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A focus on stewards

HSA REPORT MAGAZINE, DECEMBER 2015

BY VAL AVERY, PRESIDENT, HSA

For most members, their first contact with our union is through a steward.

These are the members who spend countless hours helping their colleagues at the worksite. HSA staff are unmatched in their expertise and experience, but they rely on our network of stewards to solve daily problems at hundreds of worksites, welcome a constant stream of new members to the union, work patiently through the process of dealing with grievances, and act as the true face of the union for the vast majority of our members.

So it was good to see so many of the delegates to our last convention eager to talk about how best to support our stewards. Those conversations mark the start of a longer discussion, much of which is set out in our 2020 Strategic Plan. As we move into the new year we will continue our engagement with stewards on how best to support their needs. Through a series of roundtable focus groups attended by stewards from around the province, we will look to set direction in the areas of education, mentoring, and communications to support our hard-working stewards. In an ever changing world with challenging workloads and limited resources, we must always be prepared to find innovative ways to assist the vital work stewards do, and I look forward to creating that future with them.

In that spirit, the December issue of The Report provides a glimpse of the steward experience from two points of view. Doris Peters is just starting out as a steward, and it's interesting to read about how her perspective has changed – from someone who knew very little about what the union was doing to support members like her to an activist who now seeks to educate those around her about the value of working together. John Bhullar is a more experienced steward, wrestling with an enormous worksite. He tells a great story about his work to find new ways to engage the membership and get them to realize that the union isn't some group of people out there, it's you, and our future is in your hands.

HSA stewards do amazing work advocating on behalf of their colleagues. It's time to celebrate – and support – the people who keep our union running.

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