RI Hospital Unit Representatives Fact Sheet

What are Unit Representatives?

Unit Representatives are unpaid, volunteer representatives of their co-workers and their union.  They may be elected or recruited, or may have simply volunteered.  Unit Reps are required to obtain at least ten signatures of support from their co-workers (except in particularly small units).  The union reserves the right to add, substitute or delete unit representatives.

Who do Unit Representatives represent?

Unit Representatives generally represent their unit.  However, there may be times when a Unit Representative is responsible to the employees on a unit other than his/her own.  The union strives for an overall Unit Rep:member ratio of anywhere from 1:10 to 1:20.  This ratio may vary on a particular unit.

How are Unit Representatives Trained?

All Unit Representatives receive support from union staff and officers, including training classes, books, videos, hand-outs, correspondences, and regular Unit Rep Meetings.  Unit Reps attend training classes at which they learn their legal and contractual rights and the basics of grievance handling.

What are the responsibilities of Unit Representatives?

Unit Representatives are responsible for communicating union-wide issues, activities, goals, policies, etc. to their co-workers.  Unit Representatives are equally responsible for communicating the concerns, questions, suggestions, needs, etc. of their co-workers to the union leadership.

What are the legal rights of Unit Representatives?

Unit Representatives have the legal right and responsibility to represent their co-worker in grievances and other job-related matters.  Unit Reps investigate potential grievances, represent members at investigative interviews conducted by supervisors, and seek to resolve grievances, wherever possible, with the immediate supervisor (Step 1) and/or with the Department Director (Step 2).  Unit Reps generally attend Step 3 hearings and arbitrations, as well.Unit Representatives are authorized to represent their co-workers in unit-specific labor-management issues.  Managers are encouraged to work cooperatively with Unit Representatives in an effort to resolve issues of mutual concern.  Unit Reps are encouraged to seek the input of their co-workers in such cases.