A member approaches the steward with a grievance. What should you do?
STEP ONE: LISTEN
Stewards need to listen carefully to a member's problem or complaint. You might ask the member some questions and even have the member review the facts more than once. The facts may change as more information is given.
STEP TWO: INFORM
Let the member know how you will proceed in investigating his/her claim. Inform the members as to: time frames, delays, investigative steps, relevant contract language, similar cases, etc. Be upfront and honest. Don't make promises.
STEP THREE: INVESTIGATE
Investigate all aspects of the case. Interview witnesses, fellow workers, supervisors, etc. Ask questions and keep a record of findings.
STEP FOUR: CONTRACT LANGUAGE
Review the contract for relevant language. Consult your business agent if contract is unclear or silent on the issue. Check appropriate work rules, laws, letters of understanding, etc. for possible violations.
STEP FIVE: PROCEED OR WITHDRAW
If you find a violation that may be carried further, you may wish to set up a meeting with supervision on the matter. Make all efforts to have the grievant present to verify facts. Prepare yourself and the member fully for this meeting. If no contract violation exists you may have to set up a meeting with the member and explain why he/she has no grievance. Be informative, upfront and honest. Always follow up and do not leave the matter undecided. Share the discovered facts.
STEP SIX: MEETING
Meet with supervision to attempt settlement of the grievance informally. Settling at the lowest possible step is the preferred goal of stewards. If the case is not settled, a formal grievance may need to be filed.
STEP SEVEN: WRITING A GRIEVANCE
Formalize the grievance in writing according to the policy and wishes of your local union. Make sure all information is given on the form. Other data may be submitted to your business agent on attached sheets of paper. Make sure grievance forms are completed in full and legibly.
STEP EIGHT: CONDUCT
A steward must conduct himself/herself professionally at all times. Through preparation, good performance and honest dealing with your members you will be respected by your peers and management alike. Set a good example for your members. Do your job well and perform your duties as a steward with integrity. Throughout the grievance procedure, keep your members informed every step of the way. Good communication builds trust.
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