Stewards are BCNU members like you, who have stepped up as leaders in their worksites to provide their skills and knowledge to help fellow members.
As a steward, you will be able to work proactively with management and advocate for BCNU members. You will gain knowledge and develop skills to help you use BCNU's problem-solving tools (grievances, PR process, JOHS committees, and union-management meetings) and resolve workplace concerns. You will feel the satisfaction of doing important leadership work that directly benefits you and your colleagues.
As a steward, you have the power to make a real difference in your workplace. Our collective agreements are powerful contracts that set the rules for fair and equitable practices. Stewards are the leaders who make sure these rules, and other rules related to fairness and equity (like human rights legislation), are respected in the workplace.
Your union has fought to include hundreds of rights in your collective agreement. Throughout the career of any member, these rights can make a big difference, at work and beyond. As a steward, you will come to understand these rights and learn how to advocate effectively for others.
Good working conditions for nurses and other health care workers help to ensure patients receive the care they need. As a steward, you do work that directly impacts patient care – from monitoring safety concerns and ensuring staff get the breaks and leaves they deserve, to speaking out on staffing issues.
As a steward, you will receive a wide variety of training that prepares you for the work you do. This high quality education, reinforced by the leadership experience you will gain, will increase your competence and confidence in a number of areas that go well beyond your steward work – from effective advocacy and presentation skills to the ability to handle conflict and communication well.
These educational opportunities are accompanied by multiple opportunities each year to gather with other stewards from across your region and the province to share ideas, support one another's efforts and build strong relationships that often last a lifetime.
Stewards are asked to commit to a three-year term. Over the first year you will learn the basics of the steward's role. During the second year you may discover a passion and choose to specialize in a particular area of steward practice, growing your skills and knowledge in new directions. By the third year, you will have mastered many skills and be ready to take on new roles and mentor others.
As you map out and travel on this journey, you will receive support and mentorship from others on your team, and from the labour relations officer (LRO) assigned to your worksite. LROs bring a wealth of experience with grievances and any issues that are proving hard to resolve, so stewards know they can seek support in the work they take on.
There is no one type of person who makes the perfect BCNU steward. Every steward contributes their own experience and skills, and steward teams benefit from this diversity. Some of our most effective stewards are quiet people, with strong listening skills or creative minds. They are very powerful in grievance meetings. Others are very social – they are great at networking, and keeping their finger on the pulse of the worksite.
What is required of those who step up to the steward role is a strong desire to grow and learn, to be a role model and leader at the worksite and to advocate for yourself, your colleagues and for safe patient care.
Successful stewards are those who cultivate respectful relationships between members and employers. By doing this, trust is earned, conflicts are resolved quickly and members feel supported. Successful stewards make a difference in their worksite in the following ways:
Are you Ready to Lead?
As a steward you will provide guidance to your co-workers on a host of work and sometimes non-work related concerns.
You will help members address problems and communicate crucial information about issues concerning your worksite and your profession.
As a steward you will also convey the ideals of BCNU—and articulate our vision of improving the work life, health and economic status of our members while being an advocate for public health care.
As a steward, you will inspire and mobilize members at your worksite.
All new BCNU steward positions are currently available through appointment only. If you are interested in becoming a steward, visit the BCNU member portal and review the Policy and Procedure Manual (5.6.2 Steward Appointments) and contact your regional council member.
Please review the information below outlining the key expectations for steward participation, and learn more about the level of union activity required to qualify.
Steward Role Descriptions
You’ll be Supported
BCNU provides significant resources to stewards, including education in leadership, labour relations, conflict resolution, and communication. Although much of your steward time for union activities is usually paid, a spirit of volunteerism is required to thrive as a member-driven union.
Stewards can also access the Steward Resource Toolkit online, 24/7. This toolkit provides comprehensive information and resources to support stewards in their role.
Steward can access the Steward Resource Toolkit online, 24/7. This toolkit provides comprehensive information and resources to support stewards in their role.
Access the Steward Resource Toolkit online, 24/7. This toolkit provides comprehensive information and resources to support stewards in their role.
STEWARD RESOURCE TOOLKIT
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