The Steward


The Steward

Like the infantry in the Army, the Steward is the front line of defense for the Union. The Steward is where it all happens and his or her powers of observation must be 20/20. In being a successful Steward, one must have an excellent working knowledge of the contract and be able to apply it reasonably. He or she must have the skill and knowledge to deal with the fellow employees that they represent. There are times when the general attitude of their fellow workers will be such as to demand of them immediate retaliation against the Company for some fancied offense or violation of the agreement that doesn't exist at all. In situations of this nature, he or she must be a diplomat of extraordinary talent. The easy thing to do would be to "pass the buck" on to the next highest Union officer, but at best, this only brings temporary relief. Therefore, they must become highly skilled in their job.

The Steward has, perhaps, the most thankless job of all Union officials since it is seldom that they get paid for their efforts. The only consolation that he or she gets for their efforts is that feeling of self-satisfaction that comes from knowing that one has performed one's job with dedication and to the best of their ability.

Like the person who contributes their spare time to the Boy Scouts, the United Fund, the YMCA, or the Big Brother program, the Steward, in this case, contributes his or her time to the Union because they believe in what they are doing and because they know that the job they are doing is absolutely necessary. As a worker, they are among the first to realize any fruits that their efforts may have achieved.

Unlike the Company, the success of a Union Officer doesn't hinge upon the amount of educational background that one might possess, but strictly upon the amount of devotion, effort and dedication that one is willing to put forth. In fact, it can safely be said that success in Unionism depends strictly upon effort and dedication. Unionism is, perhaps, the last bastion in society where educational background is not the controlling factor in an organizational progress. Many of the nation's top Union leaders are people with little or no college background, or for that matter, educational background beyond high school. In light of these facts, success as a Steward depends strictly upon one's knowledge of one's own job, and the rules that apply to it plus a good knowledge of the Working Agreement.

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