Mary Granger came from a union family: Mom was in a nursing union; Dad was with Teamsters. “I grew up unionized. Nobody had to tell me to join a union,” said Granger. As Chief Steward, Granger sees her job, at its essence, as: Here’s our contract, two parties have agreed to it (the CSU and the CSUEU), and I’m just here to enforce it. She recalls the first significant instance of a manager violating her rights was when a payroll director gave her a box, instructing her to store her gym shoes, lunch and all personal belongings inside. Yuck, she thought, that’s not even sanitary. Granger checked with a more experienced colleague and union leader, Pauline Robinson, and was told that the manager’s directive pertained to a condition of employment, which needed to be conferred with the Union. And it was also a health and safety matter. Granger typed up a cease and desist letter, copying the campus president, telling Management to stop violating her rights. And it was stopped! The manager subsequently apologized and allowed Granger to store her personal effects inside office drawers. “Lots of people become stewards because they have issues with their manager. After filing grievances, you learn a lot that makes you want to be an advocate for others,” said Granger. What she tells new employees They have rights, they have a contract and the contract is the Bible for our employment at the CSU. I tell them if something is going wrong, communicate with Management and also make sure you put it in writing. That’s your record, and follow up. Common grievances Misinterpretation of Article 10 (pertaining to performance evaluations). Management might give an evaluation and want it back the next day. Our contract says 10 working days. Or they try to get an employee to do a self-evaluation, and that can get a person in trouble. Article 17 is another common issue where management believes they can tell us to do what is outside of our scope of work, outside of classification. This problem probably echoes across the CSU, where we work out-of-class and we don’t get compensated for it. But we get evaluated for it. Explaining what a union means First thing I tell them is what my mother always told me: Nothing in life is free. You know how you have a set of hours of working? That’s covered in your contract. The job description you have, that’s in your contract. Your health and safety and other benefits, your vacation and sick time and raises … That’s in your contract. Union dues paid for all of that. Her role as a Steward I tell them I’m here to advocate for the employee’s rights. I encourage both sides to communicate. My job as a Steward is to fix any error, correct any mistake or misunderstanding, and reach a place where the employee and employer can work together. When I leave this room, I go back to do my work.