The Union shall designate a reasonable number of Stewards to assist in resolving grievances. The designation will depend on such circumstances as geographical locations, hours of employment, and departmental organizational structure. The Union shall notify the Human Resources Department Director in writing of the individuals so designated. Alternates may be designated to perform Steward functions only during the absence or unavailability of the Stewards except by mutual agreement of the parties.

Stewards may be relieved from their assigned work duties by their supervisors to investigate and process grievances initiated by other employees within the same work area or representation unit including participating in Steps 1-4 of the grievance process as described in Section 38.2. Requests for release time shall not be denied unreasonably. Stewards shall promptly report to the Union any grievances which may arise and cannot be adjusted on the job. Supervisory employees shall not represent non‑supervisory employees in a grievance procedure where such activity might result in a conflict of interest. Neither a Steward nor the Union shall order any changes, and no change shall be made except with the consent of the appropriate department heads.

The Union shall notify the County in advance of an investigatory meeting if they wish to have released an additional steward for training purposes. Requests for release for training purposes shall not be unreasonably denied. Any denial may be appealed to the Employee Relations Manager whose decision shall be final.