Stewards are problem-solvers and advocates; they are trained to help members through crises but also to answer questions about the Collective Agreement (contract), about rights and benefits, and to be the eyes and ears of the local.
You should contact a steward if:
- you don’t understand part of the contract
- you have questions about your benefits or rights
- you think your rights under the contract have been denied, ignored, or undermined
- you have been called to a meeting with management that may impact the terms of your employment
- you receive notice regarding a change to your employment
- you are called to a disciplinary meeting
- you are being harassed or made to feel uncomfortable in the workplace
- you have a conflict with another member or a manager
- you believe that union work is being privatized, contracted out, or being assigned to or completed by workers outside the union
- you are interested in volunteering as a steward
A list of current stewards is available on the website or you can contact the office to be put in touch with someone. Unlike some locals, CUPE 951 does not have “shop stewards” who represent specific groups of workers or are assigned to specific buildings, although we do have Child Care stewards who are specifically trained to deal with issues in that work group.
CUPE has put together a very useful mini-dictionary of union language — defining common terms like arbitration, just cause, privatization and work to rule. Go to A CUPE Mini-Dictionary of Union Language at the CUPE national website.
As part of your employment, dues are deducted from your pay. This money funds CUPE 951 and allows the local to operate. Union officers and members advocate on behalf of our members, negotiate contracts, ensure a safe workplace, and contribute to campaigns regionally, provincially and nationally. A portion of your dues also goes toward the Defence fund which is used to cover the costs of arbitration, member hardship, and top up the strike pay provided by CUPE BC and CUPE National.
An “information line” can involve demonstrations and leafleting or signs being held up by members at entrances or in front of buildings in a non-intimidating manner, but the purpose of an “information line” is to inform others and demonstrate, not attempt to block entry to a worksite or intimidate.
A “picket line” is a boundary established by workers on strike, that others are asked not to cross. Picket lines involve signs and placards being carried on the border of a worksite displayed in a manner that would cause others to believe they are picket signs, gathering in an intimidating manner making it difficult for others to cross the line, or refusing to allow people to cross the line, impeding access to or blocking entry to a worksite.