If you care about public education and student worker rights, become a Union Steward!
WHY BECOME A STEWARD:
● Stewards are the eyes and ears of the union. Having a union and a contract doesn’t mean that an outside organization will solve our problems for us, members need to be educated and vigilant to protect our rights. We are the union!
● By building a network of stewards, we greatly increase our capacity as student workers to organize and fight for the issues that affect us, from wages and working conditions to the public mission of the University!
WHAT STEWARDS DO:
● Serve as the most direct line of communication between members in your department and elected leadership of our local.
● Help fellow members find solutions for problems with work appointments or working conditions and answer questions about rights or benefits.
● Facilitate the involvement of members from your department in union events
● Organize departmental meetings with academic student workers to address work issues or organize for labor actions.
● Stay in touch with the network of stewards and union leaders on your campus, discussing important issues that may arise between membership meetings and helping to run the union!
WHY MEMBERS MAKE GREAT STEWARDS IN THEIR DEPARTMENTS:
● You understand the specificities of academic work in your field — a steward from the humanities might not understand problems about teaching labs, and a PhD student might not understand the concerns of Masters students.
● You know the members in your department personally.
● You are a hard-working person who cares about fellow academic student workers, is committed to standing up against injustice in the workplace, and is dedicated to keeping our union strong and united!
WHO CAN BE A STEWARD AND HOW TO BECOME ONE:
● If you are a graduate student or an undergraduate who is working as a tutor, you are eligible to become a union member. Any union member in good standing can be a steward.
● If you’ve ever worked as a GSI, Reader or Tutor and joined the union, you’re eligible to be a steward, even if you’re not working as a GSI now.
● In our local, we can have a steward for every 50 members – so some departments could have several.
● Stewards are elected like all other officers of our union, in the triennial elections and in vacancy elections.
● If you’re interested, contact your campus leadership or go to your next campus membership meeting. Campus leadership will set up conversations with new stewards to get you oriented and answer questions, and invite you to a steward training session.