Why in the world would anyone become an NALC Steward you might ask? Especially right now when the climate is against Unions in general? It seems we've gone backwards in time when it comes to the rights of workers and women.These are rights that have been so hard fought by civil rights activists such as Cesar Chavez in the past.
Wages and hours have been negotiated with the intent to prevent abuse and 3rd world factory like conditions.Just take a look at countries like China and Korea where no standards exist for worker's safety and and to establish a living wage.They have no Unions there, they have no voice, no recourse or hope to advance in the company.Wealthy American companies manufacture products abroad which consumers will trample others to buy.
It plays itself out in politics everyday.Congress turns the other way when state officials launch their attacks on the bargaining agreements that have previously protected workers rights.Both state and city officials attempt to balance their budgets by changing the terms of negotiated bargaining agreements.They want to reduce work hours, raise health care premiums and retirement contributions in the middle of a Contract term.The word furlough almost always comes up.
In a democracy like the US we have the ability to speak freely and object freely without the fear of repercussion. This is how Unions came to be.Our National Association of Letter Carriers is an open shop union.What this means is that letter carriers voluntarily join or do not.Within the membership there will be volunteers that step forward to protect the letter carriers and go on to become Stewards. If there is more than one volunteer for an opening, members will vote for the Steward of their choice.He or she will serve a term of 2 years.For these two years the Steward will be trained on the Articles of the National Agreement and will represent all letter carriers, Union member or not, within their assigned station.They will always keep in mind that ” an injury to one means an injury to all! “.
Many of the strongest Stewards started off with mentors that were willing to guide them through the Grievance procedure. Many have gone on to become Formal A Stewards or Union officers. All that is required at the beginning is the willingness to learn and the effort to follow through. The confidence comes later with the experience.Most Stewards get proficient at filing grievances on certain Article violations of the Contract.Some will specialize in work hour violations while others will favor tackling discipline letters.The Union is always recruiting members that can help out in the various aspects of representation.They need Food Drive Coordinators, Safety Captains, Route Inspection Co-Leaders and Alternate Stewards among other things.Most duties will be carried out on the clock, but some may be paid as lost time by the Union.Sometimes there will be a need for unpaid volunteers, such as a phone banking night.
The Union needs good Stewards that are willing to work to protect letter carrier's rights into this era of challenges.Please contact the Branch 214 Union officers with your desire to represent or help in other ways.
Si Se Puede!