Bylaws Amendment Proposal

Proposal for Amendment of Bylaws: Membership and Member Rights

 

Procedure: After the commenting period, a public meeting, and revised proposal by the By-laws committee, the membership will vote to approve or reject the new membership definition (see Article 12 of GSOC-UAW Local 2110 Bylaws).

  • The commenting period on the proposal is from October 2, 2019 to October 10, 2019. Please send your comments to the By-Laws Committee: gsoc.bylaws.2019@gmail.com. Comments will be anonymized by the By-laws committee before making them available to any member upon request.
  • Revised final version of the proposed changes will be posted online from October 21, 2019 to October 28, 2019.
  • Remember to vote on the final proposal: Wednesday, October 30, 2019. Details of the voting process will be made available soon.

 

History: Considering that the nature of our employment in union positions is seasonal, there is a need to come up with new and alternate ways of defining what makes for a union member. This came to the fore during the first year of our contract (Spring 2016), when differences emerged in the interpretation of the existing definitions of membership between Local 2110 and GSOC during our first unit elections. GSOC filed a legal appeal, and soon after, representatives of GSOC and Local 2110 began negotiating a new membership definition collectively. This present proposed definition is a result of those negotiations, and now require our ratification as a unit.

Rationale: Our union contract with NYU recognizes us as being in a “union position” when we ‘work’ as teaching assistants, research assistants, and graduate assistants. All our union benefits like health and dental benefits are linked to that status. A “union member” is a person who is in a union position, AND has signed a union card. Only a union member has voting rights in union matters and ability to serve in elected union positions. But our recognized ‘work’ is such that one can be a union worker one semester, and not the next, and then be one again in the following semester. The current membership definition is insufficient given that this structural condition of our work renders such a person, assuming they have signed a union card, unable to be a union member in the second semester, and hence unable to vote in union matters — such as a new contract which we will be negotiating in 2020. We feel that this disenfranchises grad workers who are not working in a given semester, but whose interests and fate are tied in with that of the grad workers who happen to be working in that particular semester. We all have semesters when we do not work in union positions, but that shouldn’t deny us a voice in collective bargaining over jobs that we most certainly will occupy again in the near future. Finally, it is often the case that it is when a grad student/worker is not teaching that they are most able to give the time necessary to help build our union. Under this proposed definition, that grad worker would not be denied unit-level membership rights at the precise time they are most available to enact them. Note that this amendment only impacts union members’ rights, and will not impact union benefits (healthcare, dental, etc.). Union benefits will be restricted to the semester in which a grad student is in a union position.

Bylaws Committee Recommendation: The Bylaws Committee recommends that these amendments be adopted.

 

Current Relevant Bylaws Section:

Article 4 MEMBERSHIP AND MEMBER RIGHTS 

  • – Full membership rights in this unit will be given to everyone eligible to work in a union position who signs a union membership card. 
  • B – Members will be considered in good standing if they are current in their payment of applicable dues. 
  • C – A member in good standing is entitled to full voice and a single vote on all questions and to hold any elected or appointed position in the unit. Each member in good standing of the unit has the right to nominate and vote; express opinions on all subjects before the unit, Local, and International Union; attend all membership meetings and express views, arguments and opinions on all matters and business, including candidates for office; meet, assemble freely, and caucus with other members; and, generally, participate in the activities of the unit, the Local and the International. 
  • D – All unit members working in a union position during a given semester (fall, January, spring, or any summer session) will have dues deducted from their paycheck as specified by Article XII Section 3 of Local 2110 Bylaws. Dues shall not be taken from the compensation of anyone not currently working in a union position or not covered by the contract. 

 

Proposed amendment is as follows:

Amend Article 4 of GSOC-UAW Local 2110 Bylaws by striking sections 4(A), 4(B), 4(C), and 4(D), and adding the following sections:

Article 4 MEMBERSHIP AND MEMBER RIGHTS

  • A – To be eligible for full membership in the GSOC unit and in Local 2110, a graduate student must fulfill one of the two following conditions:
    1. Be currently employed in a bargaining unit position; or
    2. Have been employed in a bargaining unit position in at least one of the prior three semesters.
  • B – To be considered a member in good standing in accordance with Article III of the Bylaws of Local 2110, a graduate student must meet one of the above criteria and pay dues as follows:
    1. During semesters when a graduate student is employed in a bargaining unit position, dues shall be 2% of compensation and shall be collected pursuant to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.
    2. During semesters when a graduate student is not employed in a bargaining unit position, dues shall be$10 per month for fully-funded PhD students and $5 per month for unfunded graduate students.  The payment of such dues shall not be subject to dues checkoff under the collective bargaining agreement and shall be voluntarily remitted to Local 2110 by the graduate student. It shall be the responsibility of the graduate student to pay the requisite dues to Local 2110 in order to maintain their membership in good standing.  Such payments shall be made on a monthly schedule to be determined by Local 2110.
  • C – Graduate students who are not eligible for membership as defined in A above may become associate members of GSOC by contributing dues of $30 per year or $2.50 per month.  Such dues will be payable to Local 2110 and it shall be the responsibility of the graduate student to pay the requisite amount to maintain their associate membership. Associate members are not full members of Local 2110,but may participate in GSOC membership meetings and volunteer committees, and may vote for and serve as stewards, provided that stewards who are associate members of the union shall not represent members in grievances or collective bargaining.  
  • D – Local 2110 shall maintain a record of all dues collected pursuant to B and C above.