What Are the Duties of Shop Steward?

A shop steward is a union’s on-site representative.

What Are the Duties of Shop Steward?

BROOKLYN, NY (Workers World Today) — An organized labor needs a shop steward. A shop steward is the bridge between management and union members, the go-to person to address the needs of the workers. In some unionized workplaces, however, the shop stewards are accused of siding with management and failing their duties as advocates of workers. This may arise due to a lack of understanding what the shop steward duties are. What exactly are the duties of a shop steward?

Here are some of the most important duties to serve as a shop steward in unionized workplace:

Organizing Meetings and Welcoming New Employees

A shop steward is required to organize meetings of employees who are union members. The person has to prepare meeting agenda and run meetings, answering labor related questions that members ask. The shop steward also welcomes new employees and is the first union representative that a new employee gets to know. The shop steward has to explain to new employees the management-union relationship and what the union can do for them.

Facilitator and Mediator

Once elected, the shop steward is the point of contact between management and union members. The best shop steward takes advantage of leadership training programs to act as an effective leader, negotiator and mediator advocating for the interests of workers.

Providing Information

A shop steward is a union’s on-site representative. The individual is responsible for keeping union members up-to-date with union news and policies. The shop steward must provide accurate information regarding union policies and benefits. The shop steward must also inform union leadership about new changes in the workplace.

Handling Grievances

Should an employee file for a grievance, the shop steward is the first responder. She is expected to be knowledgeable about the collective bargaining agreement between an organization (company) and its employees, helping employees resolve their grievances and mitigating disputes.

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