All eligible members are currently receiving an important voter package in the mail for the upcoming Local Union Bylaw Ratification Vote on Tuesday, November 21st.
Voting will be held by electronic ballot (internet and telephone) and your voter package contains a unique Personal Identification Number (PIN) that will be required to cast your vote.
Full details of the proposed changes to the Local Union Bylaws are available on our website at:
Here is what you need to know about the recommended changes as we continue to transition and integrate into the USW structure:
• Ballot #1: Are you in favour of Proposed Bylaw Change #1 (Removal of the Bylaws, Finance, Education and Solidarity Committees)
Under the USW International structure, the role of the existing Bylaws Committee has changed. Our Bylaws state, "The Bylaws Committee makes recommendations to the Local Annual Delegated Meeting on changes to the Bylaws and Policies of the Local Union that they feel are needed." As all changes to our Local Union Bylaws must comply and be consistent with the USW International Constitution, when Units submit resolutions to the Local Annual Delegated Meeting (LADM), they are submitted to the USW International for approval prior to the LADM. If the USW International deems a resolution to be in conflict with the USW International Constitution, they are then flagged and ruled out of order by the chair of the LADM.
The role and function of the Finance Committee have been surpassed by the creation of the three Trustees. The elected Trustees review the finances quarterly and to ensure checks and balances are in order, the USW International Auditors annually audit the Local's books. Moving forward, the elected Secretary-Treasurer, Trustees and National Executive Council would propose and manage the Local's operating budget.
The Education Committee no longer fulfils the original committee mandate. Under the USW structure, there are full-time International, National and District education coordinators. The USW staff members administer, write, organize and update Steelworkers courses across the country. There is no longer a need for our Local's committee to do this. Members are still encouraged to put forward educational suggestions to the National Executive Council for consideration.
With the integration and utilization of Communication Action Teams (CATs), the mandate of the Solidarity Committee duplicates outreach and solidarity initiatives. Building solidarity starts at the Unit level and on the shop floor. Through the Building Power CAT program, we created a more integrated, and grassroots level of organizing and no one know their Unit better than the Unit Executives and CATs. CATs connect Units and the Local to ensure voices are heard from the shop floor up.
The recommended changes will save the Local a minimum $50,000 per year.
• Ballot #2: Are you in favour of Proposed Bylaw Change #2 (Removal of the Bargaining Local Annual Delegated Meeting)
One of the biggest challenges facing our Local during bargaining with Telus is having the company come to the table already knowing what our members want. This allows the company to build a package that completely undermines the union as well as the bargaining committee's ability to be strategic.
It is important to note that our Local does not hold Bargaining Local Annual Delegated Meetings (LADMs) with any of our other certifications (i.e. Shaw, Freedom, Stratcom, Stericycle, etc.). In addition, no other Locals within the USW hold Bargaining LADMs.
This recommended change will save our Local approximately $300,000 per round of bargaining with Telus. We can use this money to better support our bargaining efforts by engaging members, providing education and building solidarity across the country.
• Ballot #3: Are you in favour of Proposed Bylaw Change #3 (Removal of the minimum number of National Executive Council meetings per year from the Bylaws)
This is a housekeeping item. At the LADM in 2016, Article 2.21 of the TWU, USW Local Union Policies were changed to read "The National Executive Council shall meet a minimum of six (6) times per calendar year at the call of the President. Approved National Executive Council meeting minutes shall be distributed to all Unit Officers." However, our Bylaws supersede our Policies and Bylaws Article VIII (4) remained "The National Executive Council shall meet a minimum of nine times per calendar year at the call of the President." At the 2017 LADM, a Bylaw change was brought forward to match the Policies.
The recommended change will amount to an approximate savings of $2,500 per day in wages (approximately $10,000 in wages per year), plus travel and accommodation costs.
• Ballot #4: Are you in favour of Proposed Bylaw Change #4 (Removal of Local-specific oath language for Elected Officers and for the President)
This is a housekeeping item to change the language in our Bylaws to align with the language in the USW International Constitution.
• Ballot #5: Are you in favour of Proposed Bylaw Change #5 (Removal of Unit Sick Committee language)
Many units consider this housekeeping language, as many Units do not utilize the Unit Sick Committee language. This is a cost saving measure to reallocate the funds to more significant expenditures to better serve and support our members.
• Ballot #6: Are you in favour of Proposed Bylaw Change #6 (Reduction of the frequency of Local Annual Delegated Meetings from every year to every 3 years)
This is the most significant recommendation. Many Locals of the USW hold LADMs every three years. Under the USW structure, all changes to our Local Union Bylaws must comply and be consistent with the USW International Constitution. As we continue our transition to the USW structure, there will be less need to change Local Union Bylaws. If urgent business arises between Local Annual Delegated Meetings, "The National Executive Council shall exercise the Authority of the Local Annual Delegated Meeting between local annual delegated meetings. It shall take such action and render decisions necessary to carry out fully the resolutions and instructions of the Local Annual Delegated Meeting and to enforce the provisions of these Bylaws subject to the right of appeal to the Local Annual Delegated Meeting," as per Article IV of the Local Union Bylaws.
As a national local, there is a significant cost to holding LADMs every year when factoring in wage replacement, travel, accommodations, venue rentals and contracts. This recommendation will result in an approximate $400,000 per year savings and will allow us to continue to properly service and support our members across the country.
The USW International has reviewed this recommendation as well as the referral decision from the National Executive Council and found no grounds in violation of the Bylaws or Constitution.
All six recommendations have been deemed in order by the USW International and received support from the Bylaw Committee and National Executive Council.
Voting on the six recommendations will take place on Tuesday, November 21st by electronic ballot, from 5:00 am to 5:00 pm (Pacific Time). As per Article XX of the Local Union Bylaws, "Ratification shall be by referendum ballot and shall require a 66-2/3% majority of the votes cast."
If you have not received your voting package and are eligible to vote, a Voter HelpLine has been established for assistance. A sample voting package can be found here. The Voter HelpLine can be reached at 1-888-281-8683 during the following hours:
• Thursday, November 16 from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm (PT)
• Friday, November 17 from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm (PT)
• Monday, November 20 from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm (PT)
• Tuesday, November 21 from 5:00 am to 5:00 pm (PT)
Thank you for taking part in our Union's democratic process.
The Telecommunications Workers Union, United Steelworkers National Local 1944