10 Most Common Mistakes Union Stewards Make

A good Union Steward is many things – an organizer, a negotiator, a counsellor, a peacemaker and a troublemaker. But there are certain things that a steward should avoid at all costs.

Stewards

Here we explore the 10 most common mistakes often made by Union Stewards…

1. Fail to represent fairly
Not only does this leave the union open to being sued for breaching its duty to provide fair representation, it’s just not the right thing to do. It undermines the whole purpose of the union and the very idea of solidarity.

2. Make backroom deals
Management is notorious for trying to get stewards to trade grievances. “I’ll let you have this case if you drop the one we talked about yesterday.” Every member deserves a fair shake and every grievance needs to be evaluated on its own merit. Never agree to anything you would be uncomfortable telling your entire membership about.

3. Promise remedies too quickly
You’re hurting both the member and your credibility if you pass judgement on a grievance prior to a thorough investigation. Only after you have spoken to the grievor and witnesses and consulted the contract, the employer’s rules and past practices are you in a position to make that determination. Given the frequency of poor and mixed arbitration decisions, no steward should ever promise victory.

4. Fail to speak with new workers
The most important way a union gains the support of a new member or a potential new member is by one-on-one contact with the steward. You not only want to provide new workers with information, but need to build a personal relationship and begin to get them involved in union activities from their first day on the job.

5. Fail to adhere to time lines
Even the strongest, iron-clad case can be lost if the time line specified in your contract isn’t followed. Even if management agrees to an extension, it is not in the union’s interest to let problems fester and grow. If you do get a formal extension of time limits, be sure to get it in writing.

6. Let grievance go unfiled
Every grievance that goes unfiled undermines the contract you struggled so hard to win. While most members see changes and problems only in terms of the impact on them, the steward needs to be able to understand a grievance’s impact on the contract and the union as a whole.

RELATED: Automating the Grievance and Arbitration Management Process

7. Meet with management alone
When you meet with management alone, suspicions may arise as to what kinds of deals you’re making. It also allows management to lie or change its story. More importantly, when the steward meets with management alone, it takes away an opportunity for members to participate in the union and to understand that it’s really their organization.

8. Fail to get settlements in writing
Just as you should protect yourself by not meeting alone with management, be sure to get grievance settlements in writing. Putting the settlement in writing helps clarify the issues and keeps management from backing down on their deal.

9. Fail to publicize victories
Publicizing each and every victory is an important way to build your local union. This publicity not only has a chilling effect on the employer, but helps educate your own members on their contractual rights. It also gives you something to celebrate and builds the courage needed to carry on.

10. Fail to organize
Stewards are much more than grievance handlers. They are the key people in the local who mobilize the membership, and they must be talkin’ union and fightin’ union all the time. Each and every grievance and incident must be looked at in terms of how it can increase participation, build the union, and create new leaders.

YOUR TURN

Are you a Union Steward whose learned from experience? What can you add to our list? Sound off on the Union Built PC Facebook Page or on our Twitter or LinkedIn feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to the monthly #UnionStrong email newsletter for articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox. 

Advertisements

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Union Built PC and Collective Bargaining International Announce Strategic Alliance

Press Contact:
Pete Marchese
Union Built PC Inc.
877-728-6466
pete.marchese@unionbuiltpc.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Technology, Labor and Unions:

Union Built PC and Collective Bargaining International Announce Strategic Alliance

Agreement will empower Labor Unions with Digital Tools for Collective Bargaining and Real Time Grievance Tracking

VANCOUVER, BC / NEW YORK, NY (PHANTOM POWER MARKETING) March 2, 2016 – Union Built PC Inc. and Collective Bargaining International Inc. are the leading experts in Collective Bargaining and Grievance Tracking Labor Software. Combining the skill-sets of their respective teams and product offerings, both the companies and the Labor Industry stand to benefit.

“It just makes sense to make the Collective Bargaining process a digital one. We’ve literally tried to think of everything a union might need at the bargaining table and put it into Negotiator’s Advantage™,” says Fred Romanuk, CEO of Collective Bargaining Inc.

Union-Grievance-Arbitration-Negotiation-union-software-d2-DOWNLOAD-DTA“Negotiating the Collective Bargaining Agreement is the most important job of the Union. It is critical to the success of the Union and the representation of their membership. Our mission is the improvement of the collective bargaining process,” he adds.

This partnership also provides an opportunity for Union Built PC Inc. and Collective Bargaining International Inc. to work collaboratively on product development, marketing and software sales.

“We quickly recognized these opportunities beyond just our mutual teams. For example, the integration of Union Built PC’s Grievance Manager Application and Collective Bargaining International’s Negotiator’s Advantage Software creates an extremely powerful tool at bargaining and arbitration,” says Barry Diederich, VP Software Development of Union Built PC.

Collective Bargaining International Inc. has developed Negotiator’s Advantage™, a real-time, cloud-based, complete set of digitally automated collective agreement tools. A powerful Application that builds and tracks proposals and counter proposals, dramatically speeds up proposal research, development and automatically builds the MOA and Final Contract.

union-grievance-arbitration-management-brochure-downloadUnion Built PC Inc. developed their Grievance Manager™ Software in 2006, enabling the Labor Industry to track their Grievance, Arbitration and related documents in Real Time. Since then consistent updates and upgrades have been made to the software to keep the system current with evolving technology trends and customized to the needs of the Labor Industry.

The immediate result of this alliance means Union Built PC can resell Collective Bargaining International’s Negotiator’s Advantage™ and integrate it with Union Built PC’s Grievance Manager™.

“We are thrilled to be integrating Negotiator’s Advantage™ into our robust Grievance Manager software so we can offer our Union clients a totally integrated and comprehensive bargaining tool,” says Pete Marchese, CEO at Union Built PC, Inc.

“Our Mission has always been to help Unions excel, and this strategic alliance will give Labor a leg up during the critical collective bargaining and grievance and arbitration management process,” adds Marchese.

# # #

About Collective Bargaining International Inc.
Founded in 2014, Collective Bargaining International Inc. are the developers behind ‘Negotiators Advantage™’, Collective Bargaining Software.

The development of Negotiators Advantage™ represents the culmination of over 20 years’ experience in consulting with Unions to improve the Collective Bargaining process.

Negotiators Advantage™ offers a complete set of digitally automated collective agreement tools that dramatically reduces time needed on research and proposals. It is a “Quickbooks” for collective bargaining, automatic compilation of memorandum of agreements, and more.

Now, Negotiators Advantage™ is integrated with Grievance Manager™ from Union built PC Inc. Grievance data entered into Grievance Manager can be imported into Negotiators Advantage with a just a keystroke.

Negotiator’s Advantage Online 
Download the Negotiatior’s Advantage Brochure 
View the Negotiator’s Advantage Demo Video 
Collective Bargaining International on LinkedIn 
Fred Romanuk on LinkedIn

About Union Built PC Inc.
Founded in 2001, after dozens of years working in the labor field as members, officers, and activists, Union Built PC Inc. offers cutting edge IT innovations for Labor which allow Unions to bargain and represent their membership more efficiently.

Union Built PC’s Grievance Manager™ offers unions web-based software to manage grievance processes from start through arbitration. Each application is custom designed and coded to fit the client’s specific processes and requirements, allowing for both optimal practice and efficiency. Applications feature contract-specific input requirements, worker and other role-specific input screens, calendar-based email notifications of deadlines, online document storage and fine-grained advanced search.

Union Built PC also offers and services VOIP systems, network servers, desktop PCs, laptops, and Android-based touch tablets. Its clients include the National Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (NJATC), JATC training centers nationwide, as well as a variety of local unions across the USA and Canada such as IBEW, AFSCME, SEIU, CWA, USW, IAM, ILWU, AFT, CUPE, APOC and more.

Union Built PC is a completely unionized company.

The Union Built PC Website 
Download the Grievance Manager Brochure 
View the Grievance Manager Demo Video 
Union Built PC on Facebook
Union Built PC on Twitter
Union Built PC on LinkedIn
Pete Marchese on LinkedIn