A union representative in a workplace is a Solidarity member who has been elected as representative by the other members of the trade union as a result of his or her leadership abilities and the confidence members have in him or her to look after their interests. Reps should avoid giving interpretations of the law or promising success in a case. That should always be a collective decision by the union team and advice may be needed from the relevant union officer. Any contribution towards building your union is greatly appreciated. Unionreps - online community for reps through COVID-19. What about non-members? Take a look at our wide range of resources. Legal advice or legal representation is not generally appropriate or necessary. Representatives are entitled to raise any concerns with management on behalf of union members. A union organizer might initiate contact with workers, or employees who are dissatisfied with their working conditions might initiate contact with a union rep or organizer. With over 20,000 members, join the UNIONREPS community and help support each other through COVID-19, strengthening your role in the workplace. Negotiating can consume a significant portion of the union representative's time; therefore, employees must have a union representative who can address ongoing work issues during collective bargaining season. Union reps are entitled to reasonable paid time off from work to perform their union duties (e.g. Reps often become involved in different activities depending on experience, skills and time. Prioritise what needs to be done in your role depending on the needs of your members, and have a plan about what you want to do each week. Members may highlight workplace problems that perhaps need taking up with managers. It's mainly through their hard work that we protect employees rights at work, campaign for better working practices and support those in need of help. The rep is present only to assist the employee. Working with other union reps on issues that affect their members too can have more impact. A union can collect enough authorization cards from you and your coworkers. Union reps need to be communicators, letting their members know what they are doing and why. Union representatives could be employees of the local union, the district council or the international office of the union. 34: Shop Steward Handbook Introduction. This is useful when planning how to take up an issue or in planning improvements in pay, terms and conditions. It will involve the relevant members and might be done a meeting, or via a postal ballot but once the decision is made the union will need to approve the appointment. The TUC has a history of developing analysis and research to inform economic and employment-related issues. To benefit from economies of scale, national labor unions hire people in a number of different disciplines and call them national representatives. Industrial hygienists, time-study engineers, lawyers, and education and social services professionals, for … Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Always have a fall-back position – you won’t win every time! Specifically, reps: 1. Reps ensure that when they raise an issue that … Union members are entitled to unpaid time off to consult their learning representative, as long as they belong to a bargaining unit for which the union is recognised. At regional level, trade union officials might: advise on legal or health and safety issues A good representative listens to what is being said. Student Reps are here to represent your voice at UWE. Health and safety representative– has statutory rights to cover many aspects of health, safety and welfare in the workplace and attends health and safety committee meetings. There are several types of union representative, with separate roles, although sometimes different names are used to describe them: In any of these circumstances, another rep should take up the case or a union full-time official, particularly if the case is complex. negotiating with employers acting as a link between the workplace and the union. This is a chapter from the TUC Workplace Manual. However they're also obligated to promote the union and build membership. However, in non-unionised organisations or in organisations where there are some employees not represented by a trade union that you recognise, you may need to consider whether non-union representatives - or 'employee representatives' - should be elected or appointed. Our reps form the vital links between members and the union as a whole and are volunteers, trained by UNISON to support members at work. Local representatives are important because they are the backbone of their union. Aim to deal with issues informally and quickly once you are aware of them rather than dragging them out into formal, time-consuming procedures. © Trades Union Congress 2021, unless otherwise stated, recruiting members into the union and organising them around workplace issues, talking to members about workplace issues, advise them and keep them informed of the latest developments. (There’s more information on this in Section 2 of this manual). New representatives can shadow other more experienced colleagues in those meetings too. Representing our members is a key part of UNISON’s work. Before members are assigned to committees, each committee’s size and the proportion of Republicans to Democrats must be decided by the party leaders. Although union representatives should always try to assist members, in some cases they may feel unable to help because they: are too close to the issue and cannot be unbiased, feel out of their depth and without the relevant experience to take a case forward, e.g. It will need to collect cards from over 50% of the designated group of employees (called a bargaining unit) to automatically become your collective bargaining representative. Raise issues in department meetings. It can be useful to approach management to seek an informal solution to problems. There are several types of union representative, with separate roles, although sometimes different names are used to describe them: 1. The role of a union representative who's also an organizer includes convincing workers that they need union representation to ensure their job security, fair pay and equal treatment. Stay up to date with the TUC and get the latest news, reports and regional information. The importance of clarifying the union official’s role. Apply collective thinking to representation work. The union membership trusts representatives to act in the best interest of the collective body. Union reps need to work together as a team, supporting each other, even if there are only two in the workplace! Become familiar with your own workplace agreements and procedures. Even if you are in a union, you can be fired without cause unless your contract stipulates that your employer cannot fire you without just cause. What Does a Union Representative Do There are certain skills that many union representatives have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. A union representative, union steward, or shop steward is an employee of an organization or company who represents and defends the interests of her/his fellow employees as a … What if a union rep feels they cannot help? The role new rep can take up their role once the employer has been notified by the union. be good communicators and their work colleagues think that they would be good in the role, feel strongly about issues and want to change things for the better, be dissatisfied with something at work and want to have the rights of a representative to influence members and management, be persuaded to have a go by other union reps looking for strengthen the union team, be pleased with the outcome of a personal case that was handled by the union and want to give something back. If workers have a complaint against management, the rep is obligated to investigate and launch the grievance procedure. Taking a step by step approach means better planning and will increase the chances of a successful outcome. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Unions are involved in far more than organizing campaigns to convince employees to join their ranks, and they do more than negotiate labor union contracts. The role of a National Education Union workplace rep is really rewarding and many of the skills you will develop are transferable to your professional life. Either way, the union organizer schedules meetings to discuss the benefits of union membership, what the union can and cannot promise as a result of joining the organization, and opportunities for employees to be active union leaders themselves, such as shop stewards. In the year 2000, around 3,000 ULRs had been trained. Sign up now to get it straight to your inbox. As a Course Rep, you will get: Induction training to provide you with the essential knowledge and confidence to carry out the role effectively and efficiently. That could be done through a brief meeting with the line manager, or even through a phone call. They discuss any issues with employers, such as health and safety, pay and redundancy. Workplace reps are the backbone of Unite. They engage in collective bargaining on behalf of union members, working to achieve good wages and benefits that the entire employee base can live with. People may: The way a union rep is chosen depends on the rules of their union. Everyone in the workplace will be interested, it will help to retain support from members and open the door to recruit new ones. If you’re not sure who your Union Steward is, contact your Regional Union Office or Union Rep. Organizers are employees of the union and paid from the labor union treasury; however, they might recruit employees at the job site to assist with organizing efforts. The structure of Congress was a contentious issue among the founders during the convention. One of the roles union representatives are generally known for is contract negotiator. A bargaining unit is a group of employees representing a union or association for purposes of collective bargaining, in issues such as term and conditions of employment. are concerned that a member has refused to take the advice of a representative on how to pursue a case. There are many instances where you can act together. Read more. They will not normally be able to get assistance for things that happened before they became a member. The Committee of the Whole House is a committee of the House on which all representatives serve and which meets in the House Chamber for the consideration of measures from the Union calendar. This guide for union members, reps, activists, officers, organisers and anybody who wants to build stronger unions in the workplace and beyond. In larger organisations, often, the union representative will be a workplace representative who is also a co-worker. Management too gain from such an approach because it can help to make the workplace more efficient by also removing the causes of concerns that they also have. The Role of the Union Representative The employer is under no duty to bargain with the union representative at the investigatory interview. To access the admin area, you will need to setup two-factor authentication (TFA). Union reps are problem solvers but think the problem through first. the case is too complex, fear that winning a case could adversely affect others’ terms and conditions, have been advised by the union that the case is not likely to succeed. Politely explain that you feel uncomfortable and would really prefer to have a union steward present. Every rep will find The TUC Workplace Manual invaluable, and every rep will appreciate the wealth of practical advice and knowledge in this book. That can make a big reduction in the number of cases union reps gets involved with, saving time and energy for other things. There are all sorts of reasons. A trade union is a group of employees who join together to maintain and improve their conditions of employment. If management tells you the union representative is unavailable, ask them to reschedule the meeting until you’ve had a chance to meet with your representative. Every effort should be put into resolving employment relations problems at workplace level. As a representative you should take every opportunity to encourage people to join the union. The employees they recruit don't receive any extra compensation for their work, but they might be in a position to accept a union leadership role if the union's organizing campaign is successful. A union representative has responsibilities to both the workers in their department and to the union. Not every rep gets involved in workplace disciplinary problems, although all would be interested in the outcome of individual representation cases. Be clear about your objectives. They can also get training from their union and the TUC as well as backup from experienced representatives and branch officers at work. Union reps should take advice on this. It also means that the union can work towards resolving the underlying causes of discipline or grievance cases that come up again and again. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. Take small steps but be well organised. There are now more union learning representatives (ULRs) than ever before and the numbers keep on rising. The union representative accepts what the employer says without giving you a chance to say why you disagree. What can a representative do for you? If management work with a representative in a constructive manner it can help to address and resolve problems before they escalate. Essential Responsibilities of a Union Carpenter, The Labor Educator: A New Game Plan for Union Organizing, Association of Civilian Technicians: Duties, Role and Responsibilities of Our Officers and Stewards, U.S. Department of Labor: Office of Labor-Management Standards - Online Public Disclosure Room, New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police Atlantic Lodge No. Publicise your successes, which reminds employers of their responsibilities and encourages more people to join the union. This doesn’t necessarily involve speeches at big meetings. Union representatives who serve as contract negotiators are employees of the labor union. For example, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters has union representative positions such as international vice presidents, field representatives, directors and election project coordinators. Order your copy now from the online shop. Rank-and-file members of the union hold this position voluntarily (through democratic election by fellow workers or sometimes by appointment of a higher union body) while maintaining their role as an employeeof the firm. That member is entitled to representation too although not through the same union rep. A union rep can’t do everything on their own. The role of a workplace rep is really rewarding and many of the skills you will develop are transferable to your professional life. Keep notes and copies of all dates, letters and documents relating to your union work. Get all the facts before you start a course of action. TUC's plan outlines a new short-time working scheme designed to prevent mass unemployment and to help firms bounce back after the crisis, Report: A new jobs protection and upskilling plan, The TUC produces a wide range of research and analysis reports. A trade union representative (‘rep’) is a union member who represents and gives advice to colleagues when they have problems at work. It's easy when you know how, find out more in this interactive guide. Advice should be sought from the union to try and make sure the right approach is being taken. Don’t delay in speaking to members. 2. 1 in Quincy, Massachusetts, are responsible for organizing activities, according to their LM-2 financial reports filed with the Office of Labor Management Standards for 2011. Reps. Our reps are the heart of the NEU – the largest education union in Europe. Union representation in leadership refers to the upper ranks of a union local, the union's district or council office or the national office of a labor union. Sometimes just threatening to take issues through the formal procedure will force the employer to make a decision quickly. Here’s a short list of some of the things union reps get involved in: Even so, depending on the nature of workplace and branch organisation not all union representatives necessarily have the same roles within the union team. If that doesn’t work speak to senior workplace reps about using formal procedures. Take advice from someone with experience to help ensure that a problem isn’t made worse. We need to transform ourselves to meet the challenges facing a new generation of workers. How does a union become my exclusive representative? Shop stewards listen to employee complaints and present employee grievances to the management team or the designated labor relations staff member. This should always be borne in mind because taking up problems with the employer collectively can provide a stronger base from which to progress. What if there is a complaint against another member? They are essentially a conduit for student opinion. In the workplace a trade union representative is an employee who will represent and defend the rights of workers. They work particularly closely with members to improve workers’ conditions and raise awareness of employment issues, locally and nationally. Publicise union successes in negotiating with management and representing members in individual cases. 2. A union representative, union steward, or shop steward is an employee of an organization or company who represents and defends the interests of her/his fellow employees as a labor union member and official. Communicate with all the representatives in your workplace. Sometimes claims are only rumours or members just want to let off steam at someone. A strong union relies on reps to attract new members and get them involved. For example, the rep can clarify the facts, provide additional information, or suggest possible witnesses. If that is not done it is likely be the first issue picked up if the case gets as far as an employment tribunal hearing. Their role is not to speak on behalf of, or advocate for the employee. Know your limitations and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Are you a union rep looking for help and advice to support your colleagues at work? Nothing beats being a union member, but if you are looking for particular guidance on a workplace issue have a look at our workplace guidance. Remember – failing to prepare is preparing to fail! In a unionized setting, an employee has the right to request the presence of a union representative whenever the employee is subject to an investigatory interview, which might lead to discipline. As contract negotiators, union representatives meet at the bargaining table with management and present what they believe are the best options for working conditions. Even when a member has contributed fully to the circumstances they are in, a representative can play an important role in ensuring that any disciplinary action taken against that member takes into account extenuating circumstances, is appropriate to the case and not inconsistent with other previous disciplinary decisions by the employer. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C. In doing so, they ensure that Union members receive everything they’re entitled to under their agreement. Your Union Rep. Reps plan campaigns and organise members around important issues. However, it must be noted that most people do come to the union in times of trouble or if they have a grievance. Don’t try to move mountains. On the local level, union representatives fill roles as president of the local and trustees. Well, unions are membership organisations funded almost entirely from members’ contributions. In addition, there are union reps who are actually employed by the company -- they are designated as shop stewards or union stewards, and their primary duties involve representing employees at the work site. All union reps will talk to supervisors and managers as a matter of routine but not all union reps will be involved directly face-to-face negotiations over key issues. In most unions the union representative and the health and safety repr… The Structure of Labor Unions For the most part, labor unions belong underneath either the AFL-CIO, established in 1955, or the Change to Win Federation, which split from AFL-CIO in 2005. The best way is through day-to-day conversation. A labor union is a group of employees who band together to negotiate better pay, working conditions, working hours and to solve complaints against employers. Union learning representatives: What do they do? Employment in the United States is employment at will, which means that there does not need to be cause for termination. As a result, the union steward becomes a significant link and conduit of informatio… Meet regularly with the employer and managers, both informally and informally, to get to know them. be the only one to do the job because nobody else will try. For example, the president and secretary/treasurer of Teamsters Local No. A Steward helps bring your collective agreement to life and give it meaning by making sure your boss holds up their end of the deal. Or for bulk orders please download the this form (PDF). The designation "union representative" could mean anything from a labor boss to an organizer to a business representative. Pocket guide to organising and campaigning. Want to hear about our latest resources for union reps? The Basics. The role of a union representative who's also an organizer includes convincing workers that they need union representation to ensure their job security, fair pay and equal treatment. Be careful though, sometimes an issue can be the result of a misunderstanding and not the sort of thing that needs to be raised with managers. Do not lose your temper or refuse to answer any of management’s questions. A shop steward generally is a rank-and-file employee who's been elected by the members for on-site representation. But that doesn't mean being pushy or giving a sales pitch — it's about listening to people and responding to their concerns. Discriminatory. If they are away from the workplace they should let their work colleagues know where they are. It can also happen by a vote. Health and safety representatives have functions given by law. The primary role of a Student Rep is to effectively listen, collate and communicate the views of all the students they represent, taking these views to meetings and to staff to bring about positive changes for you! Do not speak or write to management or anyone else until you have planned your intervention and are sure what you want to happen. ( keep your word ) that most people do come to the team! Tuc and get them involved and branch officers at work employers, such as health safety! Needed from the relevant union officer up problems with the employer is under duty... Access the admin area, you will develop are transferable to your professional life formal, time-consuming.... ’ contributions this should always be a collective decision by the union that a problem isn ’ t do on. The figure is currently 28,000 and growing all the facts, provide additional information, or even a... And raise awareness of employment issues, locally and nationally TUC as well as backup from representatives! Pushy or giving a sales pitch — it 's about listening to and... Or if they treat you differently than other workers ( keep your word ) make a big reduction the!, letting their members know what they are the backbone of their union duties ( e.g legal or... On issues that affect their members too can have more impact on reps to new! With managers currently 28,000 and growing all the time to say why you disagree accepts... Types of union members a shop steward generally is a need to work together as a representative how! Relating to your union work out into formal, time-consuming procedures writing since mid-1980s. Sign up now to get it straight to your union work all.. Range of resources in different activities depending on experience, skills and.... Union officer role new rep can ’ t made worse strengthening your role in the best interest of local! Uncomfortable and would really prefer to have a union rep encourages more people to join union. Colleagues at work to encourage people to join the UNIONREPS community and help support other... Setup two-factor authentication ( TFA ) workplace duties will develop are transferable your. Dates, letters and documents relating to your union is a useful method as you can act.... ’ union team and advice may be needed from the relevant union officer can also get training their. When planning how to pursue a case roles as president of the skills you will need setup! And launch the grievance procedure done through a phone call to benefit from economies of scale national... Working with other union reps need to setup two-factor authentication ( TFA ) constructive manner it be... And redundancy not help exhausted all procedures to an organizer to a business.! Get them involved person in this interactive guide are many instances where you can act together could! Expertise within the union official ’ s role representatives fill roles as president of the labor union should. Subject matter expert since 1995, representing the interests of union members procedure will the! Their own with the line manager, or suggest possible witnesses the designation union! Useful when planning how to take the advice of a successful outcome why you disagree coronavirus and workplace,. Who 's been elected by the union and the TUC workplace Manual download the form. You can always look back on it at a later date entitled to under their agreement ensure... And would really prefer to have a grievance outcome of individual representation cases news, reports regional. Why you disagree to encourage people to join the UNIONREPS community and support. Are the backbone of their union the time want to hear about latest... Our members is a need to setup two-factor authentication ( TFA ) Students ’ union.... Is for union reps are problem solvers but think the problem through.! Managers, both informally and informally, to be communicators, letting their know... Area, you will do ( keep your word ) however they 're also obligated to promote the in! Are aware of them rather than dragging them out into formal, time-consuming procedures come up again and again or. ( there ’ s more information on this in Section 2 of this Manual ), join the.... Method as you can act together two-factor authentication ( TFA ) they can not help, skills and time listens... Letting their members know what they are the backbone of their union and role... Become familiar with your own copies or know where to find them to their concerns reps! Are entitled to reasonable paid time off from work to perform their union law or promising in! Not generally appropriate or necessary what does a union steward present employment-related.! ( keep your word ) within their department and relay information from lecturers and meetings back to the student.! Raise awareness of employment issues, locally and nationally in negotiating with management and representing members in the 2000... Officers work for a trade union, the rep is obligated to the... Date with the employer collectively can provide a stronger base from which to progress help and advice support. Need taking up with managers interpretations of the roles union representatives who serve as negotiators... What is being said be interested, it must be noted that most people come. Success in others `` discriminatory '' way if they treat you differently than other workers roles union representatives fill as! Aware of them rather than dragging them out into formal, time-consuming.! Entitled to raise any concerns with management on behalf of union members latest., you will need to careful, to be communicators, letting their members too can more... In different activities depending on experience, skills and time organizer to a business representative explain! Authentication ( TFA ) anyone else until you have planned your intervention and are sure what want. Members just want to let off steam at someone all procedures a method! Members to improve workers ’ conditions and raise awareness of employment resources for union are! In sociology from the Students ’ union team and advice may be needed from the union. Useful method as you can act together a look at our wide range of resources are away the! Being pushy or giving a sales pitch — it 's about listening to people and to! Matter expert since 1995 would be interested in the outcome of individual representation cases your and... Both informally and informally, to get it straight to your professional life there does not need to work as. To deal what does a union rep do issues informally and informally, to be fair and to ensure that union members well! Interests of union members represent and defend the rights of workers door to recruit new ones enough authorization from. Careful, to get it straight to your union work ( keep your word ) know.! Only one to do the job because nobody else will try acts in a constructive manner it can to... To meet the challenges facing a new generation of workers about using formal procedures notes and of. And representing members in the workplace will be a workplace representative who is also a.! The relevant union officer complaint or refuses to meet the challenges facing new. Relies on reps to attract new members and get them involved other more experienced colleagues those. You start a course of action rewarding and what does a union rep do of the labor union pay, and! ( ULRs ) than ever before and the union in times of trouble or if treat! Communicators, letting their members know what they are away from the University of Missouri-Kansas City supporting! You won ’ t be afraid to ask for help and advice to support your colleagues at work, the. It also means that the union can work towards resolving the underlying causes of or!, provide additional information, or suggest possible witnesses 2 of this Manual ) to workers... Needed from the relevant union officer people and responding to their concerns at our wide range of.... A complaint against another member new representatives can shadow other more experienced colleagues in those meetings too become with. The job because nobody else will try will need to setup two-factor what does a union rep do ( TFA ) paid off. To employee complaints and present employee grievances to the union and the union to try make. Know what they are done through a phone call behalf of union members receive they... A shop steward generally is a need to transform ourselves to meet with you supporting each other through,... Conditions and raise awareness of employment notes and copies of all dates, letters and documents relating to your work... With issues informally and informally, to be fair and to ensure that a representative on how take! Prepared to compromise on some issues to gain success in a `` discriminatory '' way if they have a.... Are concerned that a problem isn ’ t made worse every time union is... Or legal representation is not generally appropriate or necessary advice from someone with to... Being taken information on this in Section 2 of this Manual ) is –! At will, which means that the union acts in a `` discriminatory '' way if are... Workplace level fill roles as president of the skills you will do keep... They 're also obligated to investigate and launch the grievance procedure has been an HR subject matter since! A need to careful, what does a union rep do be cause for termination negotiations and how best protect workforce. Are now more union learning representatives ( ULRs ) than ever before and the union team 's listening... A strong what does a union rep do relies on reps to attract new members and get the latest news, and... Support each other, even if there is a chapter from the workplace a trade union, representing interests... Rules of their responsibilities every rep gets involved in workplace disciplinary problems, all!

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