Article I- Name

  1. The name of this organization shall be Vanderbilt Graduate Workers United, or in short VGWU.

Article II- Objectives

  1. Organizing: To unite graduate workers around their common interests and empower them to act as full and valued participants in Vanderbilt University’s ongoing mission as a research, educational, and civic institution.
  2. Collective Bargaining: To secure and maintain full union rights, including the rights to exclusive recognition and collective bargaining for all graduate workers eligible for membership, and to negotiate a fair and equitable contract for all members.
  3. Wellbeing: To advance the economic, social, personal, and political wellbeing of the membership.
  4. Knowledge Production: To promote high quality teaching and research at Vanderbilt.
  5. The Academy: To advance the standards, ideals, and welfare of the profession by supporting equity, democracy, transparency, and academic freedom within the union, Vanderbilt, and the academy.
  6. Solidarity and Justice: To promote solidarity and community among graduate workers, and to ally with labor and social justice groups at Vanderbilt and in the community, especially with groups organizing around issues of race, gender, sexuality, immigration status, class, ability, and other struggles against oppression and deprivation.

Article III- Membership

  1. Members: Any person who is pursuing a Master’s degree or Doctorate degree (“graduate student”) and is performing paid work at or for Vanderbilt University can be a member of the Union. Graduate students at the University who pay membership dues and fulfill one of the following conditions:
    1. Be currently employed in a bargaining unit position for which the Union is the recognized bargaining agent, or
    2. Have been employed in a bargaining unit position for which the Union is the recognized bargaining agent in at least one of the previous two (2) semesters.
  2. Solidarity Members: Graduate students at the University who are not part of the collective bargaining unit but who choose to pay associate membership dues set by the Union. Solidarity Members shall have all the same rights as regular members.
  3. Dues: Until certification, members may pay voluntary dues on a schedule and in an amount to be determined by the Coordinating Committee. Upon certification, dues will be determined at a General Membership Meeting and collected by the Coordinating Committee or the appropriate committee.
  4. Rights: No eligible person shall be denied membership. All members will have equal rights and privileges.
  5. Good Standing: A member in good standing is defined as a member who is current in payment of dues to the organization. A member who is more than 60 days delinquent in dues payment shall be considered to be a member in bad standing, and shall be promptly notified of such status. A member shall be removed from membership in this organization, with notice, following three months of dues nonpayment, unless a plan to pay back dues is made and approved by both the Coordinating Committee and the member. Dues may be waived or altered due to extenuating circumstances, as may be determined by the Coordinating Committee on a case by case basis.

Article IV- General Membership Meetings

  1. Highest Body of the Union: The General Membership Meeting (GMM) shall be the highest decision making and strategic body of the union. The GMM expresses the will of the union membership, and all elected union leaders are duty bound to execute this will. 
  2. Convening General Membership Meetings: It shall be the duty of the Coordinating Committee to convene, draw up an agenda for, and lead General Membership Meetings. The Coordinating Committee shall ensure that regular minutes of General Membership Meetings are kept, and that these minutes are accessible to all members in a secure fashion. The General Membership Meeting may be convened either digitally/virtually, in-person, or in a hybrid fashion. The Coordinating Committee shall give two (2) weeks or fourteen (14) days advance notice to all rank-and-file members in good standing of the proposed date and time of the GMM. The Coordinating Committee may vote to postpone or cancel the GMM with a majority vote, as per procedures in Article V.2.C.
  3. Quarterly Meetings: 
    1. Meeting Requests Must be Honored 
    2. The Coordinating Committee must convene at least four (4) General Membership Meetings per calendar year. However, the Coordinating Committee is encouraged to convene more meetings as may be deemed necessary and timely when membership input is needed, such as during contract cycles, when making significant financial decisions such as hiring staff or adjusting dues rates, or when input is needed on other events of significance. Outside of the four, regularly scheduled and required General Membership Meetings, any rank-and-file member of the union in good standing may request a General Membership Meeting by submitting their request in writing and with good rationale to the Coordinating Committee. Such requests must be honored by the Committee, and a General Membership Meeting must be convened by the Committee within two (2) weeks or fourteen (14) days time of receipt of the request unless a separate agreement or timeline is reached in writing between the Committee and the member in question regarding the scheduling of the meeting.
  4. Agenda Approval and Proposals from Rank-and-File:
    1. The Coordinating Committee shall be responsible for calling each GMM to order and initiating the proceedings. The agenda as proposed by the Coordinating Committee shall be read aloud and time for additional items to the agenda as proposed by rank-and-file members in good standing shall be given. The agenda shall be approved by general consensus–a call for any opposition must be met with silence to proceed.
    2. In each GMM agenda, time shall be given for resolutions and proposals from the rank-and-file membership to be raised. Members are encouraged to bring only fully written and thought out proposals or resolutions to the floor. After a discussion period, a proposal shall be put to a verbal or visual vote. If the results of the verbal vote are unclear, a majority vote by secret ballot, ideally taking place at this same meeting. 
  5. Only Union Members in Good Standing May Attend: General Membership Meetings are internal affairs, and only members of the union in good standing may attend, propose agenda additions, and raise resolutions or other proposals.

Article V- Organizational Structure

  1. The Union Shall be Structured to Fulfill Organizational Objectives: In order to fulfill the Objectives outlined in Article II of this Constitution, VGWU shall be structured to provide the maximum amount of membership input, participation, and power. This union shall strive at all times to be powered by its rank-and-file members, and its leaders and leadership structure shall reflect this goal. With this goal in mind, the union leadership shall be comprised of two (2) primary bodies: the Coordinating Committee and its subcommittees and the Stewards Council. 
  2. The Coordinating Committee:
    1. Coordinating Committee Duties: The Coordinating Committee shall be the primary decision making and executive body of the union. It is tasked with carrying out the will of the membership of the union, as expressed formally and on the record at General Membership Meetings, and it shall strive to represent member interests in all union business. It shall oversee, coordinate, and may directly manage or delegate all regular, everyday union functions,including but not limited to contract negotiations, defending the contract, ensuring regular dues payments, overseeing and managing any union paid staff, and fighting for member issues. The Committee shall be the primary strategic body of the union, developing goals and strategic plans and regularly assessing progress and reporting back on the same.
    2. Coordinating Committee Membership, Provisional Members: The elected Officers of the union shall comprise the membership of the Committee. Should a member of the Coordinating Committee resign their position, the Committee may appoint a provisional replacement from among the rank-and-file membership to ensure that that Committee members duties are carried out for the duration of the elected term. Only elected officers may vote in Coordinating Committee procedures. The Coordinating Committee may invite others to join Committee meetings as it may deem fit.
    3. Decision Making: The Coordinating Committee shall generally operate on a consensus basis, and its members shall strive to achieve a strong consensus about the decisions that are to be made. If no clear, majority consensus on an issue can be reached, any member of the Coordinating Committee may call for a formal, majority vote (51% majority or plurality) on the matter by open ballot. Each Coordinating Committee member shall receive one (1) vote. In the event of co-officers, the co-officers shall together receive one (1) vote. These votes may be carried out either via secure electronic/digital, via vocal, or via secure, written-ballot in-person formats. The records of such votes shall be made available to members upon written request to the Committee. Decisions made by formal vote shall be binding, and all Committee members shall uphold and respect the results, even if they disagree with the sentiments that the results express.
    4. Quorum for Formal Votes: At least ⅔ of the Committee members must be present or participate in a formal vote for its results to be honored. 
    5. Subcommittees and Ad Hoc/Temporary Subcommittees: The Officers who form the Committee membership may convene subcommittees, such as a Finance Committee to assist the Treasurer in their tasks, in order to carry out their duties. In addition, the Coordinating Committee may from time to time convene ad hoc or temporary committees, including but not limited to Work Action Committees, Strike Committees, Hiring Committees. 
  3. The Stewards Council: Duties of the Stewards Council are outlined in Article X
  4. Regular Meetings and Minutes: The Coordinating Committee and Stewards Council shall meet at least once per month, and orderly minutes of these meetings shall be regularly and securely kept. These minutes shall be made available to any member of the union upon written request to either body, and any member of the union in good standing may attend a meeting of either body upon written request and approval to them. The two (2) bodies are encouraged to approve all such requests, except in cases where personal or sensitive information of members may be on the agenda or in situations where the majority of either body may otherwise deem it unfit for general members to attend. Sensitive information, such as personal member details, details of strategic plans that may be deemed harmful if made public, and other details of minutes may be redacted as deemed necessary by the members of either body.
  5. Commitments to Diversity, Inclusion, and Growth of New Leaders:
    1. The Stewards Council and Coordinating Committee members shall recruit to those bodies a significant diversity in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, class, religion, ability, immigration status, and nationality, and specifically to uplift and include individuals from marginalized or underrepresented identities. 
    2. The Stewards Council and Coordinating Committee members shall work to identify, develop, and recruit possible new leaders, with the intention that everyone in the union is active, capable, and feels empowered to take on the responsibilities of leadership if called upon.

Article VI- Officers and Officer Duties

  1. General Officer Duties: Each officer is tasked with carrying out the will of the general membership as reflected at General Membership Meetings. In addition to their specific duties as enumerated below, all officers are tasked with regularly reporting back at Coordinating Committee meetings on the duties that they are executing. In addition, all officers shall attend their designated committee meetings.. 
  2. Co-president: The co-presidents of the union shall:
    1. call Coordinating Committee Meetings to order.
    2. be authorized to represent the union to the public.
    3. meet regularly with any staff and coordinate staff activities.
    4. lead General Membership Meetings and provide regular reports and summaries of union activities at these meetings.
    5. delegate their leadership and reportative duties for General Membership Meetings as they see fit.
    6. act as a financial and executive officer of the union by signing checks, banking statements, or other paperwork as needed.
    7. perform other tasks as assigned by the Coordinating Committee.
  3. Solidarity Officer: The Solidarity Officer of the union shall:
    1. assume the duties of the President in case of their absence or illness.
    2. be authorized to represent the union to the public and other organizations.
    3. act as a financial and executive officer of the union by signing checks, banking statements, or other paperwork as needed.
    4. lead and coordinate Solidarity Committee meetings as needed
  4. Treasurer: The Treasurer shall:
    1. Lead and coordinate Finance Committee meetings as needed.
    2. be responsible for all financial proceedings of the union. They shall receive, record, and provide receipt for all financial interactions, and keep updated, accessible records of them.
    3. process, maintain, and manage all union dues, affiliate dues, and dues structures in accordance with state law, federal law, and affiliate regulations.
    4. provide regular updates and reports on the financial situation of the union to General Membership Meetings.
  5. Secretary: The Secretary shall:
    1. be responsible for maintaining accurate membership data in conjunction with union employees and the Stewards Council. This includes reporting changes in membership to the university payroll and to any affiliate unions.
    2. ensure that all records pertaining to collective bargaining, union elections, and votes of the Coordinating Committee are kept for at least one year after their occurrence.
    3. ensure that all data pertaining to union membership is kept private and secure. No membership data will be released to any third parties, hereby defined as any party that is not involved with the union, its parent unions, or the university payroll
    4. ensure that Coordinating Committee minutes are kept.
    5. coordinate with union employees and the Stewards Council to organize union volunteers to assist in membership data entry and maintenance.
    6. work with union staff and volunteers to analyze membership data to assist in organizing efforts.
  6. Grievance Officer: The Grievance Officer shall:
    1. lead and coordinate Grievance Committee meetings as needed.
    2. work with the Grievance Committee and any union staff to ensure that all grievance records are kept confidential.
    3. carry out other duties as may be deemed necessary by the Grievance Committee for it to function according to its objectives and duties.
  7. Communications Officer: The Communications Officer shall:
    1. lead and coordinate Communications Committee meetings as needed.
    2. carry out other duties as may be deemed necessary by the Communications Committee for it to function according to its objectives and duties.
    3. Maintain the union historical record by updating historical documents, timeline, website, etc.
  8. Stewards Council Chair(s):
    1. The Stewards Council Chair(s) shall perform all duties outline in Article X.
  9. Officer at Large:
    1. The Officer at Large shall:
      1. call committees, working groups, or lead other projects and carry out other union affairs as they may deem fit or as according to the will of the Coordinating Committee. 
    2. There shall be one officer at large. 

Article VII- Ballots

  1. Ballot Process:
    1. This process applies to any vote being made in which the Coordinating Committee determines that the membership of the union at large should be involved. This includes but is not limited to elections, some referenda, and some amendments. 
    2. Physical Polling
      1. No later than 10 days following the close of nominations, the Elections Committee will set up polling locations at reasonable time and accessible places such that all members of good standing for at least 60 days prior to election day can have a chance to vote. Time and location shall be announced as early as possible prior to election day.
      2. Provisions will be secured to have observers at polling places and counting of votes.
      3. Voting will be available for at least 8 hours on each of 2 consecutive days.
      4. Absentee Voting
        1. If a member in good standing for at least 60 days prior to election day is not able to be present for in-person voting, an absentee ballot may be requested or an online ballot submission may be arranged.
    3.  Electronic Voting
      1. The Election Committee may conduct electronic voting with a responsible third party that can guarantee security and anonymity. All members in good standing for 6 months prior to election day will have at least 7 days to submit their electronic ballot. The third-party provider will report the results to the Election Committee.
  2. Ballot Integrity: Ballots will be free, fair, and democratic. The Election Committee will work in tandem with the Steward’s Council and will follow these provisions:
    1.  VGWU will honor reasonable requests to distribute campaign literature for candidates and for any issue on the ballot to members in good standing.
    2. The Election Committee has the power to make all decisions about campaign expenditure and funding. 
    3. VGWU will not make organization wide endorsements of any particular candidate in officer elections.
    4.  Ballots and vote records will be preserved for at least one year.
    5.  Conduct of voting will remain consistent with relevant laws in particular the standards for such elections developed under Title IV of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.
  3. Choosing Voting Method: Power lies in the election committee to choose the best method for any particular vote in any particular year. Preference shall be for electronic voting when possible. 

Article VIII- Elections

  1. Elections for the officers listed in Article VI will be held in April of each year. The term of each officer is one year. Any eligible member(s) may run for any officer position regardless of if they have held any previous officer position in the past (president may run for president consecutively or run for a different officer position, for example).
  2. There will always be 2 co-presidents elected. Every other officer position, members can run as a pair (2) or alone (1). Each officer position will have one vote on official coordinating committee matters which co-officers will share.
  3.  The organization shall elect the following officers. The number of individuals who can fill the officer position is denoted in parentheses:
    1. Co- President (2)
    2.  Solidarity Officer (1-2)
    3.  Treasurer (1-2)
    4.  Secretary (1-2)
    5.  Grievance Officer (1-2)
    6. Communications Officer (1-2)
    7. Steward Council Chair (1-2)
    8.  Officer-at-Large (1-2)
  4. In order to run for office, the individual(s) must be a VGWU member in good standing for at least six (6) months prior to the date of the election.
  5.  Every member in good standing for at least 60 days prior to election day is entitled to one vote per officer position.
  6. The Elections Committee conducts elections and referenda of VGWU
    1. Committee shall consist of three members in good standing selected by the Stewards Council
    2. Members sitting on the election committee nominated for/seeking an officer position must be replaced by the Stewards Council
    3. Members of the Election Committee must not campaign for or publicly endorse any candidate during their time of the committee
    4. Staff of the union can assist the Election Committee as is deemed necessary. 
  7.  Nominations
    1. Forty-five (45) days prior to the election the Election Committee must notify all members of the opening of nominations, positions to be filled and their descriptions, and the date and method of the election
    2. Members may nominate qualified members or self-nominate. Nominations must be submitted two (2) weeks before the election.
    3. Nominees must formally accept or decline their nomination one week prior to the date of the election. Nominations that are not formally accepted will be assumed to be declined.
    4.  If nominated for multiple offices, the member must formally accept 1 position to run for and the remaining will be declined.
    5.  Nominations can be made in writing or in person.
    6. The Elections Committee shall determine the timeliness and validity of nominations. The Elections Committee will determine if nominees are eligible for office based on criteria VIII.3.
  8. Election Procedures will follow the ballot process outlined in Article VII.
  9.  Votes will be counted by the Election Committee. Those nominees receiving the most votes for each position (simple majority or plurality) will win that position for the following term.
  10.  Challenges and objections to the election with substantial merit will be submitted in writing to the Elections Committee within one (1) week of the dissemination of election results. Only members in good standing may submit election challenges. The Election Committee shall issue its written opinion no later than 1 week following submission of objection.  A third body agreed upon by the Election Committee and those authors of the challenge to the election will review objection and rebuttal and decide action must be taken to ensure a secure, fair, and equitable election. Action must be decided by a secret ballot, Yes/No vote decided by simple majority of general membership.
  11. Successful candidates must take office within a month of election certification. Official certification shall occur when no challenge(s) against election results have been filed within the one (1) week time-frame stipulated in Section 9 of this Article.
  12. Caretaker officers: Appointment of caretaker officers in event of inability to fulfill duties or recall
    1. Caretaker officers will help fulfill the duties of the position and will not have voting rights on the Coordinating Committee
    2.  If one member of a Co-Officer position is no longer able to fulfill the duties the remaining co-officer will fulfill the full duties, nominate a caretaker replacement, or request the Coordinating Committee nominate a caretaker replacement. Final replacement approval rests in Coordinating Committee consensus following decision making procedures outlined in Article V.2.c. Voting power remains in the position if one co-officer was democratically appointed.  If both Co-Officer positions must be replaced the position becomes a caretaker officer position and replacements will help fulfill the duties of the position and will not having voting rights on the Coordinating Committee
    3.  Process for appointment of caretaker officers:
      1. If an officer or both co-officers must step down they may nominate a member or co-members in good standing as potential caretaker officer/co-officers. Alternatively the officer/co-officers may request the Coordinating Committee to nominate a caretaker officer/co-officer. Final approval of caretaker officer/co—officer replacement lies in Coordinating Committee approval, as per Article V.2.c.
      2.  If a caretaker officer/co-officer must be appointed the general membership must be informed one week in advance before the Coordinating Committee will meet to appoint the unelected official. The announcement must contain detailed information regarding the position to be filled, potential candidates, and the right for members to attend the meeting where the vote will take place. The Coordinating Committee must allow open communication for general membership to submit concerns, endorsements, and queries about the position and candidates. 
    4. Position vacancies must be filled within 30 days of the vacancy arising. If the vacancy arises during an official holiday (Winter Break, Spring Break) the 30 day countdown will begin on the first day returning from break.
  13.   Recall:
    1. Members in good standing may circulate a petition to request recall of an officer. A separate petition must be circulated for each officer to be recalled. A petition must receive official endorsement of at least 10% of members in good standing and submitted to the Coordinating Committee or Steward’s Chair
    2. A special meeting must be called within two (2) weeks of petition submission. Membership will receive notice during these two (2) weeks including information on the recall request and the officer being potentially recalled. The Officer and Petition Organizer will be allowed to argue their positions if they desire at this special meeting. Voting on recall will occur in secret. 2/3 of attending members must vote toward recall of specified officer.
  14. Referenda
    1. Referenda shall be used for issues that require the input of the entire union membership (more general than an amendment to the constitution), and may be used to make sure all members can participate in a major decision.
    2. Members in good standing may submit a request for a referendum to be added to a future general body meeting by circulating a petition and gaining the endorsement of at least 10% of members in good standing and submitting to the Coordinating Committee or Steward’s Chair.
    3. The endorsed petition must be submitted 1 week prior to the upcoming general body meeting, otherwise the referendum will be discussed at the following general body meeting.
    4. For urgent referenda, a special meeting may be called at the discretion of the Coordinating Committee.  
    5. Open discussion of referenda will be guaranteed at the general body meeting.
    6. Following open discussion voting will occur by ballot according to procedures outlined in Article VII. Referenda may be added to election ballots or conducted earlier in the year, as proposed by the referenda petition. The Election Committee shall be responsible for arranging the voting on the referenda. If a simple majority or plurality of attending members vote to approve, the referendum shall pass.

Article IX- Committees

  1. The union Coordinating Committee may appoint ad hoc/subcommittees as per Article IV. 
  2. The following procedures and policies apply to all such appointed committees:
    1. Membership: The membership of each committee shall be filled by the presiding officer. Membership limited to union members in good standing. Committee membership must be made available upon request from members in good standing. General membership has the power to recall committee members following standard recall procedures as defined in Article 8 Section 11.
    2. Meeting Procedures: Each committee shall meet at regular intervals and in locations known publicly to the union body and freely attended by union members. Time shall be made to hear the considerations of non-committee members who choose to attend. Reasonable accommodations shall be made for union members to permit attendance and participation in spite of disability. Meeting minutes must be recorded by a designated committee member or attendee and made publically available upon request to the union body. A meeting facilitator must be chosen in advance of each committee meeting who shall call each meeting to order, prepare a meeting schedule, end the meeting and facilitate discussion during the meeting proceedings. The meeting may occur in person or remotely by web video conferencing software. 
    3. Resolutions: Committees have executive power to pass and enact resolutions only relevant to their duties. If there are any objections to actions of a specific committee, any union member may raise concerns to the CC or at a GMM.

Article X- Stewards

  1. The mission of the Stewards Council shall be to:
    1. Serve as the primary organizing body of VGWU, facilitating communication between the Coordinating Committee and members of VGWU
    2. Empower rank-and-file members to provide their input on issues overseen by VGWU and to utilize all resources made available by VGWU
  2. The Stewards Council shall consist of one member from each department that consists of a rank-and-file member of VGWU. Stewards will be determined on a voluntary basis as determined by the Stewards Council. The Stewards Council shall strive to have representation from every department and/or college on campus.
  3. Stewards will be responsible for:
    1. attending Stewards Council meetings on a monthly basis. 
    2. establishing clearly defined, accessible channels of communication with all members of the Stewards’ department.
    3. forwarding communications to Stewards’ respective department members, as requested by the Coordinating Committee.
    4. regular attendance of general membership meetings.
    5. Voting to approve or disapprove all items produced by the Coordinating Committee.
    6. ensuring rank-and-file members are put in contact with any people and resources (e.g., grievance officer, resolution processes) the member may need.
  4. The Stewards Council Chair, shall be responsible for:
    1. scheduling Stewards Council meetings among members
    2. regularly attend Coordinating Committee meetings
    3. establishing any by-laws or protocols to help the Stewards Council better achieve its mission as stated above
    4. striving to obtain stewards from as many departments/colleges as possible
  5. The Stewards Council shall generally operate on a consensus basis, and its members shall strive to achieve a strong consensus about the decisions that are to be made. If no clear, majority consensus on an issue can be reached, any member of the Stewards Council may call for a formal, majority vote (51% majority or plurality) on the matter by open ballot. These votes may be carried out either via secure electronic/digital, via vocal, or via secure, written-ballot in-person formats. The records of such votes shall be made available to members upon written request to the Council. Decisions made by formal vote shall be binding, and all Council members shall uphold and respect the results, even if they disagree with the sentiments that the results express.

Article XI- Contracts

  1. The union may enter into a contract or other agreement covering the terms and conditions of employment of its membership, or part of its membership.
  2. At such times as the union decides to enter negotiations with the University regarding a potential contract or other agreement, the union will form a bargaining team to undertake such negotiations. Members of  the bargaining team will be members in good standing, and shall include both Co-Presidents, the Secretary, the Stewards Council Chair and two members-at-large chosen by the membership at a General Membership Meeintg. An effort should be made to ensure equitable representation of all schools in the bargaining team. Other members may be appointed by the Coordinating  Committee, subject to the approval of the Stewards Council, or be elected by the Stewards Council or the membership following a decision by that body. Additional members may be appointed by these various  bodies from time to time.
  3. Members of the bargaining team are subject to recall in the same manner as officers of the union. When a contract is successfully agreed and approved by the VGWU membership, the committee shall be dissolved.
  4. Any contract or agreement negotiated by the bargaining team must be ratified by the membership using the ballot procedure outlined in Article VII. Eligible voters shall be those members in good standing. A simple majority of votes cast by eligible members shall be required to ratify a contract or other agreement with the University.
  5. The union may not negotiate, nor enter into a contract or agreement, with the University covering academic practices and policies as they relate to graduate employees in their capacity as students, salary maximums, or limitations on employees’ rights to choose the time and manner of their work.

Article XII- Work Action

  1. The following work action policies hold, so long as they do not run counter to Tennessee or national labor laws: 
  2. A ballot of the membership, using the same procedure as outlined in Article VII, will be necessary to authorize work action.
  3. Such motion will vest authority in a strike and/or work actions committee to initiate the action, and to suspend the work action pending a vote to end the  action.
  4. Work action may be ended by a simple majority of votes cast by eligible members at a meeting called for that purpose by the work actions committee overseeing the action. Such meeting shall be called by the work actions committee upon its own initiative or upon receipt of a petition signed by 10% of the members in good standing involved in the action. The work actions committee need not consent to hold a meeting in response to such a petition within seven days of the start of the action, or within seven days of the last such meeting. The time and place of the meeting will be widely publicized to the membership.
  5. Only members in good standing who hold current employment may vote on a motion to initiate or terminate work action.

Article XIII- Affiliation

  1. The VGWU will determine affiliation using the ballot process outlined in Article VII. 
  2. The treasurer shall transmit necessary membership dues to all organizations with which VGWU is affiliated.

Article XIV- Amendments

  1. Any member or members seeking to amend the constitution shall present in writing a copy of the proposed amendment to a member of the Coordinating Committee no less than 10 days prior to the meeting at which they wish the amendment to be considered. The Coordinating Committee shall immediately be notified of such proposed amendment and it shall be made available to members and placed on the agenda for the membership meeting no less than 7 days before the meeting.
  2. If a majority of members attending and voting at the membership meeting vote in favor of the proposed amendment it shall be put to a ballot following the procedure outlined in Article VII.

Article XV- Membership Behaviour and Conflict Resolution 

  1. Purpose: The purpose of the following procedure is to provide members in good standing an internal process to have complaints against other members dealt with in a fair and impartial manner. The procedure is not to be used for political gain or to resolve interpersonal conflict which does not have a foundation in one of the enumerated offences outlined here in Article XV below. Members are expected to attempt to deal with issues prior to resorting to filing a complaint. Concerns are best resolved when members discuss the issues amongst themselves and arrive at mutual solutions. This can be accomplished either through one on one conversation or through facilitated/mediated discussions. The use of mediation can occur at any time, even once a complaint is filed.
  2. Offences: A member who does any of these acts is guilty of an offence against this Constitution:
    1. violates any provision of this Constitution.
    2. becomes a member by dishonesty or for purposes not congruent with this constitution.
    3. attempts or supports an attempt to remove any member, group of members from the Union except through the procedures outlined here
    4. produces or distributes any false report about a member of the Union about any matter related to the Union with malicious intent.
    5. steals or dishonestly receives any property of the Union.
    6. uses the name of the Union to request monies or to advertise without proper authorization.
    7. without proper authorization, gives a complete or partial list of the membership of the Union or any Union to anyone who is not an official entitled to this information.
    8. wrongfully interferes with the performance of duties by any officer or employee of the Union.
    9. sends out information designed or intended to harm or weaken the Union.
    10. fails to respect the Union’s picket line, works for the employer during a legal strike or labour dispute or engages in any strike-breaking activity.
    11. acts in a way that is harassment or discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, language, age, race, ethnicity, ancestry, colour, place of origin, creed, disability, family status, marital status or record of offences.
  3. Complaints
    1. A member of the union (the complainant) may charge a member or officer of the union (the respondent) with an offence by sending a written complaint to the Co-Presidents. The The written complaint will set out:
    2. The specifics of the complaint, citing in detail the nature of the complaint, the members involved, the date and circumstances of the alleged offence, a list of confirmed witnesses and documents the complainant intends to rely upon; and which parts of Article XV.1 have been violated, and the specific act or failure to act which constitutes the alleged violation. If the complaint does not set out these details, then it may be rejected from consideration by the Co-Presidents.
  4. Addressing Complaints
    1. Once a complaint is made, the Co-Presidents will decide how to address the complaint, including but not limited to:
      1. Outside arbitration within the university (such as the ombudsperson or other grievance procedures). 
      2. Outside third party arbitration outside of the university
      3. Removal from the union. 
      4. Legal recourse if appropriate. 
    2. If the complaint is found to be made in bad faith, the person bringing the complaint may be barred from bringing further complaints related to this specific issue in question for a time to be determined by the CC