During the Industrial Revolution, trade unions were created to improve working conditions. Over the years, they fought for decent wages, safer workplaces, paid non-working holidays, and retirement benefits. Union stewards are individuals elected by members of the union and play an important role in representing worker interests.
For anyone interested in representing their coworkers, it’s important to understand the role of the union steward and unions. While moving union elections online has streamlined the voting process, the union's mission to protect workers’ rights has not changed.
Being a union steward means that you are the first point of contact between your fellow members and union leadership. In basic terms, union stewards serve as a bridge between workers and employers.
As such, it is essential to understand the various duties and responsibilities associated with this role. These include organizing meetings and rallies, handling grievances, negotiating contracts, representing members at hearings and meetings, and informing members about their rights under collective agreements.
In addition, some union stewards might be required to organize educational events for members to help them better understand their rights under labor laws or provide advice on workplace issues such as health and safety concerns or workplace discrimination. Engaging in public speaking events is something that stewards need to do.
To become a union steward, you must be nominated by the local branch of your union. If you want to hold elections, the online software offered by ElectionBuddy makes this process as easy as ever.
If workers are not organized, they may be wondering what it means to unionize a company, what the main benefits of belonging to a union are, and how difficult the unionization process is.
Unions provide greater job security for workers because their employer is obligated to act in accordance with fair labor practices as defined by collective agreements negotiated between employers and unions. This includes details such as minimum wage requirements and vacation time entitlements.
In addition, unions help create an environment where employees feel valued because they know that they have someone advocating on their behalf when needed. This can ultimately lead to better performance from employees, which can result in increased productivity levels for businesses as well as cost savings–a happy workplace equals effective and loyal workers.
There can be times when a worker feels like their union is not adequately representing their interests or those of fellow workers. So, what should you do if your union is not representing you?
You can start by contacting other members to see if they have similar concerns, so that you have support from like-minded individuals when voicing these issues. Additionally, you could consider running for an executive position within your local branch. Sitting on a union board would give you more direct influence over how decisions are made.
If all else fails, it may be necessary to seek legal advice from an external source to explore other options.
Being part of a strong workforce represented by a union offers unique benefits for both workers and employers. These benefits include having some job security and improving communication channels between employers and employees.
Being a union steward lets you play a valuable role in making this happen. In this role, you will need to explain the advantages employees enjoy when they join a union within their company.