No single guide can provide the inspiration or the recipe for union success. However, it can be a handy reference for some useful information and it can provide practical advice and answers to a number of basic questions. In your hands it can be a tool to help our union better represent our members.
This guide is organized into the following sections
- Brief introduction to Unifor
- The workplace representative’s role as workplace leader
- The workplace representative’s role in handling workplace problems and grievances
- The grievance process (investigations, writing and presenting grievances, documentation, arbitration)
- Common workplace issues (such as discipline & discharge, accommodation, human rights)
- Information on Unifor structures, programs & resources
There is a lot of good information in this guide, but mostly, you will learn by doing.
You aren’t expected to know everything all at once. Talk to other experienced workplace representatives, committeepeople and officers in your local union. They too have a wealth of knowledge, and most of them will be only too happy to share it with you.
Take advantage of other supports available to you – courses available through our Unifor Education Department; knowledge and skills of elected leaders and staff reps; current information on our Unifor website (www.unifor.org); and the experiences and guidance of your own members.
Terminology: Steward, Committee person, Workplace Representative
In various sectors of our union, workplace representatives go by different titles – including steward, district chairperson, district committeeperson, or just simply committeeperson. For simplicity sake, we will use steward and workplace representative interchangeably in this publication
Check your collective agreement to see what workplace representatives are called in your workplace. Your collective agreement will also outline how many workplace reps you have in the workplace and what their responsibilities are.