Delayed a year, shop stewards catch up at bi-annual training
Oct. 28, 2021 | Postponed in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic, Local 355 held its 2021 Steward Seminar earlier this month at the Princess Royale Hotel & Conference Center in Ocean City, Md. The three-day educational program was attended by 114 stewards representing workers at 40 companies.
One of only a few of its kind in the Teamsters Union, the Local 355-sponsored program is designed to provide its shop stewards with essential training in grievance handling and contract negotiations, focusing on the specialized skills required to represent their coworkers effectively.
“The purpose of this seminar is to educate, encourage and recognize the hard work and dedication necessary to be a job steward in Local 355,” said President Denis Taylor in his welcome to the group.
Under the direction of labor educator Grainger Ledbetter of the Labor Education Program in Little Rock, Arkansas, new and first-time stewards learned their roles and responsibilities and received instruction on grievance handling and arbitration preparation. Dennis Hower, President, IBT Local 773, delivered immersion instruction on contract negotiations, along with helpful tools to assist them in being a more effective member of their bargaining committee.
Prudential Financial experts conducted a class for veteran stewards designed to enhance understanding of complicated issues about 401k pensions and the UPS Teamster 401k. Others attended a course presented by attorneys from Local 355’s legal firm where important facts about Health & Welfare plans were presented and discussed. Another class covered the grievance and arbitration process related to Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) disputes. President Denis Taylor, the Director of the IBT Package Division, led an in-depth discussion for UPS and TForce-UPS Freight stewards about the growing threat Amazon poses to UPS and other contractual matters of regular concern to members.
In a new Drug & Alcohol Awareness class, Officer Bill Alexander Jr., Maryland Transportation Police, guided stewards on the potentially harmful effects of a wide range of substances such as alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, prescription, and other drugs used while operating a motor vehicle. Information about medical conditions that can mimic drug impairment was also provided.
The steward seminar has instructed Local 355 shop stewards since its first training session rolled out in 1996. Since then, hundreds of hard-working men and women committed to enforcing a Teamster contract have gone on to effectively represent and protect their members, thus improving conditions in their workplace. Stewards are the Union’s eyes and ears on the shop floor. Without their dedicated commitment, our members could not benefit from the Union’s robust and active presence in the workplace.
Local 355 Officers and Trustees: (Front row) Vice President Bill Alexander, Secretary-Treasurer David White, President Denis Taylor, Recording Secretary Mark Garey. (Back row) Trustees Christopher Greene, Sysco; Dale Pink, UPS/Harrington; Janet Genovese, UPS/Baltimore
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