Purpose and Etiquette

This space is meant to provide an online forum for a discussion of the proposed bylaws amendments in advance of the next UAW Local 4121 membership meeting on Monday, 4/25.

We propose the following guidelines for commenting etiquette:

  • Begin your comment with your name and department. Remember, you must be a UAW Local 4121 member to post.
  • Please be respectful and use non-discriminatory language. We want to have an informed, civil discussion here. 
  • Please keep the discussion to the proposed amendments themselves.
  • Please be inclusive and thoughtful and give others a chance to share their opinions, too.

The Elections committee will be moderating the discussion.

Bylaws Amendments

(Proposed additions are in bold, proposed deletions are in strikethrough, and explanatory comments from members who proposed the amendment are in [brackets]. Click the article links to see the original language in context.)

Article 4, Membership

Section 1. Membership of this Local Union shall be extended to all graduate students at the University of Washington and all employees in titles that come under the jurisdiction of this Local Union, except for staff employees of the Local Union who are not currently enrolled at the University of Washington as graduate students or undergraduates. The membership requirements for UW enrollment of this Local Union’s staff employees will be effective April 30, 2016, and existing staff employees of this Local Union will maintain their employment, except as otherwise determined by the Executive Board under Article 19.

[Currently, a loophole in Article 4, Section 1 allows UAW 4121 staff members to maintain membership in our union and run for union office, even if they no longer have any formal affiliation with the University of Washington. This change clarifies that the requirement of enrollment at UW for UAW 4121 membership also applies to local union staff.]

Article 7, Local Union Officers

Section 1. The elected officers of the Local Union shall constitute the Local Union’s Executive Board and consist of the following: President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Financial Secretary, Sergeant­-at-­Arms, Guide, and three (3) Trustees. All officers shall be elected at ­large by a majority of votes cast, for two (2) three (3) year terms.

[This change is designed to ensure greater rotation of union leadership, creating more frequent opportunities for members, especially members from diverse backgrounds, to become elected union leaders.]

Article 15, Eligibility for Elected Office

Section 4. No Member may serve on the Executive Board for more than four consecutive years. This requirement for term limits will be effective following the conclusion of the Local Union’s 2016 Executive Board elections.

[This term limits proposal is identical to the way that the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation at the University of Oregon run their union. See Article 6, Section 1 of GTFF bylaws at http://gtff3544.net/bylaws/%5D

Article 19, Local Union Employees

Section 2. The Executive Board may appoint and remove Local Union employees as necessary to carry on the business of the Local Union. The names of all Local Union employees will be posted on the Local Union’s website. All members, elected or non­elected, who have been in continuous good standing for a period of one (1) year are eligible for full-­time (40 hours per week) or part-­time servicing and outreach staff positions. But no individual shall be paid for more than one (1) full-­time position. The requirement for continuous good standing will take effect on December 1, 2005.

[Currently, our union does not publicly disclose the names and contact information of Local Union staff. This information is vital so that members can determine which staff members to contact if they have union-­related questions.]

Section 3. The President and Financial Secretary and Local Union servicing and outreach employees shall receive pay and benefits based on the following. (a) They shall each be paid bi­weekly at an hourly rate based on the top end median of the pay scale of 50% FTE employees in the bargaining unit. As of October 2004, this rate is $27.20 an hour.

Section 4. Local Union officers will not interfere with the right of UAW 4121 staff members to form a union and collectively bargain the terms and conditions of their employment. In the event that Local Union staff negotiate a collective bargaining agreement, the terms of that agreement will supercede the terms of employment for union staff contained in this article.

[UAW 4121 employees do not have a collective bargaining agreement protecting their right to just cause and other benefits. We should ensure the right of our union staff to form a union of their choosing, as staff at many unions across the country have done.]

Bylaws FAQ

  • What are the bylaws and where can I find them?

Our union is governed by two documents: The UAW International Constitution, which applies to all UAW unions; and our bylaws, which are specific to UAW Local 4121. The constitution provides the overall framework for UAW unions (e.g., duties of local union officers), and the bylaws are the more specific rules that locals set for themselves (e.g., the number of individuals elected to the bargaining committee). Bylaws may not supersede or conflict with the constitution.

  • What is the process for changing the bylaws?

The process for amending the bylaws is described in Article 21 of the bylaws. There are a few steps to the process:

  1. Members present an amendment to the bylaws, in writing, at a membership meeting. The members at the meeting read the amendment and vote on whether or not to send the amendment on to the next step in the process: Review by the Bylaws Committee.
  2. If members vote to send the amendment to the Bylaws Committee, the committee meets, not to discuss whether the amendment is good or bad for the union, but to identify conflicts between the proposed amendment and the international constitution, and between the amendment and the existing bylaws. The committee then reports its findings to members at the next membership meeting.
  3. At this next meeting, members hear the report of the committee, and vote on whether or not to adopt the amendment. If approved by two-thirds of those voting, the bylaws amendment is adopted.
  4. Bylaws changes adopted by Local Union members are reviewed for approval by the International Union UAW.

Forum Moderators 

Thank you all for participating in this online forum! The discussion so far has been respectful and constructive.

We are members of the Election Committee, and are serving as forum moderators. Although we are actively monitoring the forum, we don’t have time to read every word of every post in detail. If you have any concerns about content or posts on this forum, please contact the Election Committee at elections@uaw4121.org

In solidarity,

John Lurie and Alice Hofgren