Being a steward

Rcflyn

Well-known member
Several times, I’ve been told “you’d make an awsome steward”....
I’ve considered it a “few” times, mind you, just a few... I’ve always said, there’s nothing in it for me except the headaches.
Come on, be real, we’re all in it for us when it’s all said and done. What’s in it for me?
This question goes out to all you stews out there.....
What’s in it for you? You don’t get paid by the union to be a stew. You still pay dues, right? (Last job I had, if you were a stew, you didn’t pay dues any more)
Granted, you might get aux help or what not when your doing in office “steward” business, but really, what’s that do?
Give me your opinions. What’s in it for “you” being a stew.
All my office loves me, but in all honesty, I can’t find a reason to become their “steward”. My office is a “family”, we’d all give the shirts off our back if another needs it..... we’d all do what ever is needed for each other......
But I can’t find a reason to be their steward....
 

Twingrlie

Well-known member
Several times, I’ve been told “you’d make an awsome steward”....
I’ve considered it a “few” times, mind you, just a few... I’ve always said, there’s nothing in it for me except the headaches.
Come on, be real, we’re all in it for us when it’s all said and done. What’s in it for me?
This question goes out to all you stews out there.....
What’s in it for you? You don’t get paid by the union to be a stew. You still pay dues, right? (Last job I had, if you were a stew, you didn’t pay dues any more)
Granted, you might get aux help or what not when your doing in office “steward” business, but really, what’s that do?
Give me your opinions. What’s in it for “you” being a stew.
All my office loves me, but in all honesty, I can’t find a reason to become their “steward”. My office is a “family”, we’d all give the shirts off our back if another needs it..... we’d all do what ever is needed for each other......
But I can’t find a reason to be their steward....
Nothing. I literally did it so I could stop being told one thing from management and then finding out another from my district rep. One thing though, they don’t try to feed me bullshit like the other RCAs because they know I know the rules. You also learn all the office issues before anyone else because you’re sitting there in the investigative interviews.
 

Gotrope

Well-known member
The biggest perk to being a steward is helping out your fellow carriers.

If you have finished laughing, it's also the fastest, best way to learn the rules and how to protect a rural carrier. Be that yourself or another carrier. It's amazing how much new stewards learn in just six months. Especially, the ones who thought they knew it all.
 

w2e2w2e

Well-known member
Do it!
You can always quit later.
You learn how to protect yourself and others from mismanagement...and if you quit, management now will screw with you less as they know you know the rules and how to file.
And you get compensated for your time spent, as long as it is inoffice.
You either save 8 hours for a Z day or get paid as an RCA/ PTF hourly.
If you go next step to Area Steward you get paid anyway you have to request time off to go to another office...about $300 a day.

But mainly as a local steward you do it because you enjoy snubbing managements nose. You spend more time than you are ever compensated for. But hey, you may be the one to save that person's job, or stop a harassing supervisor.
 

EthelAnne

Well-known member
If you're interested in doing something a little more intellectually challenging than delivering mail, there's that. If you're interested in moving up in the union, there's some opportunity to do that. There aren't a whole lot of opportunities for rural carriers to advance in the postal service, so it is one avenue that's open to us.

I don't know that I would do it again, knowing what I know now. It's a lot of aggravation, most of the work you do as a local steward is not compensated, and generally not appreciated by your co-workers.

If your office is running as a "family" I wonder why you're being asked to be a steward. I think most of us became stewards because our offices needed them to address specific issues.
 

HardearnedTan

Well-known member
Staff member
If you've already got a big ol' target on your back, might as well arm yourself with good info and knowledge with which to fight back. I've seen and talked with carriers who became stewards because they just had had enough of the BS intimidation being dished out. Backed into a corner, if you will, and summoned the gumption to come out swinging. Once they "turned the tide" on their own situation, they had the confidence and desire to continue the "battle" for others. Paying it forward. Or they just like to learn and be "in the know" about what's coming down the pike. Either way, not a bad position to be in. Doesn't happen overnight, but it does create some change.
 

Morty

Well-known member
It should kinda be for selfish reasons, a power trip. That's ok in my opinion, we need more tough guys in our ranks.

With 2 training sessions a year paid at Table1 Step12, it pretty much zeros out your dues if you used annual leave to go to the sessions.

If you're always denied Saturdays, Stewards get 1st dibs on union meetings. So a way to leverage Saturdays off for local, state, regional, national meetings.
 

Voglio-il mio

Well-known member
Several times, I’ve been told “you’d make an awsome steward”....
I’ve considered it a “few” times, mind you, just a few... I’ve always said, there’s nothing in it for me except the headaches.
Come on, be real, we’re all in it for us when it’s all said and done. What’s in it for me?
This question goes out to all you stews out there.....
What’s in it for you? You don’t get paid by the union to be a stew. You still pay dues, right? (Last job I had, if you were a stew, you didn’t pay dues any more)
Granted, you might get aux help or what not when your doing in office “steward” business, but really, what’s that do?
Give me your opinions. What’s in it for “you” being a stew.
All my office loves me, but in all honesty, I can’t find a reason to become their “steward”. My office is a “family”, we’d all give the shirts off our back if another needs it..... we’d all do what ever is needed for each other......
But I can’t find a reason to be their steward....
"What’s in it for you? You don’t get paid by the union to be a stew. You still pay dues, right? (Last job I had, if you were a stew, you didn’t pay dues any more)"

This is a concept I suggested a several years back at an annual meeting because we were having difficulties finding volunteers to become stewards. The topic was brought up and asked to a National guest speaker we had. Basically they just danced around the issue, then swept it under the rug! I personally think that its a great idea that stewards receive free union membership for services rendered. Years ago that may have been enough to entice me into being one, not now! Now I'm just pacing myself on my way to retirement!
 

gotstamps

Well-known member
In my large office, we only had 1 Steward & she never did much unless it effected her or a grievance was filed. People were always asking me questions as I started researching for my own defense. The RCAs were also being treated poorly & didn’t know they had any rights. They are the main reason I jumped in.
I’ve always had a “target on my back” So that didn’t really change much except now I know my rights & can fight back. My mgmt likes to try to make me an example to the Haters in my office. They still harass me but I can hit back as the Steward because as a Stew, I am an equal to mgmt.
Becoming a Stew did bring out the Bullies. Relationships will change. They now couldn’t get away with what they would say was ”Contractual”. Mgmt would take their word instead of researching. Now mgmt comes to me to check the validity of their statements. Those Bullies now don’t get away with much. They are also the ones that think the Steward can “MAKE“ mgmt do something or stop doing something simply by talking to them. Just be prepared to work more than your compensated.
 

Cliff Clavin

Well-known member
Staff member
In my large office, we only had 1 Steward & she never did much unless it effected her or a grievance was filed. People were always asking me questions as I started researching for my own defense. The RCAs were also being treated poorly & didn’t know they had any rights. They are the main reason I jumped in.
I’ve always had a “target on my back” So that didn’t really change much except now I know my rights & can fight back. My mgmt likes to try to make me an example to the Haters in my office. They still harass me but I can hit back as the Steward because as a Stew, I am an equal to mgmt.
Becoming a Stew did bring out the Bullies. Relationships will change. They now couldn’t get away with what they would say was ”Contractual”. Mgmt would take their word instead of researching. Now mgmt comes to me to check the validity of their statements. Those Bullies now don’t get away with much. They are also the ones that think the Steward can “MAKE“ mgmt do something or stop doing something simply by talking to them. Just be prepared to work more than your compensated.
We must work in the same office. We have one like that!
 

Cliff Clavin

Well-known member
Staff member
The only reason I became a steward is so that I would actually know the black-and-white rules. Although they are sometimes gray. In our area does it do any good to file a grievance? No because our DR is a management ass kisser I miss the days when the union actually stood up and backed a carrier whether they agreed with them or not
Exactly what our DR and ADR is and really don't know very much either.
 

flash

Well-known member
In my large office, we only had 1 Steward & she never did much unless it effected her or a grievance was filed. People were always asking me questions as I started researching for my own defense. The RCAs were also being treated poorly & didn’t know they had any rights. They are the main reason I jumped in.
I’ve always had a “target on my back” So that didn’t really change much except now I know my rights & can fight back. My mgmt likes to try to make me an example to the Haters in my office. They still harass me but I can hit back as the Steward because as a Stew, I am an equal to mgmt.
Becoming a Stew did bring out the Bullies. Relationships will change. They now couldn’t get away with what they would say was ”Contractual”. Mgmt would take their word instead of researching. Now mgmt comes to me to check the validity of their statements. Those Bullies now don’t get away with much. They are also the ones that think the Steward can “MAKE“ mgmt do something or stop doing something simply by talking to them. Just be prepared to work more than your compensated.
If you would indulge me...

What inside Info are you getting that isn’t already available to all carriers IF they know/read/understand the 603, the contract and whatever other available material out there??

Is there a secret society that only you stewards get the real scoop?
 

HardearnedTan

Well-known member
Staff member
flash,
if you are a union member you can go to the nrlca website, click departments, and steward and there you have at your fingertips all the steward reference materials to learn not only the contract, but other USPS manuals, handbooks, and publications too. If you ever opened an encyclopedia or dictionary and just started reading whatever page just for curiosity or to entertain yourself, then you can learn a ton by picking a topic and reading what's been fought for already...and then you will teach yourself how to research any claim or argument....and you will, as btdtret likes to say, become "very scary" to mgmt. You don't have to become a steward to learn this stuff. But it might make you WANT to do it in an official capacity.
And, as gotstamps pointed out, it raises you to the level of an EQUAL to your management, whether they like it or not! (A definite perk!!!!! if you have a**hole mgmt, in my humble opinion.)
 

Rcflyn

Well-known member
If your office is running as a "family" I wonder why you're being asked to be a steward. I think most of us became stewards because our offices needed them to address specific issues.
I haven’t been asked to become a stew. I’ve been told I’d be a good one. One of our clerks and I get along very well (she is a clerk side stew), and her and I talk union garbage quite often. I know very little of union BS, other than what I’m gathering from all you awsome peeps on this site. Several times, in hers and my discussions, she’s commented “you’d make an awsome rural side stew”. I always laugh it off, and tell her “when they (the union) makes it worth my time, I might, MIGHT, concider it.” There have been a few times, in her and my conversations, another carrier in our office would be listening in, and when she says “you’d be a great stew”, the other carrier would agree with her, “yes, I too think he’d make a good stew for us”.... but never once has anyone asked me to.....
Our last in house stew (one who agrees I’d be a good one), quit being our steward just before her first child was born. (Just over a year ago).

The thing is, our office, we really are like a family. I concider everybody in my office “my family member” even our new PM (who just got awarded PM position about 2 months ago). All our clerks, all our carriers, they are my brothers and sisters in my mind. And I know they all feel the same of each and every one of us. We are a family office. To the best of my knowledge, there’s never been a reason to “griev” anything in my office in the 5 years I’ve been there, but, until 2019, I was just an aux carrier who also had a 1 year medical leave, so I’m unsure, but I never heard of things needing to go to grievance....
In 2019, I got full time regular, and never once have we had an issue in our office needing grieving... (well, one, but on clerk side, and it was settled real quick I believe)....

I’ve got a lot on my plate at the moment, real life things, so right now, stew life is the last thing on my mind. But, I’m hearing everything y’all are saying. Y’all are pushing me towards “MAYBE” seriously concidering becoming one....
I appreciate all your responses.
This is why I love being here. We can laugh and joke around, but we can also be dead serious when the subject requires it.
 

Rcflyn

Well-known member
"What’s in it for you? You don’t get paid by the union to be a stew. You still pay dues, right? (Last job I had, if you were a stew, you didn’t pay dues any more)"

This is a concept I suggested a several years back at an annual meeting because we were having difficulties finding volunteers to become stewards. The topic was brought up and asked to a National guest speaker we had. Basically they just danced around the issue, then swept it under the rug! I personally think that its a great idea that stewards receive free union membership for services rendered. Years ago that may have been enough to entice me into being one, not now! Now I'm just pacing myself on my way to retirement!

This is one thing I don’t get. Every company I’ve ever worked for, if it was union, if You were a union official (stew, treasurer, Vp, president, what ever), if you were an official, u didn’t pay dues. Period, end of s.tory.
I was flabbergasted when I found out our “official” union members still had to pay dues. WTF. REALLY? Is our union really so low to keep charging those that want to be “official” members???? (Loooks like it).
 

Travelingmailman

Well-known member
Several echoes of my own toils in this thread.
Having several uphill battles recently and guess what...pawing through ancient posts, digging through mou's and contract articles & reaching out for guidance on RI I'm fighting for me and our office....so far so good but TBD lol.
The best thing my ADR said to me when I asked her the same question as you are asking us Rcflyn was, "we are not the postal police" & "don't go looking for a fight". My understanding is generally people are sorta lazy or just want to get the days work done and go home without having to deal with the stress of confrontation plus learning all this crap...because its crappy! lol...but to have someone else figure their problems out with little to no effort on their behalf can be frustrating & annoying...I digress
this is why I'm on the stu fence as well
 

gotstamps

Well-known member
If you would indulge me...

What inside Info are you getting that isn’t already available to all carriers IF they know/read/understand the 603, the contract and whatever other available material out there??

Is there a secret society that only you stewards get the real scoop?
No “Secret Society“ but Stews tend to get info before it’s available for the rest of the members. I’ve also received some Stand Up Talks before mgmt so I was able to confer with them on the content before they could screw it up by “reading between the lines”.
Although the SRG is online now through the Union, not all info is on there. I often need to wait to get home to my computer to find info that’s not on the website. Stews are given quite a bit of info that’s not available online to help us with what we need to win a Grievance. Stewards are also mandated to have quarterly Labor/Management Meetings to go over any concerns that we OR mgmt has & to wor together for a better work environment. Not all Mgmt will “play nice” but we try 😏
 

EthelAnne

Well-known member
The best thing my ADR said to me when I asked her the same question as you are asking us Rcflyn was, "we are not the postal police"
This is excellent advice. It distresses me to see posters here who are stewards make comments that appear to view the steward role as enforcing strict interpretations of the contract and P&P. A steward is not there to enforce USPS P&P--that's the job of management. A steward's role is to represent the interests of carriers in the office.

It's not my job to point out errors by management that result in a benefit to carriers, or to correct the behavior of carriers, or judge the worthiness of carriers. Having said that, becoming an unofficial "assistant PM" is a very easy trap to fall into for stewards, and very seductive. For those who are thinking of becoming stewards, it's another thing to consider.
 
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