In union organizational charts, union stewards always seem to be placed toward the bottom, but they could just as easily be placed at the top. Without stewards, the day-to-day work of the local lodge could never get done.
Whether they are filing and arguing grievances on behalf of their local lodge members, recruiting new members to union activity, or explaining to members a change in how the union works, they always represent the union. They represent their members to management, they represent the local lodge to individual members and the community, and they represent the spirit and dedication that makes unions work with everything they do.
Their job is difficult. A good steward must be part cop, part lawyer, and part union organizer. Good stewards are 100 percent loyal to their union and to their members. They work hard to win grievances, enforce the contract, and keep both their members and management happy. And while they are the first ones to be blamed when anything goes wrong, they are often the last ones thanked when things go right.
The International provides education and training to help stewards do their job well. The Stewards' Sourcebook found on these pages is only one of many resources available to local lodges and their stewards through the Department of Education and Training Services and the Department of Research and Collective Bargaining Services.