The Role of the CUPE 2950 Union Steward

The Steward is a cornerstone of union activism. A Steward must be a role model in the workplace.


UNION REPRESENTATIVE Stewards are organizers, educators, leaders, communicators, and advocates.

ADVISOR A steward is there to provide advice. When a steward is helpful and addresses members’ issues, the members know that the union is working for them.

INVESTIGATOR A steward investigates complaints by listening carefully, taking notes and asking questions. A steward is discreet. Her/his role is to clarify a problem and ask what solutions are possible.

PROBLEM SOLVER There are always two points of view. Management may have one and the member may have another. A steward’s job is to bring the two together to effect a resolution.

ADVOCATE The steward is the “watchdog” of the collective agreement. This could mean meeting informally with a supervisor to address a concern, submitting a grievance, or referring a problem to another committee of the union. Stewards are on the front line.

A RESOURCE They are also a resource for information on issues such as health and safety, harassment and job placement.

EMPLOYEES and MEMBERS Stewards are UBC employees and dues-paying union members who volunteer their time to help us when we have issues in the workplace.


The CUPE 2950 Collective Agreement, Article 8 states: The University recognizes the stewards elected by the Union and shall not discriminate against such stewards for carrying out the duties proper to that position.

A steward has rights :

  • The right to be recognized by the employer as a representative of the union, an equal with management when stewarding.
  • The right to take time off from regular duties to investigate, process and settle grievances.
  • The right to take educational courses to assist in carrying out their duties effectively.
  • When a steward meets with the University or its representatives, it is on paid University time.


Stewards serve Union members by protecting the Collective Agreement, and works towards ensuring that positive Labour Relations are maintained. Stewards are expected to have knowledge of and abide by the CUPE Constitution and the By-laws of Local 2950, and to comply with the terms of the Collective Agreement, Provincial Labor Laws, and Human Rights legislation.


Stewards are resources for management and members, helping to create a better work environment.

Stewards answer members’ and management’s questions about the collective agreement language and how it applies in the workplace.

Stewards learn new skills that can be applied in the workplace to resolve differences before they grow into conflicts or grievances, e.g., conflict resolution, anti-harassment training, health and safety.

Stewards bring insight into how the university operates overall, seeing the bigger picture, instead of being focused solely on their faculty or department.


Stewards need to apply knowledge and refer members to resources in the following areas and more:

Roles, responsibilities, and rights
Layoff / Job Placement
Return to Work
Health & Safety / WCB

What are the COMMITMENTS?

Stewards meet with members, record pertinent details and report immediately to the Union office. There are Steward Committee meetings that take place in the Union Office. Stewards are provided with information on various issues as well as given an opportunity to discuss current issues.Steward training is provided at various times throughout the year. This may range from a lunch hour, or ½ day to 2 days at a time.

What kind of TRAINING will be provided?

CUPE and the Local Union Office offer a variety of training including workshops on Health and Safety in the Workplace, Discipline and Discharge, Harassment in the Workplace; and Duty to Accommodate, among others.

Interesting in joining as a Steward?

Contact the office by email or by phone 604-822-1494