Part Time Union Stewards Needed

What is a Union Steward

A Union Steward is the representative of the Union in their workgroup, and the representative of their co-workers in the Union leadership, and at meetings with management. A steward should ensure their work group is informed about bargaining, employment issues, contract rights, changes and decisions that effect them, and policies and procedures related to questions and complaints in the workplace. If they don’t know the answer, they will know who to call. They are the facilitators of informed democracy in the workplace.

Union stewards may also serve as Occupational Health & Safety Campus Committee members, or on other management-union committees. They may specialize in benefits, accommodation and human rights, grievance handling, communications and campaigns, bargaining, mobilizing or any other activity that improves the lives of the workers at Seneca and within our communities.

Training and Support Provided. No Experience Necessary. All Skills Welcome.

How to Become a Union Steward

Steward Nomination Form

We need Part Time union stewards fast! If you are willing to be a steward, or wish to nominate one of your co-workers, complete form and send it to, or bring it to the Union Office at Newnham.

Part-Time Stewards nominated prior to March 4, 2018, will also be eligible to be nominated to attend the first provincial meeting of Part-Time union leaders from all colleges, to be held March 24th and 25th. Each College Local will be sending two representatives, one regular PT and one student PT worker, and from those 48 delegates, a Bargaining Team will be elected.

Stewards are elected by Work Areas, or Units. Small campuses tend to be a single unit, and larger campuses are broken down geographically. A complete list of Work Areas is on the attached Nomination Form. Each Work Area is entitled to a minimum of one steward. We prefer more in larger groups or where there are multiple shifts.

Usually, stewards elections are held in our Local during the Fall, every two years. In Oct/Nov, 2018, we will (re)elect stewards, and then officer elections are done by polling stations, usually in December. However, we have always allowed interim nominations where needed.


Local Elections – Nominations Open Until December 3, 2016

Nominations are NOW OPEN for Officer and Trustee Positions, to lead and administer OPSEU Local 561, representing the full-time and Appendix D Support Staff workers at Seneca College.

Positions to Be Elected

  • President
  • 1st Vice President
  • 2nd Vice President
  • Treasurer
  • Membership Secretary
  • Recording Secretary
  • Chief Steward
  • Trustees (2)

Who is Eligible to be Nominated?

Any elected steward of OPSEU Local 561 can be nominated for any of the above positions, except for Trustees. Trustees can only be nominated from Members of the Local who are NOT stewards, as their role is to audit the Local’s financial records. A list of newly elected stewards is attached. Stewards can only accept nomination for one (1) position.

Who is Eligible to Nominate an Officer or Trustee (or Vote)?

You must be a Union Member in Good Standing to nominate someone for an officer or trustee position in the Local. All of our members are in good standing, therefore everyone who has signed a union card to officially join the Union is eligible to nominate someone or vote in our election. If you have not signed a union card, you can contact any of the stewards on the attached list, or come to the Union Office at Newnham (B4060) on Monday afternoons for a warm welcome and orientation.

How to Nominate and Accept Nomination

Valid nominations must be received in writing by Local Returning Officer, Adrian Klymenko, prior to Midnight on Saturday, December 3rd, 2016.

1. To Nominate by Email

  • Send an email from your college email account, and copy the person you are nominating
  • Include the name of the nominee and position
  • Have the Nominee REPLY ALL from their college email to officially accept nomination for that position.

2. To Nominate by Paper / Inter-office Mail

  • Provide a short letter including your name, signature, the name of the person you are nominating, and the position.
  • Have the Nominee sign a statement agreeing to stand for that position. This can be on the same paper or on a separate paper.
  • Mail the nomination to Adrian Klymenko, ITS Department, Seneca@York.

All nominations will be acknowledged, and nominations that are not clear or do not contain the above information will be returned to the nominator for correction.

Local Officer Responsibilities

(Taken from OPSEU’s Constitution, Article 29.5.)

he President shall enforce compliance with Bylaws and regulations of the Union and Local; preside at Local meetings; be an ex-officio member of all Local committees; generally supervise the affairs and operations of the Local; carry out such other duties as may be prescribed by Local Bylaws.

The Vice-Presidents shall perform all the Presidential functions during any absence of the President and accept and exercise such other duties and powers as may be designated by the Local Executive Committee or the President. The Vice-President may also attend all functions (including all regional meetings and Conventions) of the Union, in place of the President when the President cannot attend.

The Treasurer shall be responsible for proper administration of the assets of the Local, including the operating funds.

The Secretary shall…forward all pertinent membership information to the appropriate union regional office. In Local 561, the Membership Secretary also organizes the signing and orientation of new members and maintains membership information.

The Secretary shall attend all meetings of the Local and keep Minutes; distribute notices to all members of the Local, as required; answer and/or forward all pertinent correspondence. In Local 561, the Recording Secretary also assists with maintaining records and notes from grievances and other local business.

The Chief Steward shall…coordinate and assist the Shop Stewards. In Local 561, the Chief Steward assists local stewards with filing and presenting grievances for members within their work group, administers grievance timelines, receives grievance responses from the college, and coordinates the scheduling and preparation of local grievances for arbitration.

Only members who are NOT stewards can run for Trustee positions. The Trustees shall examine all books, records, and properties of their Local, including any Unit thereof, at least twice each year. All Officers of the Local are required to make available all necessary documents to the Trustees on reasonable notice. The Trustees shall file an audit report, in a form specified by Headquarters, to Headquarters at least once in every six months and shall also make a full report to the first general membership meeting following each audit.

Local 561 Election Timeline

Election of Stewards: Completed, October/November, 2016.

Nomination Period
Fri., Nov. 18 – Sat., Dec. 3, 2016
Nominations must be received by Midnight, December 3, 2016.

Posting of Acclaimed Candidates and Contested Positions
Mon., Dec. 5, 2016

Election Campaign Period
Mon., Dec. 5 – Wed., Dec. 13

Election Day
Thu., Dec. 15, 2016
Voting will be by Ballot at Each Campus.

Posting of Results
Fri., Dec. 16, 2016

Second Ballot Date (IF Needed)
Tue., Dec. 20

When Would We Need a 2nd Ballot?
Under OPSEU’s Constitution, and our Election Procedures, a 2nd ballot is required when there are more than two candidates running for the same position, and none of these candidates receive 50% of the vote (ie. Candidate “A” gets 16%, “B” gets 35% & “C”  gets 49% of the vote).  The candidate with the fewest votes will be removed from the ballot, and remaining candidates will have the option to also remove their names. If necessary, there will then be another ballot with all remaining candidates. If there are four or more candidates, and after a second ballot, there is still no candidate with at least 50% of the vote, then again the candidate with least votes will be removed, and subsequent votes will take place at the next General Membership Meeting.

What is a Union Steward?

A Steward is a volunteer who represents the members in his or her immediate work area. A steward informs co-workers about union activities and issues; finds answers to questions about the Collective Agreement and other employment rights; and facilitates the sharing of opinions and concerns that influence the Union’s decision making, priorities and bargaining.

Ideally, your steward is who you’re gonna call when you have questions or problems at work. You can always call an elected officer directly, especially if a matter is sensitive or urgent. However, by going to your area steward first, you help build a wider and stronger experience base within our Local. You will also have someone in close contact who can follow up for you.

Stewards are not expected to do more than that. We all have families and interests outside of Seneca. However, for stewards who want more, there are many rewarding opportunities in health & safety, employment stability, human rights, grievance resolution and committees and meetings with management or other locals or unions. Stewards can also run for elected office in the Local, or for Regional and Provincial committees and elected positions.

No experience is necessary, but an interest in helping people is always good. We need representatives from every job category. There will be plenty of training, resources and support from more experienced stewards, and from the staff and experts at OPSEU.