Job Steward Steps in to Lead Worksite Win
Annalinda Kimaara became a job steward, like many of our members, to help her coworkers and workplace thrive. When she was asked to take over a representation issue for a custodian at Metro State Hospital, she was standing up for the rights of workers in their workplaces.
After another staff member had made an allegation against a union-represented employee, the case had to go to the investigators. When Annalinda took on his case, the investigation had already been ongoing for a whole year. “It was very stressful for him, not knowing what the allegation was,” she said. “That he was not informed by his immediate supervisor is troubling, because he should have been informed about this situation in his workplace.”
In order to provide him with the representation he needed, she had to collect the facts of the case alongside the investigators and understand the situation at the workplace. When there are conflicts or tensions involving workers, especially those who have been in a workplace for years, this research helps reveal what is going on in the workplace.
“He was trying to clean a room to help a patient and had been put into a stressful situation which he handled in a respectful manner,” said Annalinda. “In fact, he had not agitated the patient or even spoken to them in the course of his duties to clean the patient’s room.”
When investigators looked into the member, they found no evidence of wrongdoing and determined that he had in fact been very respectful in his work history.
“We attended the meeting with two investigators and were questioned. We won the case that day,” she said. “The investigators thought that the member was acting appropriately and saw no reason to continue the investigation after our first conversation.”
Unfortunately, this case dragged on for far too long, turning a misunderstanding in the workplace into a drawn-out process. The investigator’s backlog of cases delayed the process as well. Fortunately, he reached out to the Union in a timely manner, and we were able to represent his case from start to finish.
“This was one of my first representations, and having been there before, things have really worked for members who have reached out,” said Annalinda. “It always helps to go into these situations with a job steward. If I don’t know something, I can talk with the Member Resource Center (MRC) and other resources to find the answers our represented members need.”