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What are the duties of shop steward?

Updated February 21, 2017

The shop steward in a union workplace is the representative of the union position for all workers in the business. A shop steward provides union members with information about the union and its services and a contact person for grievance reporting. When management and a union enter into contract agreements, the shop steward monitors the workplace to ensure that management adheres to those agreements.

Inform Members

The shop steward for a union keeps all union members up to date on the latest news from the union. This includes posting or communicating information from the union. The union shop steward must be up to date on the latest information from the union and steer members toward the appropriate office for union services.

A shop steward can conduct meetings within the workplace, post information and with direct communication with individual union members. The person in the position also provides members with health care claim forms, grievance forms and change of address forms when needed.

Report Contract Violations

The shop steward is the first line of defence against contract violations. Union members rely on the shop steward to report any violations of the work contract to the appropriate union officials. Union members who experience contract violations report the problem to the shop steward. It is up to the shop steward to take appropriate action.

Encourage Union Involvement

Unions survive by member participation and involvement. The shop steward must encourage union members to participate in union activities such as elections. A shop steward should provide members with information on union education programmes and help all union members become active members.

Resolve Grievances

The union shop steward can participate in the resolution of grievances by representing the union position to management. The shop steward does not attempt to negotiate problems in the contract, but can inform the correct union official about the situation. The person in the role of a shop steward can gather the facts, which will help to resolve a problem or grievance.

New Member Orientation

A shop steward provides all new union members with an orientation about the union and the services that it provides. This includes supplying new union members with information regarding the union and educating the member about the union. New members should be encouraged to be active participants in the union and its activities.

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About the Author

Luanne Kelchner works out of Daytona Beach, Florida and has been freelance writing full time since 2008. Her ghostwriting work has covered a variety of topics but mainly focuses on health and home improvement articles. Kelchner has a degree from Southern New Hampshire University in English language and literature.