Role of a TSSU Steward

A TSSU departmental Steward acts as a liaison between members of their department (or school or faculty) and TSSU. Simply put, the role of a Steward is to both help members of their department and TSSU; by doing so, a Steward helps all TSSU members, and SFU at-large. Stewards are often the people who first bring issues to TSSU’s attention, and that is how many grievances start. Recent examples include: members not being paid on time; members having money illegally deducted from their cheques; having the childcare fund subsidize the general student bursary; Guard.me health insurance for international students. Stewards can also keep their colleagues informed of important updates, answer questions, or refer members to someone who can help them.

Stewards should inform the TSSU when they become a Steward and when they leave the position. To ensure a smooth transition, we ask that Stewards send us the names and emails of new Stewards in their department, and that departing Stewards try to recruit new Stewards to maintain departmental memory.

Stewards are also responsible for maintaining the TSSU bulletin board space in their department and locating and familiarizing themselves with the detailed departmental job priority list. If there is no TSSU bulletin board in your department, or if it is smaller than 1 square metre, please contact chief_steward@tssu.ca.

Who can be a Steward

Each department can have one Steward if the Department has up to 20 individuals, plus one more for each additional increment of 20. Stewards are elected by the members within a department, typically during graduate caucus elections. Any member, including undergraduate TAs/TMs, external TAs/TMs, and Sessional Instructors, are eligible to become Stewards. Stewards are required to report to their caucus about Union activity and to the Stewards Network as necessary. Stewards have meetings scheduled three times a semester.

If you are interested in becoming a steward for your department, or would like to learn more about the position, please contact chief_steward@tssu.ca. This is particularly important if your department currently doesn’t have any stewards!

Steward stipends

Stewards are eligible for a stipend of $250/semester. To receive the stipend, Stewards must attend least two Stewards meetings and one General Membership meeting a semester and make themselves known as a Steward to members in their department.

To receive a stipend, complete a Steward stipend request form and submit it to the TSSU office (AQ 5129) or by email to coordinator@tssu.ca.

Steward training

Steward training typically occurs once a year and lasts for a few hours. Meals are provided, and training is open to all TSSU members. Steward training covers a variety of topics, including understanding the Collective Agreement, interpreting appointment forms and contracts, and finding appropriate ways to assist members with problems.

During Steward training, each Steward receives a manual and a binder full of information. If you are a Steward but do not have these resources, please contact chief_steward@tssu.ca.