Members of the newly formed CUPE Local 5430 will have the opportunity to approve their founding bylaws and policies in workplace referendum votes to be held November 29, 2017.
The draft bylaws and policies were adopted at the founding meeting of the new provincial union held September 13 and October 12-13 in Regina, but require further approval from the membership in a referendum vote.
Nearly two hundred delegates, representing members from each of the five legacy Locals (Local 3967, Local 4777, Local 4980, Local 5111 and Local 5999), attended the founding meeting. Over the three-day period, every section of the draft bylaws and policies were presented, debated and adopted. Several sections were amended following debate.
The draft bylaws set out the new structure of the merged Local and how it will operate. The bylaws also include a new dues structure of 1.6% of gross earnings. This will result in a decrease in dues for every member of the Local and provides a consistent dues structure for all CUPE health care providers.
The draft bylaws also include provisions allowing members to appeal the withdrawal of grievances filed on their behalf, which didn’t exist in previous Local bylaws.
As part of this process, delegates also approved a transition period which seeks to ensure consistency and stability in the interim period until normal elections can be held as per the bylaws. As a result, the CUPE Health Care Council executive will become the executive board of CUPE Local 5430. The CUPE Health Care Council will dissolve once the new Local is up and running on January 1, 2018.
Members will have an opportunity to review the bylaws and policies at special meetings being held across the province in the lead-up to the referendum vote. If a majority of those members voting across the province approve the draft bylaws and policies, they will then go into effect pending final approval by the CUPE National President.
If a majority of members reject the draft bylaws and policies, then the CUPE Local 5430 will need to rely on Appendix B of the CUPE National Constitution until such time as revised bylaws and policies can be developed and put forward to the members for approval.
Sandra Seitz, president of the CUPE Health Care Council and incoming CUPE Local 5430 president, acknowledges that there are a number of challenges with creating a 14,000 member provincial union.
“Each of the merging locals appointed members to the bylaw committee that spent many hours writing, debating and amending a proposed set of bylaws, which were further amended at the founding meeting,” she says, noting that the National President’s office was also consulted throughout the process. “While the locals operated in very similar ways, there were some differences and compromises were made in coming up with bylaws and a structure that would work for the merged Local.”
Seitz says the provincial union will still retain various regional structures. For instance, the draft bylaws require regional membership meetings and regional board meetings and allow for regional standing committees. Facility representatives or shop stewards will continue to process grievances. Regional Grievance Committees will have the ability to advance grievances through the steps.
While the titles of union facility representatives may have changed in some cases, Seitz says rank and file members will still have access to trained union representatives in their workplace.
Seitz fully expects that there will be a need to add or change bylaw provisions in the future. There will be an opportunity to address further bylaw amendments at the CUPE Local 5430 Annual Meeting in May 2018.
“As the third largest CUPE Local in the country, we are now well-positioned to fight our regressive provincial government and any changes to bargaining unit representation that may result from the replacement of 12 health regions with one provincial health authority,” says Seitz.
Please click below for a list of voting times and locations:
If you would like a copy of the draft bylaws and policies please contact your Local office.