|Sisters, Brothers and Friends:
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, with public health agencies providing updates and new guidelines and restrictions almost daily. All regions are now recommending social distancing measures, including restricting public gatherings.
CUPE locals, councils, and divisions should follow directives from the public health authorities in their region.
These recommended measures will impact our regular activities, and in most cases will 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 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.
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, and where votes cannot be delayed, locals can explore the possibility of using a secure and reliable electronic voting platform. 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 by up to one month.
Where it is not possible to hold a meeting and remote solutions are not feasible, local meetings may be postponed for a period of one month. Applicable timelines in the bylaws will be extended accordingly. We will be monitoring 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 your members outside of the workplace. Consider using this opportunity to collect and compile personal contact information for your members. This 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.