Steward Resources

Duty To Accommodate

The duty to accommodate is likely the most common, and one of the most challenging, issues in the contemporary workplace. There are basic steps that the employer, the employee and the union should take when an issue of accommodation arises. What action is required and what processes should be followed? What are the key ingredients of a successful accommodation? There are basic steps involved at each stage of the process, including identifying the need for accommodation, gathering the necessary information, investigating the options, and ultimately fulfilling the duty to accommodate. If a steward is tasked with this issue please advise your rehabilitation committee, if there is one in your bargaining unit.  If not, discuss the issue with your Labour Relations Officer.  The discussion will include:

  • Identifying the need for accommodation: What information does the employer need to have before the duty to accommodate is triggered?
  • Medical information and privacy: How should parties obtain and use medical information in a way that balances the employer's need for information with the employee's privacy rights?
  • Investigating accommodation options: What are the steps that should be taken by employers, employees and unions to investigate and consider the availability of accommodation options?
  • Implementing accommodations/elements of a successful accommodation: What are some examples of accommodations that should/must be considered? Modified work stations or physical environment? Modified job duties or hours? Bundling or reconfiguration of duties? Is transfer to a lower-rated or non-bargaining unit position permitted? If so, when can these options be considered?

As well as, bona fide occupational requirements (BFORs) and undue hardship: What is a "bona fide occupational requirement" (BFOR) and how can workplace parties determine what elements of a job are bona fide occupational requirements?

For additional information on this topic, please click on The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission document below.

The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission


SGEU Anti-Harassment Policy

Click here for the pdf version of the SGEU Anti-Harassment Policy

Respectful Workplace and Harassment

The employer is morally, socially and legally responsible for ensuring a respectful work environment free of harassment. This responsibility flows from the Saskatchewan Occupational Health & Safety Act (or its successor, the Saskatchewan Employment Act).  Therefore, if the employer is legally responsible for ensuring a respectful workplace harassment complaints should first be processed through the employer's harassment policy, not through the grievance procedure. (A grievance can be filed later if the employer fails to handle the complaint in keeping with their policy or the law).

The following document will assist you on how the steward deals with such complaints...

Respectful workplace and harassment

Know Your Workplace Harassment Procedure

The Occupational Health &Safety Act (or its successor, the Saskatchewan Employment Act) requires all employers to develop, in consultation with the occupational health committee, a written policy to prevent harassment in the workplace. Employers must implement that policy and post it in the workplace. What does your say? For additional info please read the following...

For additional information on this topic, please click on Know Your Workplace Harassment document below.

Know your workplace harassment procedure

Member-To-Member Harassment: What To Do

How do we deal with and education some of our members who are less than perfect people?  What are our legal or moral obligations?  Our union foundation is that we are unity of all workers.

For additional info on this topic, please click Member-To-Member Harassment:  What To Do document below.

Member-To-Member Harassment:  What To Do

Ten Mistakes A Steward Should Never Make
  1. Miss your deadline.
  2. Never get back to the grievor.
  3. Bad mouth the union.
  4. Drop the routine fly ball.
  5. Sit down and shut up at meetings with management.
  6. Lose control.
  7. Write long grievances.
  8. Meet the grievor for the first time at the grievance hearing.
  9. Wait for the member to come to you with the problem.
  10. Forget to take a breather.

For an explanation of each of these reasons, please click below.

Ten Mistakes A Steward Should Never Make

Nobody's Perfect Checklist for Stewards

We all make mistakes.  We're human.  Shop stewards even make mistakes.  Some of these mistakes are particularly serious.  Here is a list of 20 mistakes that shop stewards may make.  Read them over.  Nod your heads.  Try not to make them!

Click below for a list of 20 mistakes that a shop steward may make:

Nobody's Perfect Checklist for Stewards

Duty of Fair Representation

All members have the legal right to fair treatment from the union and its representatives.

Duty of fair representation does not mean that unions have to take every grievance through to arbitration.  It means we must judge a grievance on its merits, not on our opinion of the grievor.

For additional information on this topic, please click on Duty of Fair Representation document below.

Duty of Fair Representation


Steward Roles and Responsibilities

The steward is probably the most recognizable and one of the most important positions within the labour movement. You are the first person that members in your assigned area contact for information about the workplace, SGEU, collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and for help resolving workplace issues.  Therefore, the steward is a vital link between the members, your local, SGEU and management. 

To many members, the steward is "the Union" and their relationship with the steward will have significant influence on their view of SGEU. Through their actions, attitude and approach the steward will be the SGEU that our members remember. Therefore, it is critical that the image and reputation put forward by the steward is one worthy of their trust, confidence and respect.

Under the guidance of your chief steward, you will work collectively with other stewards, elected leaders, SGEU Labour Relations Officers, bargaining unit and sector officials. Our members will most often turn to you, the steward, when seeking advice.  In order for their opinions to be valued, the Steward must be familiar with several documents including: the SGEU Constitution, local bylaws, their collective bargaining agreement, workplace policies and practices and any relevant legislation.  Above all, the Steward must be a fair and objective advocate for all members in their workplace.


  • Resolve Conflict: You will be recognised as a good problem solver.
  • Credible and Reliable: You will be seen as an honest and credible person with a high degree of integrity and respects the privacy and confidentiality of each member.
  • Assertive: You will be assertive (not aggressive) and decisive, with the ability to deliver difficult (even if unpopular) news.
  • Respected: You will be recognized and respected for possessing a strong work ethic. The steward is positive, motivated, enthusiastic and an energized supporter (and promoter) of the Union
  • Diplomatic: You will demonstrate commitment to the principles of justice, equality, security, fairness and democracy.
  • Compassionate:  The steward is compassionate and is able to develop a rapport with the members. You will make members feel comfortable and provide them with supportive encouragement.
  • Communication:  The steward has well-developed communication skills including the ability and willingness to give your undivided attention. Is thorough and well organized and empowers members to help themselves by providing them with information and support.


As an SGEU steward, your key responsibilities include:

  • Building solidarity and promoting harmonious relationships among the members and discourage factional bickering in the workplace
  • Serve as the protector of the rights of our members
  • Enforce the collective agreement and/or any applicable legislation by identifying violations, investigate complaints, and meet with management to solve problems or file grievances
  • Provide information on programs available to members through the union and employer, such as Workers’ Compensation, Long-Term Disability, and Employee & Family Assistance Plans
  • Defending your union from harmful rumours by promoting and maintaining a positive, professional and proactive relationship within the union, and between our union and management
  • Investigating and responding to members concerns in a timely fashion
  • Gathering necessary research materials to support negotiating committee
  • Learning from your fellow members by asking for their advice because their knowledge, strengths and experiences may help you to help others.


Your fellow members expect stewards to:

  • Supporting and cooperating with your chief steward, local executive, SGEU leaders and their appointees and never working in conflict with them.
  • Getting to know SGEU, including understanding our history, structure, mission and role within the labour community.
  • Encouraging members to attend meetings and (when asked) offer a brief report on the issues discussed at the meeting in such a way that those who didn't attend will recognize their importance.
  • Maintaining open lines of communication with the Chief Steward, other Stewards, Officers, members and the SGEU Office.
  • Reporting to the local executive the successes and challenges you have faced.
  • Ensuring that all members are abiding by the rules set forth in the SGEU Constitution and your local bylaws.
  • Attending and actively participate in union meetings.
  • Attend training sessions offered by the Union.
  • Promote union building activities such as: welcoming new members; recruiting volunteers to become actively involved in union affairs or; exploring opportunities for increased membership participation.
  • Promote and support the "Union Label" by buying products that have been produced by Union members.

Standing in solidarity with SGEU, you will help us succeed in our efforts to enrich the lives of the working men and women. The back bone of the labour movement and the spearhead of every battle is the Steward.

Click here for the pdf version


Chief Steward Roles and Responsibilities

You are a workplace leader representing SGEU, coordinating stewards, and enforcing the collective bargaining agreement. You work collectively with stewards, elected leaders, and SGEU staff in your workplace, bargaining unit, sector and management.  As chief steward, you fulfill the duties of a steward, but also work with other stewards in your zone to do the following:


  • Encourage stewards to approach you with questions about processes and contract interpretation and with reports of workplace conflicts and issues.
  • Advise stewards and members about union activities and advise bargaining unit and sector leaders about workplace developments.
  • Ensure new-member orientations are occurring as needed.
  • Ensure you have strong relationship with the assigned SGEU Labour Relations Officer.
  • Inform stewards and members of changes in the collective agreement or interpretation, and of relevant arbitration decisions.
  • Be accessible to your stewards by telephone or in person

Conflict Resolution

  • Assist in resolving conflicts between members, stewards or between members and the employer.
  • Be knowledgeable about both workplace and union harassment policies and procedures.
  • Encourage stewards to talk to you when they encounter harassment in the union or in the workplace and work with stewards and/or the SGEU Labour Relations Officer to resolve the problem.
  • Hold regular meetings of all stewards. Topics should include current workplace issues, barriers facing equity-group stewards, discrimination/harassment of stewards and in the workplace, and strategies to address issues. 
  • Work to dispel, not encourage rumors

Grievance Co-ordination

  • Assign complaints and grievances to stewards in your zone, taking into account:
    • Stewards’ specialized knowledge
    • The chance for new stewards to gain experience
    • The need to prevent steward burn-outMembers’ right to the steward of their choice shall be adhered to
  • Assist stewards, as needed, in writing and investigating grievances properly and in judging whether a complaint is a grievance.
  • In communications with the SGEU Labour Relations Office, keep track of filed grievances and ensure the necessary tasks are completed.
  • Educate stewards that all grievances shall to be fully investigated against a violation of the CBA and/or any other Statutes or Laws, before being filed. Educate stewards on the internal appeal processes.
  • Ensure contract enforcement by:
    • Not agreeing to any deal that violates the collective bargaining agreement or other rights in a statute.
    • Challenging violations of collective-agreement and other rights in statute


  • Promote maximum involvement by members in union activities, especially within the collective bargaining process
  • Delegate duties to stewards (and panel reps where relevant)
  • Call and chair regular steward meetings to share information, identify best practices, and review grievances and other workplace issues
  • Chair other meetings when necessary, such as membership or union-management committee


  • Actively recruit new stewards with the goal of achieving a representative steward body in SGEU

Mentoring & Training

  • Ensure you are familiar with your collective agreement, related legislation, workplace policies and procedures, SGEU policies, Steward Manual, and union resource people
  • Complete training as set out in SGEU policy
  • Orient new stewards and support them to meet the expectations set out in the steward job description

Provide or arrange mentoring for new stewards

  • Encourage stewards to take appropriate training, such as ULD 10, ULD 11, ULD 20, ULD 30, and conflict-resolution
  • Update stewards about education opportunities
  • Encourage stewards to set appropriate limits to prevent stress and burn-out

Administrative Duties

  • Ensure elections are held for stewards and OH&S committee
  • Ensure that stewards are being registered with SGEU Membership Records after each election
  • Ensure distribution and posting of union information within your zone

Click here for the PDF version

SGEU's Equality Statement

Click here for the pdf version of SGEU's Equality Statement

Saskatchewan Human Rights Code

Click here for a link to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission

Speaking Notes for New Members

Click here for the Speaking Notes for New Members




Steward Registration Form

Click here for the Steward Registration form

Working Well: Employers' Guide to Preventing and Stopping Harassment in Saskatchewan Workplaces

Click here for Working Well:  Employers' Guide To Preventing and Stopping Harassment in the Saskatchewan Workplaces

Privatization Quiz and Answers

Click here for the Privatization Quiz


Click here for the Privatization Quiz Answers