TWU Bikeshare October Newsletter
By Heather Hunter-Nickels, Recording Secretary, DC
Washington D.C. Shop Stewards have several grievance wins that we can offer as inspiration and teaching tools for both members and shop stewards in our sister cities.
Know the Collective Bargaining Agreement
A member, who was not a Lead, was asked to train new employees. When the member expressed their expectation for out of title pay, they were denied. The member, and their Shop Steward Dario, knew the bargaining agreement stated Lead work was a titled job and the out of title work clause expresses the right to out of title pay. Dario grieved the case. Human resources claimed there was no proof of the member training others. Dario filed a step two grievance with the evidence. He won the case.
Know that if you are not a Lead and you are asked to train others for more than 1.5 hours, you are entitled to out of title pay. This case, and one before it conducted by Shop Steward Patrice, have set a precedent.
Always get the details
Shop Stewards Patrice and Jason successfully got several speeding related warnings dropped. They did this by requesting data on the incidents which lead them to discover major discrepancies in the speed tracking app. Because the data on speeding was inconsistent, management did not have grounds to convict any member. The write ups were all dropped.
A member received a warning for idling in their van. Upon closer examination, Shop Steward Will revealed that the member thought they were able to turn the vans off and on to restart the clock on idling. Will also pointed out drivers had not yet been formally trained on the specifics of idling, thus creating grounds that forced managers to drop the warning and commit to properly training drivers.
A common grievance Shop Stewards in D.C. find themselves filling are grievances against attendance violations. They often result from a lack of managers ability to provide evidence that previous warnings had been issued. Shop Steward Dario was able to get an attendance related written warning dropped to a verbal because management could not provide evidence that a verbal had ever been issued. For Dario to even know this, he consulted with another union member who checked the records Human Resources is obligated to provide us on the history of corrective actions. Dario filed the grievance and won.
Be persistent and use the tools you have available
It became clear Human Resources was inconsistently paying bikechekers an agreed upon sum for extra work done before their shifts. Shop Steward Dario sent reminders multiple times and finally filed a grievance, resulting in successfully getting Checkers their money.
By John Goodwin, Chief Shop Steward, Boston
What is a shop steward?
Your first line of defense. Your go-to Union rep. Your counsel in a write-up.
Shop stewards are the frontline of Union representation for members. From the time you are hired, through your first 90 days and beyond, shop stewards are there to answer any questions you have, give you advice on job related issues, and, most important, advice on your local management team.
There is something called the Equality Principle which applies to Union Stewards conduct with management. “Under the National Labor Relations Act, when stewards and officers engage in representational activity, including grievance meetings and bargaining sessions, behavior that in other circumstances would warrant discipline must be tolerated.” So yes, you can speak your mind in a disciplinary meeting. It can be satisfying and empowering – but not an end in and of itself. It is not a licence to act is this manner outside certain parameters, but darn helpful when used correctly.
Do I have what it takes?
Do you want to be a shop steward? The Union looks for members who wish to become leaders in their city’s Union, and beyond. You need to become very familiar with the Grievance Process, Progressive Discipline, and know how to act when in a meeting with management and a member who is being disciplined.
Being a shop steward is a leadership role in our Union. Whether you are a “Lead” or not as a Steward you will need to show leadership. You need to be in tune with the vibe in your department and city, foster the best relationships possible with management, be respected by your peers, and even managers. It this personal power that you will be able to leverage on behalf of a member who is having a rough patch, or being disciplined.