Shop Stewards Tips

DISCIPLINE CASES (Terminations, suspensions, warnings, etc.)

  •  Always insist that you or another steward are called by management to represent members who are being disciplined in any way. If you are denied your right to represent, contact your Union Representative and file a grievance.
  • At the initial disciplinary hearing listen carefully to the Employer’s case. Ask questions and keep good notes using the Steward’s Low Level Hearing Report form for DISCIPLINE CASES.
  • If you cannot get the Employer to drop the proposed discipline, write a grievance protesting the discipline or proposed discipline. If you need help writing the grievance, get the member’s information and call your Union Representative. File timely!
  • File a grievance for any member terminated or suspended no matter how bad you may think the case looks. If the member does not wish to file, contact your Union Representative for guidance.
  • Immediately notify your Union Representative of all Discipline Cases, especially terminations and suspensions. Turn in all notes and evidence from the initial disciplinary hearing to your Union Representative.

NON-DISCIPLINE CASES (Contract violations, seniority violations, pay shortages, subcontracting, safety, etc.)

  • When you get a member complaint or become aware of a violation of the contract, investigate the violation and take notes to document it. Include the 5 Ws.
    • WHO: Who was involved in the grievance? Include members and management involved. 
    • WHO: Who was involved in the grievance? Include members and management involved. 
    • WHAT: What is the grievant’s story? What is management’s position? What did witnesses say? 
    • WHEN: When did the incident or condition occur? Get dates and times as accurately as possible. 
    • WHERE: Where did the grievance take place? 
    • WHY: Why is this a grievance? What has been violated? The contract? Federal, state, municipal laws? Past practice? Workers’ rights? Previous ruling or awards? 
    • HOW: What remedy is necessary to correct the situation? 
  • Contact your Union Representative, except in routine cases, to consult concerning possible contract articles violated, strategy, investigation guidance, etc. 
  • Requests to view items required for your investigation. If you are denied access to witnesses or information needed to investigate the violation, contact your Union Representative. 
  • Once your investigation is complete, contact the Employer representative with the authority to resolve the problem to set up a hearing. Mark the agreed to date, time and place for your hearing. Know and follow your contract’s grievance steps. Be timely. 
  • Prepare for the hearing. Outline your case and prepare for possible Employer points. 
  • At the low level hearing discuss the problem with the Employer representative. Have the grievant present whenever possible. If the grievant cannot be present, consult prior to any settlement. Keep good notes.
  • If you don’t get a satisfactory resolution, complete the formal grievance form and file it with the Employer representative. Keep the grievance short and to the point. 
  • Do not argue your case on the grievance form. (You will only give away your arguments to management). Put down only the facts of the case. Date and mark the grievance as “presented / deadlocked.” File timely! Don’t miss the deadline.


  • Stewards are advised to consult with their Union Representative prior to writing grievances or conducting hearings for advice and guidance.
  • All Discipline Cases not settled at the initial disciplinary hearing are to be handled by the Union Representative. 
  • Stewards must conduct a proper low-level hearing for non-discipline cases prior to moving the grievance to the next step. For the low level hearing to be considered proper the Union and Employer must have had the opportunity to present their facts and arguments related to the case.
  • If the Employer refuses to meet or gives you the run around, contact your Union Representative immediately