In early August, IBEW 1245 conducted its annual public-and-private-sector shop steward training series. Approximately 60 stewards from Nevada employers came together for a training in Reno on August 8, and the following day, the union held another shop steward training at the IBEW 1245 hall in Vacaville for over 100 stewards who work at public sector agencies in California. The following week, an additional training took place in the City of Lompoc, specifically for the Local 1245 members who work there.
These interactive trainings give stewards the opportunity to brush up on the skills they need to best represent their fellow union members, while also learning about the new and evolving threats facing our union. The day-long training touched on a wide variety of topics, including grievance handling, your rights as a shop steward, dos and don’ts, and how to represent members in investigatory meetings when union members exercise their Weingarten Rights. The training also included a session on common grievances issues, such as past practice violations and just causes for discipline. Additionally, the Local 1245 business reps who led the training reminded the stewards about the union’s Duty of Fair Representation — the legal obligation to represent all members and non-members of the bargaining unit fairly, in good faith, and without discrimination.
Local 1245 Business Manager Tom Dalzell spoke to the shop stewards about the challenges facing our industry, including our fight to defeat Question 3 (a deregulation measure on this ballot this fall in Nevada); the threat to California utilities stemming from the state’s strict liability standard as it relates to climate-change-induced wild fires; and the recent Janus vs. AFSCME Supreme Court decision that made agency shops illegal in the public sector.
Shop stewards are the foundation of the union, and being a steward is unquestionably one of the most challenging positions one can take on. Stewards must be accountable to the members and the union, while still maintaining a good working relationship with the employer. We are grateful for everything our stewards do for our union, and appreciate the time they spend making sure they are the best trained stewards in the labor movement.
–Al Fortier, IBEW 1245 Assistant Business Manager
Photos by John Storey