The Role of a Union Steward

A union steward plays a vital role in representing and protecting the rights of USPS employees who are members of their union. Here are some key aspects of their job:

  • Enforcing the Contract: Stewards ensure the National Agreement (collective bargaining agreement) and any local agreements (Memorandum of Understanding) are upheld by management. This involves being familiar with the details of the contracts and advocating for employee rights outlined within them. USPS unions and contracts can vary, but some resources are available from the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC).
  • Employee Advocacy: Stewards act as a first point of contact for employees with concerns about workplace issues, safety, or potential violations of the contract. They advise employees on their rights and help navigate the process of filing grievances if necessary.
  • Weingarten Rights: Importantly, stewards can accompany employees to investigatory interviews to ensure their rights under the Weingarten Rights are protected. These rights allow employees to have a union representative present during questioning to ensure a fair and accurate process. USPS and the APWU both have resources on Weingarten Rights:
  • Communication and Education: Stewards keep union members informed about union activities, meetings, and benefits. They also play a role in educating members about their rights and responsibilities under the union contract.

Overall, union stewards are crucial advocates for USPS employees, ensuring a fair and balanced clean workplace through contract enforcement and employee representation.