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Steward’s Handbook

  The following are some of the tools I find effective for being a steward at UPS. 

    1.   Establish relationships with management.
        Much as you would like to berate, and punish your manager for their indiscretions, a quality business-like relationship will benefit you and your membership a great deal more than constantly being on the fight. While it doesn’t hurt to have an occasional go-round with them, a good relationship is key when it comes to the major cases. 
  2.   Listen carefully.
        Very often you will gain valuable information just by overhearing the conversations of others. (Yes they do it to You!) Casual comments in the office, or even in the guard shack can alert you to issues or information that may help you in cases you may be involved in. You can also pick up on the nuances of how one management person relates to another. This knowledge can be very valuable in trying to settle important cases. 
  3.   Build a sense of trust between yourself, your union membership, and management.
        It’s very simple. People won’t confide in you if they don’t trust you. You must respect the privacy of the individual be it a member you are representing, or a manager that is bringing you a problem. If you betray that trust, you may never get it back. 
 4.   Regardless of your relationships, let all parties know in no uncertain terms that you will represent the union, and your members with everything you have.
        To quote Teddy Roosevelt “speak softly, but carry a big stick”, or something like that. Everyone involved must understand that you are ready to fight. It’s the tool you must save for the right occasion, but it’s the tool you need to brandish on occasion.

        Remember also that a fight in front of the membership is worth ten times more than a fight behind closed doors.

Randi Rhode’s Take on Wisconsin

In the battle of Wisconsin, Democrats have beaten a strategic retreat. Democratic legislators have fled to Illinois in order to deny the Wisconsin Senate the necessary quorum to conduct its dirty business. Think of it as a filibuster conducted with your feet. Police in Illinois, or for that matter in Wisconsin, have no authority to bring the fugitive lawmakers in. There is no crime being committed—this is an action intended to prevent a crime from being committed. You know, if these fugitive lawmakers really want to rub Governor Scott Walker’s face in it, they should submit invoices for travel per diems for the time they’re out of state.

Governor Walker says the state of Wisconsin is in a crisis. He should know—he put it there.
Intentionally. Just last month, Walker gave away $140 million in tax breaks—which accounts for all of the budget shortfall Wisconsin is now facing. If Wisconsin has no money, it’s because Walker has been giving it away. Walker created an economic crisis, and now he’s trying to exploit it. It’s a smaller-scale version of what Republicans are doing by using massive tax cuts for the wealthy to say we need to slash entitlements. In reality—not a place a lot of conservatives are familiar with—Wisconsin is in better shape than most states… except for the fact that Scott Walker is the governor.

It could be worse—look at Florida, where Governor Rick Scott has
rejected $2.4 billion in federal money for a high-speed rail line, essentially throwing Florida’s economic recovery off the rails. Now both Republican and Democratic lawmakers are trying to bypass Rick Scott, like they’re laying a railroad line and Rick Scott is some sort of Florida swamp that they have to find a way to cross. Hey, if America could build a Transcontinental Railroad over the Rocky Mountains, we should be able to figure out a way to build a railroad over Rick Scott’s stupid intransigence. There is already talk of a recall swirling around Rick Scott—and Florida doesn’t even have a law for recall elections… yet. Nobody ever envisioned the voters in Florida making a mistake as big as Rick Scott. Yeesh. Wouldn’t it just be easier if progressives bothered to vote in off-year elections?