Laws already protect workers, why would I need a contract.
California is classified as an at-will employment state. This means that an employer can terminate you for any reason and at any time of the employment with or without reason unless you have protections under a contract which states otherwise.
Objection: What’s the point of having a contract?
You deal with contracts every day and may not realize it. In fact, your employer has contracts with their suppliers, service providers, tenants or landlords, and dozens of other areas. When you do something as simple as sign up for a music service or rent a movie, you agree to pay a certain amount for their goods and services. Perhaps the most critical contract everyone should have is one which guarantees your work hours, pay, benefits and retirement.
For more information on becoming a Shop Steward please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (916) 786-0588.