CGEU Constitution draft committee
At the 2006 CGEU conference, a resolution was passed to create a constitution that would allow those unions involved in the CGEU to engage in collective action while at the same preserving their autonomy. (See  for the exact text; you have to scroll down a bit.) This page is for working on a draft of that constitution.
The following represents the current opinions of the Constitution Committee (currently Eric Freedman, Rob Henn, and Mikael Swayze) regarding what the Constitution should look like. We are attempting to hammer out broad principles only; actual language will be worked on later, after we have seen some discussion of these principles.
Please go to the discussion page in order to comment, ask questions, etc. You can do so by clicking on the "discussion" tab at the top of the page.
- CGEU, as an organization distinct from the annual conference, should be an opt-in organization; those locals that vote to join will be members.
- Ten member unions will be required in order to ratify the original constitution. Why ten? We feel that ten members at minimum would mean that the organization was large enough to be worthwhile, as well as broad enough to represent a wide variety of opinion. At the same time, the number for ratification should be small enough to give the Constitution a good chance of ratification. Hence, ten.
- Those locals that decide against joining the formal organization are still welcome to come to the conference as always and participate; they just won't be part of those votes that are binding on member unions. I.e., for those unions not interested in joining, this policy wouldn't change what life was like before some unions got together as part of the official CGEU organization.
Will there be members? Options:
- No: This is the status quo; i.e., unions send people to the conference, these people can vote on things 'as a conference,' but nothing binds anyone to do anything.
- Yes: Membership in CGEU means that when CGEU votes on a resolution or action, all member unions must take the proposal to their locals for a vote of the general membership there. Nothing binds any individual union to do anything except vote on CGEU proposals.
- Yes: Membership in CGEU binds all member unions to do as CGEU votes.
We believe option #2 (in bold above) should be adopted. Without any further modification, this would mean that CGEU would be a lumbering beast -- resolutions would take months to be enacted, as each local had to hold a separate discussion and vote by whatever means it chooses. But it would nevertheless, for the first time, allow a formal procedure for grad employee locals from different internationals to consider joint action via the CGEU.
Mikael expressed the hope that consensus might be developed in advance of CGEU conferences, so that the conference could be used as much for coordination of any agreed-upon joint actions, as much as for voting on them.
Joining the CGEU
To become a member of the CGEU:
- The ranking officer of a local or organizing campaign must write a letter to the Membership Secretary requesting membership.
- The Membership Secretary determines if the group is a legitimate applicant: i.e., if it's an undergraduate or graduate employee local or organizing campaign at whatever stage.
- The Membership Secretary then must announce the organization's membership over the listserv, and at the next meeting of the CGEU (whether conference call or the annual conference).
Leaving the CGEU
The same process as joining, though in reverse: a letter sent from the ranking officer of the organization, announcing that the group is leaving, followed by announcement from the Membership Secretary over the listserv and the next meeting.
Voting at the Annual Conference
- Every union gets a finite number of votes, to be cast as the individual union sees fit
- The number of attendees at the conference = the number of votes they get to cast -- but with a cap of (say) 5 votes.
- Number of votes based on size of the bargaining unit (how does this relate to unions without settled bargaining unit?)
We believe option #1 (in bold above) should be adopted. But more precisely, each local would be issued 2 voting cards of some kind at the beginning of the annual conference. Using these 2 cards, votes could be cast by the local as it sees fit, including splitting votes. If there is only one attendee at the conference, she or he could cast both votes as she or he saw fit, or was instructed, etc.
How to Make a Resolution
- Preamble sentence -- something to the effect of, "Resolutions benefit, both intellectually and practically, from broad discussion in advance of a vote" (the idea being that ideas become better, and stand a better chance of being enacted vigorously, when many participate in their creation).
- Follow this preamble sentence by the policy: all resolutions posted on the CGEU listserv at least a month in advance will automatically be considered at the annual conference; any given less time require a majority vote at the conference for consideration.
How to Amend the Constitution
- Ideally, amendments should be made available for discussion in advance of the summer meeting
- All proposed amendments must be approved for a vote at the annual summer meeting, and then ratified by 2/3 of member unions by January 1 of the following year.
Officers shall be elected annually at the CGEU Conference. Officers must come from at least three different internationals.
- Parliamentarian -- runs the plenary, and conference calls during the year
- Treasurer -- in charge if there were dues or donations (see below)
- Spokesperson -- to speak to press on behalf of CGEU
- Recording Secretary -- to take notes at plenaries and conference calls
- Membership Secretary -- to keep track of which unions are members, and keep contact info for each union's designated CGEU representative
- Organizing Chair or VP -- coordinate collective action between locals
- Conference Coordinator -- meets with the host union in order to plan, take care of some duties
- Something to the effect of, "No dues shall be charged, but individual resolutions may include plans for spending money."
- CGEU shall convene at least four times per year; once in person and three times by conference call.
- The Annual Conference shall take place in July or August of each year for two days. Such conference shall include a space for democratic pedagogy and sharing of skills between member unions and others in attendance, as well as plenary time in order to conduct CGEU business. The date and location of the Annual Conference shall be announced to member unions at least four months in advance.
- Conference calls shall occur at least once each in the following three periods: September through December, January through April, and May through June. They should be announced at least two weeks in advance.