AFGE Local 2152
You are the steward with responsibilities outlined by the Master Agreement. While we are all human, when acting as a steward, you should endeavor to not make basic mistakes. Grievances should be written correctly. Information should be shared. You should know your rights. If you are unsure or don't know the answer, please ask. We all make mistakes but a steward should be dedicated to the members and should educate themselves enough to avoid the small mistakes.
This usually happens when the steward determines that the member has no grievance. Rather than be the bearer of bad tidings, the steward disappears. This is unfair to the employee. If the issue is not grievable under the contract, see if it can be resolved in another manner. If not, tell the member that the issue cannot be written as a grievance or handled in any other official union capacity and give him/her the reasons.
A major no no. You or a member may be baited at a grievance meeting. Even though we have protection under the Master Agreement if you lose your, cool it won't help your case. A steward who argues out of anger and not facts will lose their case.
In your role as a steward you are the union advocate. This role is an active one. You are the equal of management. You may ask questions, ask for and get records to process grievances, and even raise your voice at meetings when absolutely necessary. NEVER just sit down and shut up! You are the VOICE of the member and Local 2152. You ARE the union.
If you have a problem with the way things are done or with your leadership, discuss the issue(s) in a rational manner. There is plenty of room for discussion and disagreement. But when it spills out onto the shop floor or at a meeting when management is present, such disagreements can permanently weaken the union. A house divided against itself will fail.
This is intense work. Stewards work a full-time job and then take on their union responsibilities. This kind of existence is rewarding but is fraught with burn-out. Take time for yourself and your family.
You know what the contract says, but somehow you forget to file within the specified time. Your case is now history. Two pieces of advice: Keep a calendar diary with dates marked in red so you won't miss deadlines and if you need more time, ask for an extension (in writing) from management.