Last month, more than 50 Teamsters 856 shop stewards dedicated their Saturday to learning more about their rights, role, and responsibilities as worksite leaders.
The June 2 training, which was held in Oakland, launched with a welcome from Principal Officer Peter Finn, who thanked Local 856 stewards for their dedication to improving working conditions for their co-workers and keeping Local 856 strong.
Next up was a panel discussion focusing on Weingarten Rights. Weingarten refers to union members’ right to have a union representative present during an investigatory interview with his or her employer when the member reasonably believes the interview may lead to disciplinary action.
Panel members Judy Frazier, a shop steward from Eden Medical Center, Shaune Vaughn, a shop steward from Delta Dental, and Local 856’s president, Mike Lagomarsino, shared their practical experiences with representing members in investigatory interviews and fielded questions from attendees on best practices.
Frazier said that although she’s not a big public speaker, she was happy offer her insight. “Discussions like this can be better than just reading about representing members in a book,” she said. “We can share real-life situations with each other and pick up little tips here and there.”
In addition, labor attorney Andy Baker, from Beeson, Tayer, & Bodine, who also moderated the morning’s panel, led an informative discussion on basic grievance handling.
The day also included a presentation from UPS shop steward Debra Caison, who volunteers with the Teamsters Assistance Program (TAP), a resource for members who are struggling with substance abuse or emotional issues. Caison encouraged her fellow Local 856 stewards to let members know about TAP’s services should they ever need to use them.
The seminar also marked the first official Teamsters 856 steward training for West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) members, who held their first shop steward election in May. WCCUSD members joined Local 856 last year and recently ratified their first Teamsters 856 contract. (Read about the new Teamsters 856 WCCUSD contract here.)
“My main objective is to be of service to my co-workers,” said WCCUSD Steward Sara Scott. “We need to make sure we’re proactive. I’m happy to be a part of this.”
Scott’s WCCUSD colleague, Eddie Johnson agrees. “I am here to help my co-workers. The union is the members and therefore we have to be involved,” he said. “I’m glad Local 856 offers this type of training.”