LOCAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (LEC)
The LEC is made up of the President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary. These are elected positions with a term of 2 years. All members of the LEC are also Stewards.
The LEC is responsible for carrying out the financial and administrative business of the Local under the terms set by the OPSEU constitution.
- Oversee healthy functioning of the LEC and the local.
- Keep the union visible and credible with employer(s) and in the workplace(s).
- Represent the Local to the rest of OPSEU, the labour movement and the community.
- Share leadership role with other LEC members. Encourage and mentor new and diverse leadership in all parts of the Local.
- Work with the Treasurer to maintain financial health of the Local.
- Maintain and encourage communication between Stewards, units, regional office and executive board members.
- Provide support to the Local president and other LEC members.
- Actively share the workload of the LEC in carrying out Local action plans and programs.
- Act on behalf of the Local president if absent.
- Oversee the healthy day-to-day operations of the LEC and the Local.
- Document decisions made by the LEC and the membership (minutes).
- Send out information to the LEC and the membership (e.g. notices, memos and bulletins).
- Maintain current information helpful to the LEC programs (e.g. membership info, participation in education, union and community resources).
- Responsible for all financial transactions of the Local.
- Issue cheques and has signing authority.
- Keep financial records of the Local.
- Develop and present an annual budget to LEC and membership reflecting the Local’s program priorities for the year.
- Ensure that trustees have financial information in order to complete Trustee Audit Reports (TAR).
- Oversees, supports and mentors other stewards to do their jobs well.
- Provides information, references and training to stewards, the LEC and members on representation issues.
- Identifies, with stewards, common workplace issues to address with the employer, or for bargaining.
- Keeps records of grievances for use of the membership in dealing with the employer.
- Represents members through the higher levels of the grievance process.
Stewards are responsible for and to the members at their site, and the Bargaining Unit (i.e. Broadview Village, Evangeline, Islington, P.L.U.S.).
Responsibilities of Stewards
- Listen for and identify members’ diverse issues and carry these to the LEC (Local Executive Committee)/Unit Committee for decision.
- Communicate union information to members, including LEC decisions affecting members.
- Bring together diverse members to build solidarity and seek support for workplace actions authorized by LEC/Unit.
- Attend LEC/Unit committee meetings to participate in decision-making.
- Do basic preparation and investigation on grievances arising from members.
- Represent members in step 1 and other meetings with management.
Becoming a Steward
Most of us become Stewards because we want to represent and help our fellow members. But, we have no idea how. There are OPSEU Educationals for Stewards and Grievance training, but they only happen 4 times a year. In the absence of that we’ve put together the information below.
How to get Involved
Stewards start by doing. A member can have a Steward present at any meeting with management. These meetings may be investigation interviews or disciplinary meetings.
The member can choose any Steward they want. The Steward’s role is strictly to be a note taker, a witness, and supportive at this point. If something is unclear to the Steward they can ask questions to clarify. The Steward is not there to defend anyone, or to add anything. But, taking good notes is very important. They may be crucial evidence in a grievance or arbitration later.
Before the meeting the Steward should find out from the member, or management if they are calling, as much as the Steward can about what the meeting is for. If it is a meeting called by management, the member may not have very much information. That’s okay. If it is disciplinary and the member thinks it might be serious, it is a good idea to call the President or Vice President and make them aware.
Fullfilling your Role as a Steward
Stewards need to be aware of issues at their workplace. If there is an a problem the first step is to make Management aware. This is something the member(s) that are having the problem would do. The Steward is there as support and to take notes, if the member requests this. The Steward can also suggest to the member that they take this first step. The Stewards are always free to call the President, Vice President, or another Steward for advice. The Steward is not alone!
Read and understand the collective agreement. The Stewards don’t need to memorize the whole thing! Just know where to find what they ares looking for. This way the Steward can have a better be able to spot a problem, or advise members on what steps to take. Such as, one member can’t grieve against another member. But, if a member makes management aware of a problem they are having with another member, its management’s responsibility to address the problem. Depending on what management does, or does not do, a member can bring a grievance against management.
Know the Grievance Procedure (Article 13 of the Collective Agreement). This is where the Steward’s role becomes more active. The Stewards are not expected to undertake grievances alone. Stewards can call the the President, or Vice President for assistance if they need to. Most of the Stewards have learned our role from more experienced Stewards.
Things to Keep in Mind
The Stewards are always free to call the President, Vice President, or another Steward for advice. The Stewards are not alone!
Each Steward is the voice of OPSEU Local 550. The Steward can’t be fired for insubordination when acting in this role!
Stewards may expand their core responsibilities to other areas including health and safety, bargaining, labour management committees, union counselling, building links outside the Local, etc.
Attending meetings is important. Just as important, though, is to encourage members to attend membership meetings, such as the GMM, Demand Setting meetings, Ratification meetings, and any other meetings where members are invited.
If the Steward can’t attend a meeting they should find out what happened at the meeting that was missed. Read the minutes, ask the Secretary, President, Vice President, or any other Steward. Then, pass on any information as necessary to the members.
Everyone, please, be patient and kind with one another, the members, other Stewards, and the LEC. Everyone is working hard. We all have a life out side of work, also. We all have challenges. We are all Stewards voluntarily, because we care!
- There are 2 Trustees.
- Trustees cannot hold any other office in any other Local.
- Ensure the integrity of the Local’s bookkeeping, by reviewing the Local’s financial records at least twice a year.
- Report briefly, twice a year, to the membership that the TAR for the Local are complete.