United by the belief in the dignity and worth of all workers and dedicated to creating a more just and humane society
■Now that you have a general idea of what stewards do, we can begin to talk about problems on the job and how stewards work to solve them.
Notice that we didn't say "grievances." Grievances are your last resort, not the first.
A grievance carried to arbitration is a lengthy, time-consuming, expensive, frustrating task that often ends up satisfying no one (except maybe the hired arbitrator we'll be paying). And units that simply go straight to grievance soon find their members expect "the union" to take care of everything.
So, what are all these problems you' ll need to help solve? Brace yourself.
Doretha says the crumbling stuff in the basement looks like asbestos.
If you're getting the idea that the whole work world is your turf, you're not far wrong.
But no matter what the problem is or who brings it to you, you always begin by doing three (and often four) things:
If there's a problem and we ignore it, then the union loses credibility, the contract is weakened, and every worker suffers.
But the same thing is true if the union jumps to conclusions and confronts a supervisor or files a grievance with faulty, false, or inadequate information.
Different problems require different strategies. Sometimes grievances involving an individual member's indiscretion—lateness, absence, errors in judgment require you to respect the person' s privacy. Other grievances require informing and involving the entire membership.
Get the facts. Analyze the facts. Determine a strategy. Mobilize the members.