Unions generally have paid employees known as “business agents,” “field representatives,” “labor representatives,” “worksite organizers,” etc. These individuals are employed and paid by the union. These business agents generally represent the larger interests of the organization, such as bargaining MOUs, representing employees during disciplinary hearings, and seeking new members.
Union stewards differ from business agents in that they are employees of the County, not of the union. They are elected or are appointed by the union membership to serve as representatives of the larger body of employees in the portion of the unit they represent. Stewards are frequently involved in working with employees on informal complaints and grievances, representing employees during investigatory interviews, and participating in “meet and confer” sessions.