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STEWARDS TRAINING 1. Making a Difference in Your Workplace. WELCOME. The Union is every member’s job James Starr, Chair UPE Board of Directors Challenges in our changing workplaces Sandra Poole, Executive Director, UPE. How did you get here?. A tale of two unions UPE and PEU

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stewards training 1


Making a Difference

in Your Workplace



The Union is every member’s job

James Starr, Chair UPE Board of Directors

Challenges in our changing workplaces

Sandra Poole, Executive Director, UPE

how did you get here

How did you get here?

A tale of two unions UPE and PEU

Strength in Unity – The 005 unit

Courts move out and up

Newest members- Court Professional Unit

independent and proud of it

Independent and Proud of it!

What does it mean to members for UPE to be “Independent”?

Local Control

Dues money spent here

More representation

No Article XX ‘protection’

union structure
Union Structure
  • Members

Ultimate authority and responsibility

  • Bargaining Units Divided in Chapters

Board members elected by members in chapters

Chapters designed to be democratic, representational

Each unit divided into chapters

  • Boards


Policy makers


Number of seats proportionate to members

county bargaining units

Office Technical

2 Chapters

11 seats

Chapter 1

OAs and SOA

Six on Governing Board

Chapter 2

All other classifications

Five on Governing Board


Welfare Non Supervisory

2 Chapters

10 Seats

Eligibility Chapter

All classes related to eligibility determination

Six on Board of Directors

Services Chapter

Classes related to direct services

4 on Board of Directors

County Bargaining Units
court bargaining units
Court Office Technical

4 Chapters

11 seats

Courtroom Clerks

Two on Governing Board

Court Reporters

Two on Governing Board

Deputy Clerks

5 on Governing Board

Specialized Classes

2 seats

Court Professional

2 Chapters

4 seats


Three on Governing Board

Probate Investigators

One on Governing Board

Court Bargaining Units
joint committees

Joint Committees

Meet and Confers/Negotiations

Stewards Council

Political Action Committee

Workload Policy

Labor/ Management

Health and Welfare Coalition

structure overview

Structure Overview

How is policy set?

Who can attend Board meetings?

How do you get on a Board?

How do you get on a Committee?

Why is it important for members to attend Board meetings?

basic rights of public employees


“Rights unexercised

are essentially lost”

basic representation rights
Basic Representation Rights
  • Weingarten – the right to be represented
  • “Skelly” – the right to due process in discipline
  • MMB – The right for County employees to participate in union/ negotiate
  • TCEPGA The right for Court employees to participate in union/ negotiate
  • Right of union to represent members
    • Laws
    • Contracts
members have rights under protective laws

Members Have Rights Under Protective Laws

Stewards learn about protective laws through Stewards Council

They include: FLSA, FLMA, ERISA, ADA, EEOA, CFRA, Title Workers Compensation,

rights overview

Rights Overview

What rights do you have as a public employee?

What rights do unions have?

How do you exercise those rights?

What obligations do stewards have?

making a difference in your workplace

Making a Difference in Your Workplace

Who would you go to if you had a problem at work?

What would you expect from him or her?

what is a steward

What is a Steward?



Resource person


Record keeper


a few dos and don ts
A few DOs and DON’Ts
  • Do listen
  • Don’t make promises
  • Do Investigate
  • Don’t gossip
  • Do keep the grievant informed
  • Don’t ‘blow off’ someone’s concerns
  • Do keep accurate records
  • Don’t meet with management alone
steward overview

Steward Overview

What kind of Steward do you think you’d be?

Can you make a difference in your workplace?

How do you get coworkers to trust you?

political action and the union

Political Action and the Union

Electing your Bosses!

Negotiated salaries and benefits are often impacted by legislation

Labor Laws made or changed

upe political action committee

UPE Political Action Committee



Decision Making

Employment related Criteria

  • The California Independent Public Employees Legislative Council is an organization of independent public employee labor unions in California. CIPELC is comprised of independent public employee labor unions representing over 65,000 public employees.
  • CIPELC has provided both large and small independent unions with the resources to grow and thrive as representatives of public employees.  The commitment on the part of CIPELC unions to the independent movement is firmly embodied in our leaders continued willingness to help each other. CIPELC affiliates remain ready to provide any level of mutual aid to assure independent unions a strong future.
  • Learn more about our legislative program at
problem solving

Problem Solving

Most issues that come up can be handled by the Steward

Most issues can be resolved

identify problem investigate research determine action and remedy act record report follow through
Identify problem



Determine action and remedy


Record / Report

Follow through

Problem Solving in the Work place
identify the problem
Identify the Problem
  • You may learn about an issue from
    • Your own experiences
    • A co-worker reports it
    • A manager or supervisor announces it
    • New policy or procedure
    • Rumor mill
  • Questions you might ask
    • What happened?
    • What is the impact
    • What was violated? Policy? Contract? Law?


Find out what really happened

Was any thing put in writing? Get copies!

Were there any witnesses? Interview them!

Why was this done? Ask the source.

Take notes, take photos.

Never assume you know – Check it out!

Read the contract

Read the policy

Ask other Stewards or Chief Stewards

Ask ‘old timers’

Ask Business Agents

Review past related grievances or arbitrations

make a determination
Make a Determination
  • What is the appropriateaction and remedy?
  • What recourses are available?
  • What can be done?
  • What is the process?
  • What does the member want done?
  • Are there others involved to consider?
  • Do you file a grievance, an unfair, a complaint?
  • What do you ask for as a remedy?


Once you’ve determined the proper course of action: DO IT!

And do it TIMELY

record and report
  • Keep accurate records and notes of all your meetings
  • Keep the name and contact information for grievant
  • Keep contact information of potential witnesses
  • Make sure the UPE office receives copies of all grievances
  • Inform your Business Agent when you file a grievance, it may be part of a pattern of violations.
follow through
Follow Through
  • Make sure that you get back to the member with the results of your investigation and your determination of whether or not there is a grievable issue.
  • Keep the member informed each step of the way and provide him/her with copies of documents.
  • Don’t drop the ball on a grievance
  • Let your fellow Stewards and members know the outcome!
overview solving problems
Overview Solving Problems
  • Is it okay to solve issues informally?
  • Are there times when you need to put it in writing?
  • What remedies are hardest to get?
  • What if it’s a ‘member to member’ problem
  • Can you just wait for problems to come to you?
  • Remember each situation is unique. Don’t take a ‘cookie cutter’ approach.
  • Members lose confidence if you don’t communicate with them.


What is a grievance?

What is a complaint?

What if its not a grievance?

What about problems between members?

grievance steps and time frames

Grievance Steps and Time frames

You must follow the steps in the contract

You must use the form provided

You must act quickly

Grievance is denied if late

Each Contract sets time frames

grievance overview

Grievance Overview

What kinds of problems might you solve with a grievance?

What can you tell a member when their issue isn’t grievable?

What other actions might you take to solve a workplace problem?

grievance practice


Each group is to evaluate each scenario

Use the form to follow the steps to determine what action you would take

Research the Contract sections

Report back to the group what you decided and why

practice scenario 1
Practice- Scenario 1

Your coworker, Bob, just came to you and is fuming mad at his supervisor. Four workers in his unit were authorized to work overtime for Saturday due to high workloads. His supervisor, Nancy told Bob that he couldn’t work overtime because the union contract said he couldn’t work overtime because in a week he was on vacation.

Bob knows this is wrong, and he feels the supervisor always singles him out. He feels the only solution is to have the Supervisor fired, or at the very least moved. And of course he wants to be paid the OT since he WOULD have worked if his supervisor hadn’t been such a jerk.

scenario 2
Scenario 2
  • Al promoted to a Senior Office Assistant two years and a half years ago. He just realized that his pay has been wrong all this time and they owe him money. He talked to someone in payroll and they said they were “Sorry” but that all happened when they were having so many problems with Compass. He wants all of his money plus interest. He thinks they should have to pay his late fees on his bills too, since he could have paid on time if his employer had paid him correctly. “I pay dues” says Al. “I demand you do something now! I want my money today!”
overview of training
Overview of Training

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And Most of all…..

thank you


Thank you for using your precious time to learn more about the union, your rights, and how to protect yourself and your coworkers.