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Requesting Steward Time
Hello brothers and sisters! I’d like to talk today about requesting time to speak to your Steward. Many times you are faced with an issue that may need clarification from your Steward and would like to get a definite answer to a contractual question or about some idiotic thing the moron in the tie is doing to you. This is when you must request to speak to the Shop Steward.
When something arises where you must speak to your Steward, you must first go to your floor supervisor and ask to speak to your Steward. Do not be afraid to do this. This is your right and the supervisor must give you time to discuss issues with the Steward. The stupidvisor may ask what the discussion is in reference about. He has a right to do this. This is stated in a Step 4 decision, M-00137. However, your answer may be a general reply, such as, “It concerns a question pertaining to Art. 8.” He does not have the right to demand the specifics you are asking. If he does just tell him you need to discuss that with the Steward. He cannot unilaterally deny you the time to speak with the Steward. If moronagement does this, let the Steward know so he can file a grievance and an unfair labor practice against the idiot in the tie.
If the supervisor says OK, but you cannot meet with him right now, he must give you the reason why and when you will be able to meet with the Steward. If he does not do this, then ask to see the Steward to file a grievance for not giving you the reason and a future time to meet. This is spelled out in a Step 4 decision, M-00125. He also must let you meet with the Steward within 2 hours of the request, unless there is some dire need of personnel and he cannot allow the time, which at that point you must be able to meet with your Steward by the end of the day. Under emergency conditions, he must allow you the time by the next day, upon clocking on. This is supported by Step 4 decision, M-00458.
Don’t let management dictate when you can speak to the Steward. Know your rights! Ask for the time, if he won’t let you see him/her immediately, ask for the reason and when you can. If he gets belligerent and won’t give you a straight answer, then tell him you want to file a grievance because of his ignorance of the contract! That ought to get him going and if he goes off, get him for Violence in the Workplace and violation of the Mutual Respect Atmosphere, M-39 sec. 115.4. Guess you’ll need a little extra time with the Steward! Oh yeah, by the way, he cannot predetermine the time you spend with the Steward either. If he says you only have 5 minutes, file a grievance under another Step 4 decision, M-00303. You should have the time to notify the Steward on what the issue is. This does not mean you have the time to go into detail about every little thing for the Steward. This can be done during the investigation. You only need to get across what the issue is, what was said or done, and does the Steward think this is a situation where a grievance should be filed. If it takes 10 or 15 minutes to tell the Steward the situation then so be it. The supervisor cannot predetermine how much time you will need or receive.
Here is one thing I must stress and there are
carriers who fail to do this all the time, if
you get a Letter of Warning or Suspension, you
must grieve it and notify your Steward
immediately!! If you do not notify him within 14
days of the issuance of the Letter, your LOW is
automatically for 2 yrs.! If it is a suspension
it will go into effect. You only have 14 days to
file and it is YOUR responsibility to notify the
Steward. Mgmt. will not tell him and the Steward
is not clairvoyant. Failure to notify the
Steward negates your right to grieve it and you
are stuck with it. I have yet to know to many
Stewards who cannot negotiate a shorter term for
the LOW if it is warranted or to reduce a
suspension to a LOW. Remember this is a step
towards your removal, you must not just accept
this! You begin with a LOW, then a 7-day
suspension, then a 14-day suspension, and then
finally you are out of here! If you can
negotiate any step of this discipline back to a
lower step, your job is much safer and you can
rest easier. Remember, this is your job career,
and it is also YOUR responsibility to notify the
I had a situation at Lockhart where evidently 5 LOW’s were issued. I found this out later, however, 3 of the grievants notified me and we rescinded one, negotiated two others to 6 months. The other two have never approached me to file a grievance for them and don’t even know who they are. I was told 5 were issued after I had already negotiated the other 3. Time limits had long been passed and now those two individuals have 2 yr. LOW’s. If they screw up within those 2 yrs., mgmt. will go after a 7-day suspension, while the others will have their records clean after 6 months. You NEED to notify your Steward! We cannot actively solicit grievances and if we do not know you have been disciplined, we cannot defend you!
Remember, it is up to you to let the Steward know when discipline occurs and to notify him promptly. If there is any question of an issue concerning the contract, ASK to see your Steward. If he doesn’t know the answer right away he will get it for you promptly.
We are here to represent you, but only if let us know what is going on!
Remember: BE INFORMED! BE PROFESSIONAL! BE