Your shop steward does the same job as you. Your shop steward is someone you know. He or she understands the job you do, the management you report to, and the particular complexities of your job. He or she makes the same money as you or is at least on the same pay scale. The shop steward is protected under the same contract as you.
Shop stewards get it. They understand the challenges your job brings.
Your shop steward probably knows you too. Chances are you’ve had a conversation at some point. He or she may be someone you consider a friend at work. Your shop steward may know your spouse’s name. He or she may know your kids’ names too.
The point is this: your shop steward is one of you.
Don’t forget that.
You may not have taken the time to sit down and study your contract inside and out, but you can bet your shop steward has. Chances are, your shop stewards keep a copy of your contract on their person whenever they are at work. They probably keep a copy at home too.
Shop stewards also undergo training to ensure they are equipped to process grievances. Many stewards become active in their locals and become stewards because they have experienced unfair discipline and they know what it is like.
Again: your shop steward is one of you, so they understand what you experience on a daily basis as well as or better than anyone else. They are there to help you because they know the importance of quality representation when dealing with the company.