Union Stewards, First to Be Asked
Many questions you bring to your steward, or problems you raise, can be dealt with satisfactorily without any type of formal action being taken by the union. It may be that information is the “fix” that’s needed, or a conversation between your steward and a management official solves the problem. But sometimes a steward will set in motion a formal action, the most common type being a contract grievance.
If the problem or concern that you have calls for a grievance to be filed, then your steward is most likely the “mini-lawyer” who will help draw up and present the grievance and attempt to get it resolved. Your steward may take another type of action, as well, to assist you.
Your steward is the one with overall responsibility for answering questions about what the employer or the union is doing or could be doing to make things better in the workplace. If the union cannot do something to bring about positive change, your steward should be able to explain why that is.
-- Adapted from The Union Members Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer