President's Message - March 27, 2019

Isabelle Miller, National President

Dear members,

I’m very pleased to announce a change to the Local’s process of scheduling Unit Meetings, and to the content of those meetings. As previously announced in my President’s Message from February 14, 2019, many of you have expressed a desire to have less structured meetings, meetings that are much more about discussion, learning and plan making rather than moving through the regular order of business, minutes, reports, etc. While having some structured meetings is definitely a necessity to adhere to our By-Laws and to keep Units organized, less formal or theme-based meetings are often better attended and found by members to be more engaging.

Earlier this month, Unit Chairs and Unit Secretaries received a memo from National Secretary-Treasurer Michael Phillips outlining the updated processes for Regular Unit Meetings and Special Unit Meetings. Here are some highlights:

  • Your Unit will be holding four (4) Regular Unit Meetings per year. A “Regular Unit Meeting” is a Unit meeting at which the Regular Order of Business forms the agenda (adoption of minutes, Officer Reports, Local Union Representative Reports, etc.) as outlined in the Local 1944 By-laws. They will be scheduled directly by our Local Union office, and you will continue to receive a meeting notice for you to be able to attend.
  • If you are unable to attend the meeting in person (due to geographical constraints for example), we will be providing you with access to participate in your meeting digitally through our Local’s webconferencing system, called Zoom, for conducting Unit meetings. Zoom (similar to Skype or Facetime) allows members to call in to a Unit Meeting using a computer, laptop, mobile phone or tablet, and see one another via videoconferencing technology. This is an exciting new opportunity for you to be able to stay connected with other members in your Unit and learn about what is happening in your Local Union and your workplace.
  • Attendance will be taken at all Regular Unit Meetings, and attendance information will be stored at our Local Union Office. If you are unable to attend your Regular Unit Meeting, it is very important to let your Unit Secretary know in writing in advance and let them know the reason why. Under our USW Local Union By-Laws, members must attend 1/3 of these Regular Unit Meetings (or be properly excused) in the 24 months preceding nominations to be eligible to run for Unit or Local office (Local 1944 By-Laws, Art. 4 s.5c). 
  • Your Unit has also been encouraged to schedule “Special Unit Meetings” which will not follow the Regular Order of Business, but rather will have a particular theme or topic and will be a less formal membership meeting. Themes/topics may include a discussion about a particular workplace problem, a pension presentation, an educational seminar, a barbeque, a social event, etc. This gives each of you the opportunity to get to know other members, find resources to help you or other members with workplace issues, and even learn about how you can get involved in broader social initiatives your Union is working on. Although attendance is of course still encouraged, your absence from Special Unit Meetings will not impact your eligibility to run for Unit of Local office. 

As stated last month, your Local’s leadership is committed to turning things around to improve your Unit Meetings and make them more engaging. We will continue to post all Unit Meetings in the Meeting Calendar on our web site as well as send you notices for your upcoming meetings once they are booked.

As events unfold, it will be my pleasure to continue to provide each of you with more detailed communications about what we are doing for you. This Local is yours; I work for you, as all Officers do, and I strongly believe you should know what we do in our efforts to represent your best interests. In the near future, you will be receiving information about opportunities on our revamped Local Committees; stay tuned!

As always, I encourage you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter @usw1944, and to visit our web site at as often as possible, so that you may know what we do when we work for you. Please encourage fellow members to do the same. Thank you!

In Solidarity,

Isabelle Miller, National President of USW Local 1944