UAW Local 2179

The Steward Behavior


How a Steward Behaves


 Behavior With Co-Workers

  1. Be Positive. Even if your workplace is a living nightmare, you should be a living example of one of the basic principles of unionism: collective actions lead to improvements for all. This means you keep your own griping to a minimum and when you hear out the gripes of your co-workers, steer them away from whining and towards solving the situation. For instance, "You are right about the heat in this office. what should we do about it?"

  2. Be Available. Set a schedule for when you can meet with people. That schedule should be sensitive to the shifts and locations of the co-workers you represent. Your co-worker should also be given an emergency phone number to reach you or someone from the union.

  3. Be respectful and evenhanded in your treatment. The steward must legally represent everyone covered by the contract - members and non-members, union loyalist and anti-unionists alike. Your fairness - even with difficult people - will speak volumes for the union.

  4. Use Your Power Appropriately. Your authority comes from the members, so use it well or they can take it away. Practice sharing power by getting others involved in the work of the union.

  5. Treat Victory As A Union Victory, Not A Personal Victory. Eventhough the victory came about mostly because of your hard work, treat it as more than just your own achievement. When you get others involved in grievance handling or supporting the bargaining committee, it's natural to share in the glory.

  6. If You Don't Know, Admit It. Your are not expected to know everything. Investigate and get back with the information in a timely way.


Behavior With Management 

  1. Use Be Positive But Not Cozy. Maintain a "can do attitude. The union is not a group of whiners - it's a powerful group that works hard because its members are about the product they make or the customers they serve or the service they perform. If there are problems, the union is ready to get them solved and be responsible for carrying out its role according to the contract. AND the union expects the same from management.

    Your relationship with management is a working one. It can be cordial, but not cozy". You normally would not be lunching and socializing with them or accepting special benefits or privileges that they might try to throw your way.

  2. Be The Boss Of Your Emotions. An even temper will get you far, but there will also be times you'll be more effective if you act angry. That choice should be yours based on what is most effective in the situation. Do not allow yourself to be provoked by managers or baited by members "to get in the boss's face."

  3. Be A Little Mysterious. Management does not need to know your life story, or the extent of your experience and skills. Keep them guessing - there may be a time when your secret skills give you the upper hand.

    If you have a situation and you are not sure how to act, think about some of the role models. What would they have done? Choose the behavior that you think makes the most sense and people will appreciate your integrity. 


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