Conducting a MAPE meeting
CHAIRING A MEETING AND THE ROLE OF THE CHAIRPERSON
The “Golden Rule” of democratic meetings is:
MEMBERS HAVE RIGHTS THAT THE MAJORITY CANNOT TAKE AWAY, NAMELY THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD, NO MATTER HOW UNPOPULAR THE OPINION MAY BE.
There is more to running a meeting than knowing the ins and outs of parliamentary procedure. Common sense applied to the rules will make the chair’s decisions easier. The chair walks a fine line when running a meeting.
If you are too technical and precise, members may be intimidated and withdraw from important discussions. Remember that the local meeting is also the time for the local leadership to receive information from the members. On the other hand if the chair is too easy going, the meeting can spin out of control and very little will be accomplished. The basics come down to this:
- All business should be in the form of a motion.
- Motions must have a second.
- Discussion on a motion happens after a second is made.
- The members can vote to establish timelines for speakers on issues or motions.
- Members may speak to an issue or motion when recognized by the chair.
- During discussion, motions may be amended, through discussion and a vote on the amendment.
- Make sure that members have enough information to make a decision on any motion.
- Every motion requires action, i.e. pass, fail, table or postpone.
- Utilize the business of the local to let your members know how parliamentary procedure works.
- The chair must turn the gavel (or chair position) over to another officer in order to speak to a motion.
- Majority rules, always.
Growing your local
BUILDING A UNION:
One of the most effective ways to build a strong local union, from the inside out, is to actively seek out new bargaining unit employees. History has shown us that when a new co-worker is approached with a welcome and a membership card that membership increases.
As a local officer, you are both an organizer and a provider of member services. You have the responsibility to keep members and potential members up to date. This is an ongoing task, and is full of exciting opportunities to meet new and existing bargaining unit members. There will occasionally be frustrations and possibly stumbling blocks in the process of building your local.
Educating members on issues and problems affecting the union is not as easy as it may sound. You may want to consider some incentives to build interest and activism within your local. Try door prizes, MAPE history trivia contests, dues return for stewards and electronic talking points in addition to the unbeatable person-to-person contact.
Union members will come forward when the time is right. Recruiting members to become involved in the union’s work and activities is important work. Recognize your members’ skills and interests, and your suggestions for their involvement will not fall on deaf ears.
A MAPE local can, and will, improve the way its resources, such as time and money, are used. Issues can be addressed in a timely, consistent and proactive manner, thus eliminating the need to rush to “put out fires.”
The local leadership has the collective responsibility to provide guidance, direction and stability to the membership. By examining the local’s strengths and weaknesses, you can involve the membership in the development of a strategic plan, rather than shoulder the “quick fix” on your own. Be willing to consider, discard, change, adapt or modify strategies.
Locals may create committees in compliance with the MAPE Constitution, Bylaws, policies and procedures and local members’ formal directives. Not all locals will have an active committee structure, some will have many and others will find that the members’ needs require only a few, specific committees.
The committee structure can be a tool to build your strong local. Within this model, local leadership is decentralized, through member involvement. By participating in the decisions, activities and successes of the local, the members are empowered. Each issue facing your local provides a significant challenge to solve a problem and to create a new opportunity to educate and inform the members of your local.
Members become involved in union activities for a variety of reasons. Some are based on the sense of belonging, and others want the chance to use their talents and abilities. You will find that some members are issue oriented and will choose their level of involvement based on a particular problem, and the desire to participate in the development of a specific solution.
The common theme is a desire to help other professional employees face today’s unique challenges that exist in contemporary public service.
The following is a list of commonly used committees and their respective duties.
Local Audit Committee’s duties:
- Reconcile/audit local income/expenses. Verify necessary expense approval forms to minutes, local policy and procedure, and financial reports as directed by the local membership, MAPE Constitution, Bylaws and policy and procedure.
Membership Committee’s duties:
- Contact new members in the worksite to generate full membership.
- Develop a simple member recruitment program including the distribution of MAPE products and information.
- Develop a contact person in each work site included within the geographic boundaries of the local.
Job Action Committee duties:
- Coordinate with MAPE Central, Region Director and local officers all job action activities.
Meeting Site and Meal Committee duties:
- Arrange for suitable meeting sites and reserve the space at the designated time for membership meetings.
- Arrange for member meals, snacks and/or beverages per local policy, procedure and/or MAPE Central policy and procedure.
- Submit approved expenses to the appropriate local officer for payment and/or reimbursement per all relevant policy and procedure.
Legislative Action Committee duties:
- Contact local legislators regarding local member and statewide professional employee issues.
- Contribute legislative position resolutions to the MAPE Government Relations Committee for Delegate Assembly action.
- Inform members, via written or oral report of important legislative activities in coordination with MAPE Central.
Community Outreach Committee duties:
- Coordinate member participation, donations or public comment as directed by local or local Executive Committee action, and within all relevant policies and procedures.
- Write letters to the editor, newsletter articles etc. as approved by local membership or local Executive Committee.
Communications Committee duties:
- Develop and maintain member communication lists, i.e., e-mail addresses, worksite addresses and phone numbers.
- With the approval of the local Executive Committee or membership, draft, finalize and distribute timely communications to members regarding current issues.
- Coordinate with MAPE communications the distribution of materials to local members.
There are standing committees established to address the ongoing needs of the local membership and special committees that are established to address a specific, short-term issue and are dissolved once their mission has been completed.
Each committee should have an appointed chair to preside at the meetings, clear responsibilities, and a secretary to take minutes and keep the records. Each committee should represent the significant characteristics of the membership.
Each committee chair or designated committee representative should report to the membership at every regular local meeting. This may be in person, or in writing submitted to the local President or other local officer prior to the scheduled meeting. The committee report may be as simple as, “There is no report as the #%^*# Committee did not meet” or as detailed as regular meeting minutes.
The union is responsible for negotiating and enforcing the MAPE Master Agreement, its included supplemental contract sections, all Letters of Intent and Memorandums of Understanding that comprise the total MAPE contract.
The union is responsible for the grievance process, formal and informal.
The union will participate in Meet and Confer and Labor-Management committee meetings to further the goals of the membership.
Union committees, standing and special, will be coordinated to better accomplish the mission of MAPE.
Membership meetings will be held at sites and at times to be determined by the membership. Meetings will be scheduled in advance to make attendance as convenient as possible for those members wishing to participate.
All reports and records of the local’s actions and business will be maintained and available to the membership upon request, and in compliance with MAPE Central and/or local governance.
MAPE local officers' guidelines
DUTIES OF MAPE LOCAL OFFICERS
Each MAPE local officer has several specific duties, which are included in the MAPE Constitution and/or Bylaws. The Constitution and Bylaws are included as reference documents in the back of this manual. Those duties are also included here, for quick reference, along with additional guidelines.
A local leader’s job description had two basic aspects:
1. Union maintenance: These are the day-to-day jobs that go into administering the local and keeping it running smoothly.
2. Union building: These are the tasks that a leader undertakes to build a strong, vital and effective MAPE local.
The Region Directors' duties are included in this section for informational purposes, since some of the duties serve a critical local function.
Region Directors’ duties:
- Serve as the region’s representative on the MAPE Board of Directors. Gathering concerns and interests of people represented as well as making policies that reflect their constituents' interests.
- Be prepared for and attend all Board meetings or arrange for a replacement in cases where absence is unavoidable.
- Keep the region membership updated on Board of Director meetings, actions and other statewide issues.
- Assist local leadership in carrying out their duties and responsibilities.
- Whenever possible, attend local membership meetings within the geographic boundaries of the region.
-- Note: This position is not a local officer.
Local President’s duties:
- Prepare the meeting agenda and notice in conjunction with the local Secretary for distribution via MAPE Central. If using MAPE Central, make sure all minutes and agenda are sent, at one time, two (2) weeks in advance of the meeting date to the Administrative Specialist Davia Curran – firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Preside at all membership meetings, arranging for meeting speakers, guests and programs as necessary.
- Countersign checks and/or authorize expense forms per current MAPE policy. All expense and lost time forms must be signed by the Treasurer, unless unavailable (ill or vacation).
- Call meetings of the local’s Executive Committee as needed.
- Appoint members to all of the local’s committees and act as an ex officio member of the same.
- Monitor notice deadlines for elections, committees and meetings.
- Communicate with the Region Director to receive and disseminate the latest statewide information.
- Communicate with other local presidents within the region to ensure that information reaches the maximum number of members.
- Work with the other local officers to recruit delegates and alternates to the Delegate Assembly.
- Work with other local officers and members to increase membership.
A union leader influences and motivates others to take actions toward meeting the union’s goals and objectives. Each local leader brings different qualities and skills to the position that s/he holds. Each of us can improve the abilities s/he has and acquire new skills while in office.
Local Vice President's duties:
- Work closely with the local President on union maintenance and union building responsibilities.
- Preside at meetings and perform other duties of the President when the President is unable to attend or is unable to do so.
- May be authorized by the local Executive Committee to counter sign checks and/or authorize expense forms per current MAPE policy.
- Communicate with other local officers as needed.
- Attend local Executive Committee meetings as scheduled.
- Chair Local Job Action Committee.
Local Treasurer’s duties:
- Sign checks and/or authorize expense forms, ensuring that all necessary signatures are present per current MAPE policy.
- Maintain the local’s income and expense report.
- Verify the local’s account balance with MAPE Central and report to membership at meetings.
- Submit all required financial reports to the MAPE Central financial Specialist, Julie Lee.
The MAPE Constitution and Bylaws require that all regional directors, local presidents and treasurers be bondable.
Local Secretary's duties:
- Record and maintain the minutes of local membership and Executive Committee meetings.
- Properly report, route and/or respond to the local’s correspondence.
- Make the written record of local and Executive Committee meeting minutes available to member request in compliance with MAPE Central and/or local procedures. If using MAPE Central, make sure all minutes and agenda are sent, at one time, two (2) weeks in advance of the meeting to the Association Specialist.
Minutes are a brief record of what occurred at a meeting. They should include officer and committee reports, as well as motions that were made. All motions should be recorded as made, seconded and whether the motion passed or failed, for example: M/S/P or M/S/F followed by the text of the motion. In most cases, the maker of the motion is required to provide the Secretary with a written copy of the motion at the time the motion is proposed.
Executive Committee’s duties:
- Act as the governing body of the local, except when the membership meetings are in session, accept the draft minutes of previous meeting(s).
- Establish the local’s policies, procedures and goals in areas that the membership has not formally taken action.
- Report all actions and decisions to the membership at the next membership meeting.
Glossary of labor terms
Agency shop: A union security contract clause requiring employees covered by the contract who decline to join the union (fair share), to pay a service fee to the union equal to a percentage of the union dues. This fee is intended to compensate the union, which by law must give full and equal representation to all bargaining unit members, regardless of membership status.
Appointing authority: The employer, sometimes used in reference to Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) or specific agency or department management teams.
Arbitration: A dispute resolution process where by a neutral third party (the arbitrator) hears a grievance and renders a finding of fact that is usually both final and binding on both parties. This process is used in cases when the grievance procedure, at earlier steps, has failed to produce a resolution of the union’s grievance.
Bargaining unit: Any number of employees that has sufficient commonality to constitute a unit for purposes of collective bargaining. The National Labor Relations Board or similar federal, state or local agencies usually define a bargaining unit.
Board of Directors: The elected leadership of the union. The Board develops policy and procedure, and carries out the directives of the membership.
Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS): Quasi-judicial agency set up under Minnesota’s PELRA. Its duties are: to issue and adjudicate complaints charging unfair labor practices, and require such practices be stopped; and to certify bargaining representatives for employees in their dealings with employers.
Business agent: Paid professional staff of the union, representing members and working with stewards in the grievance and arbitration process.
Certification: Official recognition by some impartial labor relations board (Bureau of Mediation Services in Minnesota) that an employee organization is the exclusive representative for all of the employees in an appropriate bargaining unit for the purpose of collective bargaining.
Collective bargaining: A method of determining the terms and conditions of employment by negotiation between representatives of the employer and the union representing employees.
Contract: Also known as a collective bargaining agreement. A formal written agreement governing wages, hours and conditions of employment entered into by an employer and the union representing employees.
Delegate Assembly: The largest governing body of the union. This elected group of members is responsible for approving the budget, setting dues, approving election procedures, modifying the Constitution and/or Bylaws, and setting the legislative agenda for the union.
Dues: The fee approved and paid by members to enable their union to effectively represent them in negotiations, grievance handling, worksite issues and legislative priorities.
Duty of Fair Representation (DFR): The union’s obligation, as the exclusive bargaining representative of a group of employees, to represent all employees in the bargaining unit in grievance handling, as well as contract negotiations.
Exclusive representative: The employee organization that, as a result of certification by a labor board (BMS), has the right to be the sole collective bargaining agent of all employees in an appropriate bargaining unit.
Executive Committee: The statewide or local officers of a union who are responsible to carry out the directives of the membership when the Board of Directors is not in session.
Executive Director: The professional manager of the union’s day-to-day business affairs, including staff supervision and carrying out the approved policies and procedures of the union.
Free rider: An employee who fails to join the union that has negotiated the contract over her/his wage and working conditions, all the while benefiting from that contract.
Fringe benefits: Vacations, holidays, insurance, medical/dental benefits, pension and other economic benefits that are given to employees under the union contract in addition to direct wages.
Pay equity: A term covering the idea that female-dominated jobs or professions have been traditionally undervalued, based on levels of responsibility and required education, and that pay for these jobs should be raised to pay levels of comparable jobs that are traditionally held by men.
PELRA: Public Employee Labor Relations Act, passed into Minnesota law in 1972 allowing public employees to unionize for the purposes of negotiating and enforcing a contract governing wages, benefits, hours, work conditions and other related issues.
Representation election: A vote conducted by an appropriate labor board or agency to determine whether a majority of the employees in a previously established bargaining unit wish to be represented by a given union.
Scab: A person who continues to work, or who accepts employment, while the workers are on strike.
Seniority: Preference accorded employees, based on length of service with an employer, in such areas as layoff, recall, promotion, transfer, vacation accrual, scheduling, etc.
Service fee: An assessment of nonmembers (fair share) in a bargaining unit to help defray the union’s costs in negotiating and administering the contract.
Steward: A union member who volunteers to represent members of the union in contract enforcement issues with the employer.
Strike: Also called a job action. A concerted act by a group of employees, withholding their labor for the purpose of effecting a change in wages, fringe benefits, hours or working conditions.
Unfair labor practice: An employer or union practice forbidden by the NLRB, Civil Service Reform Act (for federal workers), or state and local laws, subject to court appeal. This oftentimes involves the employer’s efforts to avoid bargaining in good faith.
Work to rule: A literal application of work rules, contract language and statute, in which employees take their full 15-minute breaks, unpaid meal break away from the worksite, arrive and depart the worksite at the exact start and end times of the work day, etc. Employees do not give their any employer any of the extras, usually available, at no additional charge.