Wednesday, December 5, 2018
RE: Motion from November to require the President to be present at the Union Office at the GRT Strasburg Garage a minimum of one day per week.
To all Local 4304 members,
At the November General Membership Meeting, a motion was made from the floor to require the President to be present in the union office at the GRT Strasburg Garage at least one day per week. The concerns raised by some members at the November General Membership Meeting relate to their perception that the President is not available or accessible to the membership. The text of that motion is as follows:
MOTION: That we have the president at Strasburg at least one day per week.
MOVED BY: Sue Turner
SECONDED BY: Sonya Taha
In consultation with our Unifor National Representative and during a discussion at our Executive Board Meeting on Tuesday, December 4th, we have determined that this motion is ‘Out of Order’ and will not be voted upon at the December General Membership Meeting.
The reasons for this decision are several:
1) The text of the motion as presented does not allow for unforeseen circumstances or for pre-scheduled meetings or activities that require the President’s attendance an entire week. The requirement to have the President at the Strasburg Garage is simply not enforceable if meetings or activities are planned for all 5 working days. The President could be in meetings with not only the employer at GRT but also at Great Canadian, the President could be at training or at arbitration or be in collective bargaining with one of our Local’s employers. The President could even be on vacation.
2) It is not appropriate for the President’s time to be restricted. The President needs to be accessible, not just to one group of members, but to the entire membership in all bargaining units as needed. Our Local includes not just GRT conventional drivers at the Strasburg Garage but employees at 3 workplace locations at GRT and also represents Great Canadian employees at 5 workplace locations. It is not appropriate or democratic for one group of members to place a monopoly on any of the time of the President of the entire Local. That being said, the President, as well as the Vice-President and Unit Chair, already do make themselves available at all GRT workplace locations and will continue to do so as their duties permit.
3) Members should be using the proper chain of command to bring issues to the Local’s attention. The President should not be the initial contact for all union concerns and business for the membership. It is important that all members use the union’s workplace representatives, our Stewards and Committee members, as the first line of communication for concerns that need the union’s attention. Per our By-Laws it is the duty of all Stewards (among other things):
a) To become familiar with all of the provisions of the Collective Agreement, the National Union Constitutions and Local 4304;
b) To promote solidarity in the workplace;
c) To be completely familiar with the grievance procedure;
d) To receive complaints and grievances of his/her division and to make every effort to conform to the grievance system to satisfactorily adjust and settle all grievances;
e) To maintain privacy of members’ issues at all times; and,
f) To assist in communication efforts in the Local.
Likewise, issues that pertain to one or more committees should be forwarded directly to the members of those committees to address the issues. The Stewards and Committees should always be the first members approached with union concerns; that is why they are there. Only when the Stewards and Committees cannot provide satisfactory assistance should members then seek the assistance of the Unit Chair, and then if the Unit Chair cannot provide satisfactory assistance should a member seek the assistance of the President and/or Vice-President.
For these reasons, we hope that the membership understands why this motion will not be moved to a vote at the December General Membership Meeting.
Yours in solidarity,
The Unifor Local 4304 Executive Board