What exactly is a Union Steward?

A union steward wears many different hats and juggles many priorities to keep dialogue open between the union and the employer on behalf of the member.

Are you a/an


You are great at record-keeping, have a strong network of supporters, get involved in union-organized events and causes and have a finger on the pulse of issues that concern you and your fellow workers 

  • Maintains notes, files, completes investigation reports, grievances and other relevant documentation in an orderly manner for review by Union officials/staff
  • Mobilizes members and builds solidarity by establishing trustworthy, long-term relationships through effective networking
  • Volunteers to participate in rallies and other union-organized events including political action to enhance SEIU Healthcare visibility, and support the Committee On Political Education
  • Models the behaviors of an “Activist” to voice the issues and concerns of all SEIU Healthcare members


You are a good listener and fact gatherer, understand your collective agreement, attend labour management staffing meetings and get involved in the discussion

  • Enforces the collective agreement
  • Handles grievances and attends all grievance meetings as required by the Collective Agreement and/or Local policy
  • Resolves problems by grounding arguments in factual knowledge of the collective agreement
  • Listens empathetically to union members to arrive at mutually satisfying “win-win” outcomes
  • Attends all Labour Management staffing meetings; when agenda items warrant appearance/representation – as identified by the Union Representative
  • Submits agenda items for discussions/meetings ensuring that they are “issue based”

Educator/Communicator/Political Activist?

You embrace personal growth through continuous learning, share your knowledge of the union with co-workers and take an active interest in the goings-on of your union 

  • Communicates information to workers - in own department - utilizing the most appropriate method for the worker (verbally, visually via Union Bulletin Board, publication, referral to SEIU Healthcare website, email, etc.)
  • Identifies new members in department so that the Chief Steward can schedule/provide orientation to new SEIU Healthcare members
  • Communicates new member contact information to the MRC and ensures that it is current at all times
  • Notifies MRC of approaching retirement of workers and issues retirement kit to retirees
  • Establishes credibility/benefits of the Union by highlighting “success” stories or “hot” topics for inclusion into newsletter/bulletin and by informing the Union Representative
  • Embraces personal growth and supports continuous learning opportunities for other workers – through courses, workshops and online programs

Worksite Leader?

You are the welcome committee for new members, introduce them to others, help them find their way within the union and set a good example for others to follow

  • As soon as possible, introduces self and SEIU Healthcare to new Union members within their unit
  • Greets and welcomes new members to the unit
  • Informs the Union Representative of new Union members so that s/he may distribute SEIU Healthcare worker packages (including a copy of the collective agreement) to new the new employee
  • Updates the Chief Steward on events/issues within the unit on a continuous basis and at monthly meetings
  • Attends monthly Steward’s meetings on a regular basis
  • Supports other SEIU Healthcare leaders/committees in the workplace such as Health & Safety
  • Joins causes, supports groups and/or organizations that promote a labour/worker agenda
Questions? Need help?