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Convention 101: How to get involved

NSGEU’s Biennial Convention is where the direction of the Union for the upcoming term is established, and where leaders are elected to ensure those goals are reached.

This year’s Convention is scheduled for May 8 to 11 at the Westin in Halifax. There, hundreds of delegates from NSGEU’s Locals will meet to elect the next Executive Committee.

Any NSGEU member in good standing is welcome to seek election, and giving each candidate an opportunity to participate in the campaign is critical to the Union’s strength and ongoing success. To make sure these opportunities are open to each and every NSGEU member, there are some basic rules that govern the Executive Committee Elections:

In order to run for the Executive Committee, you must first be elected as one of your Local’s convention delegates. You must also:

  • Have attended at least 40% of your local meetings over the past 12 months before nominations;
  • Or, over the past six years, spent at least 12 months as a Local officer, steward, bargaining committee member, member of the Board of Directors, member of a provincial committee or regional or occupational councillor.

Once elected as a convention delegate, eligible candidates must then fill out the “Intent to Seek Nomination” form, which is available from their Local president, Nominations Receiving Committee, NSGEU head office, or from their Convention binder. Most fill out this form before Convention so they have a chance to distribute campaign materials, but there is nothing stopping an eligible candidate from coming forward during Convention. The necessary forms must be submitted to the Nominations Receiving Committee no later than the concluding session of the second-last scheduled day of convention (May 10). Once a nomination form is filed, they can start campaigning!

There are rules governing these campaigns. There are three ways that candidates can campaign:

  • Face-to-face: All declared candidates will be provided with a list of names and contact information for each Convention delegate. Candidates must sign a declaration promising to use this list only for campaign purposes;
  • The Stand: All declared candidates may submit a photo and personal statement of up to 600 words to be included in a pre-Convention issue of The Stand. Photos and statements must be received by March 8, 2013. Please keep in mind that staff are not permitted to edit your copy for spelling or grammatical errors, so please be sure to proofread your submission before sending it in! If you do not have a recent, good-quality photograph to submit, you can stop by the office and have one taken;
  • Leaflets: Union staff will copy, stamp and mail a one-page leaflet to all delegates on behalf of each declared candidate. These leaflets will be mailed out within 10 days of the candidate submitting the material for their leaflet to the Nominations Receiving Committee, c/o NSGEU head office. Candidates will also be provided with copies of this leaflet to distribute to delegates during Convention. Please note: distribution of campaign material is permitted only outside of Convention hall. Election material cannot be posted inside the hall.

Other NSGEU members are allowed to offer assistance in-kind to candidates and their campaigns, or help contact delegates and distribute campaign materials at Convention. Campaigns will be kept internal, and candidates will not seek out media as a means of communicating with members.

Other than the article in The Stand and the one-page leaflet, the Union (or any body of the Union, like a Local or committee) will not offer donations, materials or assistance in-kind to a campaign. Donations, materials or assistance in-kind from outside sources also will not be allowed.

Except for copying, stamping and mailing campaign material, there shall be no staff involvement in the political process. If there are any allegations of staff interference, the complaint should be made in writing to theExecutive Director, who will refer them to the President for due process.

Elected members or candidates seeking election will not initiate involvement of staff in the political process. Should staff have complaints, they should make them in writing to the Executive Director, who will refer them to the President for due process.

KEY DATES

For Locals:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 27: Deadline for each Local to elect convention delegates & alternates. Locals who do not hold their elections before this date will not be eligible to send delegates to convention, as per NSGEU Constitution & Bylaws.
  • Friday, Mar. 8: Deadline for NSGEU’s Executive Director to have received the following information from each Local’s Secretary: The names of the Local’s elected delegates and alternates for convention; Resolutions or constitutional amendments which were approved at a Local meeting, certified by the Local President and Secretary, to be presented at convention. This is also the deadline for submitting a profile to run in The Stand.
  • Friday, Mar. 27: After the election, each delegate and alternate must submit their completed application form to the NSGEU’s Executive Director.
  • Monday, May 6: The Local Secretary or Secretary-Treasurer must complete and submit the official credential form for each delegate and forward a copy to Union head office at least ten days before convention to ensure they are received by the Executive Director at least two days prior to convention (by May 6).

For Committees:

  • Monday, Mar. 4: Deadline for committee chairs to submit to the Executive Director resolutions their committee would like considered at convention;
  • Mar. 20 & 21: Board of Directors will consider and vote on which committee resolutions will be addressed at convention;
  • Monday, Mar. 18: In accordance with Board policy, Committee chairs must ensure their committee’s report to Convention is received by the Executive Director no later than 40 days before Convention. All information must be forwarded to the Executive Director to allow time for materials to be copied before the meeting.
  • Monday, Apr. 8: Copies of resolution and constitutional amendments received within the 60-day deadline are forwarded to all Locals at least 30 days before Convention.
  • Friday, Apr. 26: All delegates will receive a copy of the Convention binder at least 10 days before Convention. Binders will be given to Local Presidents/Board Members or mailed directly to delegates, where necessary. Committee Observers will receive their binders when they register on May 8.

All forms should be completed and submitted within the time limits noted above. If you have any questions, please contact our Convention Coordinator, Diane Briggs, at dbriggs@nsgeu.ca.

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