Sisters, Brothers and Friends:
This is an update to the memorandum dated March 19, 2020 offering guidelines for conducting Local Union business during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The situation continues to evolve, with public health agencies providing updates, new guidelines, and restrictions. CUPE locals, councils and divisions must continue to follow directives from the public health authorities in their region. These measures require locals to postpone or alter meetings.
In these extraordinary times it is important to maintain good governance, accountability and transparency. With this in mind, I am providing the following updated guidelines to help address questions of compliance with local bylaws and CUPE’s National Constitution.
Teleconferencing and Video Conferencing
If necessary, where feasible, and until further notice, meetings may be conducted electronically via conference calls, telephone town halls or videoconferencing. We advise locals to explore available electronic meeting platforms. As the restrictions on gatherings now extend over a significant period of time, exploring alternatives for conducting meetings has become imperative.
Where adopting motions to conduct the regular business of the Union, such as for decisions of the Executive Board or Executive Committee, voting can be done via email.
Where voting must be secret, such as ratifications or job action mandates, the local may use a secure and reliable electronic voting platform. There are several available, and we suggest you consult your National Representative for exploring options. Remember that some votes are also governed by labour legislation.
Nominations and Elections
Wherever possible, local elections should occur within the same timeframe as laid out in local bylaws. Nominations that might normally occur at a membership meeting can be done by email, and elections can be conducted electronically using a secure platform.
If maintaining the existing timeframe is not feasible, the elections process can be delayed until June 2020.
Where it is not possible to hold an electronic meeting and remote solutions are not feasible, local meetings may be postponed until June 2020. Applicable timelines in the bylaws will be extended accordingly. We will continue to monitor the situation across the country and will provide updates on this timeline if necessary.
While there are many other issues facing our Union right now, we encourage you to consider the challenges you might be having communicating with members outside of the workplace. Consider using this opportunity to collect and compile personal contact information for your members. It may also be a good time to review your local’s decision-making and election processes and note possible future bylaw changes.
Other Issues and Exemptions
Bylaws vary widely from one local to the next, and these guidelines will not address every variable. For issues not contemplated here, for questions related to council and division meetings and conventions, or to discuss possible additional exemptions, please contact your National Representative.