If you are filing grievances for even a very small portion of the violations that undoubtedly go on in your area then how is it possible that your Union officials don’t know you?I'm not gonna presume to know how your local or region handles things but I've been a lurker on this board long enough and talked with enough Teamsters/UPSers across the country to know there's a lot of different approaches to things. I don't belong to a very large preload by many standards, it's one of the smallest centers in the area and no where near what any of the hubs handle but I also know the reason we have 'so many' stewards is because there were issues with disputes between past stewards and general membership, and while I can't 'imagine' just how deep/far those disputes went as I've never been privy to the specifics but I did confirm today there were several cases where Steward X wouldn't represent Members A, B or C(and that wasn't limited to just one of the stewards, and of course some members refused to be represented by some stewards as well). Apparently the company and local had no issue with that at the time as there were other stewards available(whether or not there was a time when only the 'members in conflict' were available I couldn't determine). To the best of my knowledge there are no such issues currently but I do know a few of the more senior members have repeatedly voiced concern over being represented by a steward so new to the job(noting no steward in my building has less then 10 years seniority and 5 years as a steward)
But you're right, every member is entitled to fair and proper representation, but that doesn't mean every steward has to be able to give that to them. I've been put to use in a pinch to represent a few drivers and I openly admit my knowledge of the contract in regards to several hot driver topics/concerns isn't great, and not for lack of trying but simply because it's not something I 'have to deal with' enough to really get accustomed to it, does that mean those drivers were underserved or improperly represented at the time? Maybe, but I still did the job to the best of my ability and contacted my BA immediately after to ensure I didn't miss anything.
And speaking back to the differences there is a considerable amount of room for 'imagining' as the one thing I've heard from multiple BAs and the higher ups at my local is that stewards aren't supposed to be masters of the contract, simply informed enough to make intelligent decisions and 'interpretations' of the contract as it's needed of us. The same way all of us have to 'imagine' how the company holds a world class safety recognition and yet seems to do so little to keep us safe.
I mean being a witness is a big part of the job but I wouldn't say there's 'no special education or experience required', granted there likely are locals where stewards are nominated/voted in with next to no understanding of the job or contract but at least in my experience no one is considered for the role without at least showing some knowledge and interest in how things should work and are 'mentored' on that for a short time before their 'stewardship' begins.
I've been a steward for close to a decade now and I can ensure you my Executive Board barely knows me(the local's president might as I had the 'gall' to call him out on something during a demands meeting and was a bit famous/infamous for the next few meetings), and I'm easily one of the loudest and most proactive stewards in my building. I can't even say with confidence the other BAs that handle UPS know my name even though I know and have interacted with most all of them at times, either when they were sharing coverage of my building, covering for my BA(or the short time we didn't have a dedicated one), or at meetings/panels. Just a part of the differences we all deal with.
Even pre covid when I'd stop by and drop them off in person at best I'd see the receptionist and my BA, I'd always say hello to anyone I'd pass in the halls and if I knew exactly who they were(which was fairly common as it's not a huge local) I'd make sure to use their names. Out of all my halls visits though it's rare I see or even hear any of the Executive Board members.If you are filing grievances for even a very small portion of the violations that undoubtedly go on in your area then how is it possible that your Union officials don’t know you?
Don’t you go to hearings?
Have you ever gone to Panel?
Do you file grievances?
Does your local have a Christmas Party?
Does your local have Shop Steward Seminars?
I don’t understand.
There appears to be a disappointing episode in your past to come to such a jaded view of the position. While witnessing (and taking notes) is an important function of stewardship, it hardly describes a "good" steward.Some of you overestimate the role of the steward. A steward is a witness, nothing more. Still a cardboard worker- no special education or experience required. This person normally has the most days off in the center.