A union steward is an organization’s employee but also a representative of the labor union representing as well as defending the rights and interests of his fellow employees. The general term for a union steward is a union representative or simply a shop steward. They act as a link or we can say they bridge the gap between the workers and top level management in any organization.
These members are usually elected by means of a democratic election by their fellow workers and such profiles are called rank and file. The role and responsibilities of the union representative is dependent on the mandate of the labor union. A union steward is a mediator, negotiator, guide, friend, educator, activist and a communicator.
Following functions are usually performed by the union stewards:
a. Ensuring that the provisions of collective bargaining agreement which a crucial agreement between the employee and employer is not violated on any of its terms.
b. Maintaining that the policies of the firm are in synchronization with the rules and regulations laid down by the state or country where the organization is based out.
c. Timely and effective redressal of employee grievances.
d. Defending the fellow workers if anything wrong is being done to them by the organization.
e. Channelizing all the company policies etc to the employees through them, especially to the new hires.
f. Popularizing the concept of unions and creating value at the workplace.
g. They organize meeting of the local collective bargaining units and discuss on the agenda and accordingly need to familiarize themselves and their fellow workers about the union parliamentary requirements and Robert’s rules of order.
h. They act as a interface, a friend and a guide for the new hires, they recruit, welcome and make them familiarize with people and machinery within the organization.