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10 Tips for Shop Stewards

As a Teamsters 987 Shop Steward, your job is to be a leader, an organizer, and an educator. You work on behalf of the union members to ensure their concerns are being heard, and in doing so, you help establish better workplace environments. Here are some tips to remember while engaging in your duties as a Shop Steward.

  1. Listen carefully

When dealing with grievances or other concerns, listen to you members very carefully. Don’t focus on what you want to say, but focus on what you’re hearing.

  1. Take notes

Always take detailed notes when meeting with a union member or an employer, as it is often easy to forget conversation specifics that seem insignificant at the time.

  1. Ask questions

Sometimes what we hear isn’t always what the other person meant to say. Always ask clarifying questions to avoid any miscommunication.

  1. Don’t ignore grievances

It is your job to represent your union members to the best of your ability. Always do your due diligence with every grievance that comes to you from a union member.

  1. Keep it professional

When dealing with union members and employers, remember to keep it professional. If you’re feeling angry or frustrated by a situation, always handle it calmly and respectfully in the moment and remember you can always reach out to your business agent for advice, guidance or support.

  1. Communicate carefully

We all come from different walks of life, and we all have different frames of reference. Because of this, Communication can often be complicated. Never assume that someone knows what you mean. Always clarify that what you are trying to say is what the other person is hearing.

  1. Don’t make it personal

When dealing with a grievance, do your best to keep your personal emotions out of the equation and stay as impartial as possible.

  1. Anticipate

Remember that there are two sides to every story. When listening to your union member’s grievance, try to anticipate what their employer might say about the situation. In doing so, you can ask the appropriate questions and stay one step ahead of the problem.

  1. Don’t act independently

Always remember that you work on behalf of the union member. Never approach an employer on your own terms and/or behind the back of your union member.

  1. Keep members in the know

Don’t forget to fill your union member in on any changes or updates in the process.

As a Shop Steward, you are a crucial member of the Teamsters 987 family! For more resources, or if you are interested in becoming a Shop Steward contact your local Calgary or Edmonton Union office.

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