USA Elections Board
Dave Litterer (Chair), Linda Merritt, Cindy Kicza, Lorie Gwozdzik
Constitutional Revision Ratification Election
PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES
SUMMARY AND RATIONALE
The potential constitutional changes we're putting before the membership for a vote mostly involves changes to the Executive Board with some committee changes. You'll see some small language changes to clarify language that was needed, some re-numbering and re-lettering.
Our wish is always to get more members involved. This increases the board positions and adds a new committee that we think is needed and very important.
We are proposing adding the parliamentarian duties to the general secretary duties. Our general secretary takes minutes of meetings and thus needs to be familiar with procedures and be familiar with Roberts Rules of Orders. Parliamentarian duties are needed only at board meetings and membership meetings.
We are also proposing combining the treasurer and membership secretary. These are both very important positions which have several closely related duties. USA has purchased Quickbooks, so we hope to have some check writing duties done right in the office, which will alleviate the burden of the treasurer's job. Quickbooks will also automate the duties involving budgeting and reporting presented to the membership and Executive Board.
This past year, we had 3 board members resign from the board. One thing we would like to add is that general board members can be appointed to the Executive Board without a special election. If there is any chance that we can find someone who is willing or able to step in to take on duties of someone who retires or resigns from the board, then it's more cost effective to appoint someone rather than do a special election. The appointment period would only be until the next election period.
The three new positions we propose to add:
Chief Steward - this position will be involved mostly with filing grievances, mentoring stewards and working with the Grievance Officer on tracking grievances. The Grievance Officer has more management duties, so adding a person who can assist the stewards and the Grievance Officer with grievances will be a great benefit.
Reclassification Specialist - this position will chair the Reclassification Committee whose main focus will be helping members with reclassifying their positions, tracking new positions and descriptions and working with other union officers and the Umass administration on new job descriptions.
Chair of the Steward's Council - this position will run monthly meetings with stewards, coordinate and/or conduct training for the stewards, be a mentor to stewards and be the liaison between the Executive Board and the Steward's Council.
MEMBER AT LARGE POSITIONS
We are proposing that the member at large positions be replaced with specifically designated positions. Currently, the four positions have the same duties, but they are assigned after the election. The duties will mostly remain the same, but they will be defined with the election, so members can run for a specific position. There would no longer be a runoff type election for these positions.
There are two major changes proposed. We no longer have need of a membership committee. This committee has been involved in member orientation, which is being done by office staff and we expect that to continue. The second change is the addition of the Reclassification Committee. Members need help with reclassifications and we need a committee to help the new Reclassification Specialist track position descriptions, upgrades, and work with members.
We are proposing eliminating the chief stewards as currently written. These positions were held by experienced stewards in a mentoring role for newer/less seasoned stewards. With the addition of the Chief Steward and the Chair of the Steward's Council as new positions, and of course the Grievance Officer, we will have many mentors on the Board to work with stewards on grievances.
REIMBURSEMENTS FOR OFFICERS
For many of us, we expend much of our personal monies to carry out the business of the union. We are adding an article at the very end and will ask that members vote on this separately (the ballot will be clear). The proposal is asking that officers (Vice President, Grievance Office and Treasurer/Membership Secretary) be reimbursed up to $45.00 per month for personal expenses (examples: transportation, internet) until such time as they resign or their term is over. The total for this is $1,620 per year and would come from our dues. The officer jobs carry the most responsibility at this point in time.
WHAT IS THE CONSTITUTION?
The USA Constitution (sometimes called by-laws) sets out the structures and guiding principles of our Association. It addresses many of the everyday processes and procedures by which our democratic organization functions. It outlines and explains the checks and balances in our governing system and the duties and responsibilities of officers and other positions in the Association.
The last revision to the constitution was in 2006. USA has a constitution committee that has been chaired by Linda Hillenbrand (VP) for the last two revisions of the constitution. The Executive Board set up the committee in 2014 and the committee began the long process of reviewing the constitution word for word.
The Executive Board received the proposed amendments from the Constitution Committee and voted with two-thirds majority to send it to the membership for approval. It will pass with a three-fifths majority of the voting membership.
Constitutional Revision Election Forum
At the election forum, you will have an opportunity to ask questions about the proposed constitutional revision. You will receive a ballot around January 20.
Thursday, January 20, 2015
165-169 Campus Center
Balloting Period (tentative):
9:00AM, January 20, 2015
5:00PM, February 3, 2015
Campaigning procedures per the USA Elections Procedures:
Members who wish to send a campaign flyer to the membership may receive one set of mailing labels at no cost from the USA. The USA will provide one set of mailing labels for one campaign flyer per candidate. Additional sets may be purchased at cost ($3.00). Please call the USA Office (545-0165) for a set of labels. Allow 48 hours for printing of the labels.
The USA Elections Board does not restrict the content of campaign literature nor does it monitor it for accuracy, but the Board does reserve the right to restrict any statements that can be construed as personally slanderous or libelous. The flyer must be submitted (mail or email) to the Elections Board chair for verification of the funding source. The labels may be picked up once the source is verified.
Members may discuss the election on the USA’s discussion listserv, but must abide by the Listserv rules.