Local 104

Integrity

Binge Poster
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.
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.
 

Phraust

Member
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.
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 by hearings you mean Center Levels(might be a local vernacular difference?) yes, I'm the Steward of Record/Sitting Steward more often then not, it's almost always just my BA as far as union reps go, the President makes RARE appearances(gonna say maybe 3 in all my years) if there's an issue in terms of general policy, like shortly after we first started running Saturdays 'normally'.

Been to a few panels, maybe 4, usually my grievances don't go that far and they're rarely held nearby, if I can make it I still attend ones for fellow stewards that have grievances being heard then but sitting is usually very limited which isn't how I've heard others describe how their panels are held.

File grievances all the time, been a bit slower due to Covid and less then ideal communication with my BA as sadly my center is seen as overly self sufficient and that often means we don't get the support we need when we ask for/need it. My center manager and I have a very...developed...relationship because of it(partly because most of the other stewards hate dealing with her and are all to happy to have me do it)

Xmas Parties and a few other holidays have been very hit or miss, I attended one New Years party right after becoming a steward and was told it's rare the local actually has one. They had a St Patty's party a few years back but there were only maybe 15 people that showed, mostly BAs and a few stewards I know from other centers/hubs in the area.

Shop Steward Seminars, yep, and while I am an active and vocal member I also pay attention, take notes and don't feel the need to ask the same question the last 2 guys did with slightly different wording each time so neither the President and/or Secretary-Treasurer have gotten into the habit of cracking jokes about my ability to pay attention.

I'd put money on the fact the President and Secretary-Treasurer recognize me as a steward, the Pres may even remember my name after my little bout of fame/infamy if he holds any sort of grudge but I doubt they could tell you what building I'm out of, how long I've been a steward or even how active I tend to be in the meetings/seminars/zoom conferences/etc.
 

Inthegame

Well-Known Member
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.
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.

As a steward, I once "witnessed" a hearing where a driver pulled a trl off a door that a sup re-entered after the driver shut the door. The driver got so worked up that he completed lost it and went off on the sup with language that would make a sailor blush.

So the butt hurt sup runs to the driver's manager to tattle. This new manager, ignoring the reckless behavior of the sup, decides the language the driver used was too much and informs the driver he's fired immediately. I asked the manager for a private word, where I agreed completed that no one should berate other employees like that. I then reminded the manager of an incident weeks earlier where this manager called me an "a#$hole" as he walked through the lunchroom, trying to be "one of the guys". I told the manager a little white lie that I had signed witness statements from others in the room who heard the exchange, that I'd be bringing along to our guys termination grievance.

The manager looked like he saw a ghost, and promptly reconvened the mtg where our guy was calmly told not to talk like that anymore and get back to work.

Sometimes special education is innate.
 

104Feeder

Phoenix Feeder
You have the right of the Union Steward of your choice as long as they are available. This means if all three of those Stewards are on property you can pick, but you can't delay until the Driver Steward you like gets in, for example, unless the Company is in agreement. If there is no Steward available the meeting cannot continue until one is, and another Bargaining Unit employee cannot be substituted for a Steward recognized by the Local. When you see "Steward or designated alternate" in Article 4, "designated alternate" is just a Steward who pays dues same as a member, in Locals that provide that benefit such as ours. A Steward has the duty of fair representation, which means they have to represent you (not witness) in disciplinary meetings and process your grievances regardless of your sex, color, creed, orientation, any personal bias, and regardless of whether you are a member or not. Sadly, the NLRB considers the Steward being present "fair representation". As a 23 yr Steward I couldn't imagine doing anything less than my best for any member. If I represent them fairly and vigorously I can always address exactly how they are F-ing up later and my words will carry more weight. If you are having this problem with a Local 104 Steward not wanting to represent you I would encourage you to contact his or her Business Agent or the Hall directly to sort it out. Stewards have lives and responsibilities just like anyone else but when they choose to step up and become a Steward it's not just when it's convenient.
 
Top