Steps to being a union steward?

Discussion in 'UPS Union Issues' started by Sean1992, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. Sean1992

    Sean1992 Brownbagger

    How do I become a union steward? What are the steps? We don't even have a union steward in the hub just one in feeders who rarely even comes in the hub so he has no idea what's even going on inside.
     
  2. PiedmontSteward

    PiedmontSteward RTW-4-Less

    Depends on your local's bylaws. If no steward is present in your hub, then one should likely be appointed. I would go to your union meeting and find out who your Business Agent is. You'll need the support of your brother and sisters that work with you; a petition (filled out entirely off the clock and away from work areas) wouldn't be a bad place to start.

    "We, the undersigned, have worked far too long at the Exampleville UPS hub without a shop steward and desire rank and file representation. We request that Local 000 appoint Sean1992 as our shop steward. "
     
  3. Sean1992

    Sean1992 Brownbagger

    We do have multiple stewards there in feeder and shifter and can't be "tracked down" my question was more on how to become a steward though. Like a step by step process I'm only 20 and have worked for ups for 1 1/2 years can I even be eligible?
     
  4. InsideUPS

    InsideUPS Active Member

    PiedmontSteward is giving you good advice....... Normally stewards in our area are elected during contract time. For example....during our 2012 proposal meeting...Union Stewards were nominated and elected. In cases like yours, a simple petition like PiedmontSteward outlined is all that is needed. An extra part-time steward can always be added for the benefit of inside employees (assuming you are part-time).

    I highly recommend that you become familiar with the contract although you certainly do not have to memorize it. Contact your Local Union and set up a meeting with your BA (Business Agent). He will be your best resource and will ultimately be the decision maker in any grievances you may file. Your job as a Union Steward is difficult, often thankless, and depending on your demeanor....will often put you at odds with the company and/or the employee that you are representing. Believe me......it's not easy but it is rewarding when you are able to resolve workplace issues in an amicable and mutually beneficial manner.....
     
  5. PT Stewie

    PT Stewie "Big Fella"

    Be willing to have a big target on your back so management and also the rank and file can take careful aim at you.In all sincerity it is a thankless job but a great feeling when you help someone that truly deserves it.
     
  6. PiedmontSteward

    PiedmontSteward RTW-4-Less

    Any rank-and-file union member in good standing is eligible to fill the role of shop steward. As far as age, I'm probably one of the youngest stewards in my local. If you're able to learn the contract, confront management when they break it, and stick up for your union members age is only a number.
     
  7. Sean1992

    Sean1992 Brownbagger

    I know the contract pretty well, anything i would need On a day to day basis(3 1/2 management/employee relation,dignity and respect which rarely ever happens sups working grievance pay) stuff like that. I kind of already put a target on my back I guess your not supposed to tell your hub sup(the top dog) to stop sorting...who would of known? Thanks to all you guys for your replies I learned everything I needed
     
  8. Turmlos

    Turmlos New Member

    A little off topic, but how would you suggest a non-steward deal with a breach of the contract? Should we confront management or 'ignore' it and file a grievance later? I ask this because management has been performing a lot of bargaining unit work in our center lately. I have confronted them about it many times. I was even pulled aside once after confronting them and told "You need to keep working. If you have a problem, talk to me after the sort". I'm not sure what to make of that... I have only filed on them once, but I plan on putting in another tomorrow. Nobody else on the sort seems to care. In fact, I think some welcome/encourage it. I think part of the problem is that we don't have a PT steward. We have to rely on two FT stewards who are usually gone before the shift even starts.
     
  9. PiedmontSteward

    PiedmontSteward RTW-4-Less

    Let your paperwork do the talking and see about getting yourself or someone else appointed/elected as a PT steward for your shift. Talk to your fellow PT'ers on breaks or before/after the shift and see what they think. I do not recommend hourlies verbally confronting management about contract violations beyond a simple "You're not supposed to be working," etc. simply because of how easy it is to get riled up with supervisors that you're filing grievances on and later get nailed for insubordination. Work now (and as instructed), file later. Shop stewards have certain legal protections beyond that of a rank-and-file member that include being on the same level of authority as management; a steward can't be "insubordinate' if he/she is acting in the role of steward.

    Just be ready. When you really start writing them up, they'll respond. I've had my job directly threatened (by my division manager who wouldn't let me get a steward that was less than 20 feet away), I've been ignored (one FT sup wouldn't even acknowledge me for about 6 months and I worked for him), I've been moved to different areas within my classification so I can't see sups working, I've had people intimidated out of being a witness, I've had managers try to "bribe" me with extra time, etc.
     
  10. InsideUPS

    InsideUPS Active Member

    Once again... you are getting good advice from PiedmontSteward. Congratulations on being one of the few that is willing to actually enforce the contract language that we all pay dues for.

    Keep in mind that your ability to be an effective steward is only strong as your weakest link(s) (normally the BA and the employee you are representing). This is why I suggest you make contact with your BA (Business Agent). If your Local is fortunate and has a good BA (willing to enforce the contract...has not made "special deals" with management, etc).... you are in luck.. Your job as a steward will be much easier. If however your BA is ineffective and does not seem to support the contract, you are in for some difficult times. Regardless of the BA, you and the grieveant must become "psuedo-lawyers". Document...document..document. Dates, times, etc.. You and the employee you represent must go to the local level hearing prepared. Most new employees are extremely intimidated from filing and even more fearful the moment they are asked to present their case at the local level hearing. However, once YOU show other employees that you are not intimidated....many other employees will follow in your footsteps. The main point to remember.. a grievance is NOT a BAD thing. It is NOT an attempt to cause trouble... it is only a method of clarifying and enforcing the contract language...pure and simple.

    In regard to supervisors working, believe me... I have found that most management people do not really want to do physical work... they simply feel forced into it by the people that they report to. I have actually had some supervisors thank me for filing on "supervisors working". When you actually think about, supervisors working is equal to dishonesty. Why? Because production numbers become falsely inflated..... Dishonesty is a dischargeable offense in the contract. I have often wanted to file a grievance on supervisor dishonesty and ask that the supervisor be terminated for "altering" the actual production numbers... Although I know it would never happen, it would be interesting to see the reactions of the supervisors involved. In my mind...it's really a shame that supervisors feel the need to work when the company can hire someone for $8.50/hour with no benefits. Disregarding the contract language...shouldn't a supervisor be supervising? In addition to grievances....there are a number of other ways to address supervisors working which you will learn over time. I'm sure PiedmontSteward and other stewards on this site know what I mean.

    Best of luck to you....as more individuals like yourself are needed.
     
  11. Turmlos

    Turmlos New Member

    Thank you for the advice. I was not aware of steward protections beyond 'super seniority'. I shall keep my confrontations short and simple, but I will continue to file when I feel it is justified. My belief is that filing on anything under 20 minutes is just a waste of time for everyone involved, especially now with the ongoing contract negotiations. What are your thoughts about this? Our supervisors seem to work in one area for 20 minutes, then move on to a different area and work there for another 20 minutes, etc. I'm only willing to file on what I can see, and I can't see much beyond my work area. I doubt I could get any witnesses from other areas.

    Believe me, I'm ready. After filing that first grievance (3 sups working for 4+ hours) and seeing what other hourlies get away with, I'm not intimidated by our current management team. All talk, no action. They can threaten my job all they want, but not without a steward present. I know my Weingarten Rights. They can move me all they want (I wish they would!), but I doubt they will since I'm the only one that really knows how to do my job and they won't/don't know how to train anyone.

    I don't feel that I would make a good steward. I'm not a people person, and I hate talking on the phone. From what I understand, both of these skills are necessary to become a good union steward.
     
  12. Turmlos

    Turmlos New Member

    Interesting thoughts regarding dishonesty, and I agree wholeheartedly. They don't want to work, yet they want better numbers. Some people can only see in the short-term... They are screwing themselves.

    I have thought about filing a nametag grievance and telling everyone to file whenever they see a 'nametag' working, but that wouldn't really work on my shift. They do tend to dress in street clothes though. It is hard to differentiate them from a union brother/sister when they are working in a trailer.
     
  13. PiedmontSteward

    PiedmontSteward RTW-4-Less

    Supervisors working is highly, highly contextual and (like everything else) probably depends on a hub-by-hub or center-by-center basis. For example, I probably wouldn't write up a sup for clearing out the egress in a truck because it's a safety issue. But if the load was always getting blown out, night after night, and they were doing it to prevent having to assign another loader to the truck, that's a different story. My personal limit is ten minutes - I don't write up sups for covering for bathroom breaks (although technically any work they perform - unless required by a staffing problem resulting from "an act of God" ((not applicable in Local 705 because they have the best goddamn contract in the country)) is a violation) because it would lead to management harassing people for taking to long to pinch one off; besides, we (PT'ers) don't get paid breaks in my state because it's the :censored2::censored2::censored2::censored2:ing South.

    I'm not a people person and I hate talking on the phone but I learned to be more of a people person by necessity But if no one else is willing to at least stand up for the contract, you might be 'drafted'. :peaceful: Best of luck to ya and don't hesitate to drop me a PM on here if you have any questions.
     
  14. Inthegame

    Inthegame Well-Known Member

    My new job...get Piedmont elected Teamster General President in 2016!
     
  15. Turmlos

    Turmlos New Member

    Thanks again for your insight. Indeed, we are having the same problems night after night. They used to have hourlies that they shifted around to where the help was needed; now the supervisors are doing this work.

    Really? You would think the contract would supercede state law in this case, unless your local supplement is tailored to state law.

    I could never 'learn' to be a people person, but I could play the part from time to time. :wink2: Thanks for the offer, I might have to take you up on it sometime.
     
  16. Turmlos

    Turmlos New Member

    Well, looks like you were right. My BA is in Dallas for the negotiations so it will take a few weeks for it to become official, but one of the FT stewards said I got the job. This should be interesting.
     
  17. PiedmontSteward

    PiedmontSteward RTW-4-Less

    Congratulations. Keep some gravel in your belly and remember no matter what, someone is going to be unhappy with any decision you make, even if its the right one. I learned that little nugget from anonymous and wanted to pass it on.
     
  18. AZBrown

    AZBrown Teamster by choice

    Son, you haven't even started...
    Never stop learning
     
  19. AZBrown

    AZBrown Teamster by choice

    And your not a people person?
    And you hate talking on the phone?
    Yikes
     
  20. stink219

    stink219 Well-Known Member

    You need balls and a creative use of the contract. I had a target before a became steward. We all have targets on our backs. But your right about being a thankless job.