NSGEU’s Triennial Convention is right around the corner: it’s being held from May 8 to 11 in Halifax. If you are a member and are interested in running for an Executive position, please take a listen and find out how to put your name forward!
Please see below for a full transcript of this week’s podcast:
Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of Union Matters, NSGEU’s weekly podcast. I’m your host this week, Holly [Fraughton], and I’m joined here today by another NSGEU staff member, Diane Briggs. Welcome, Diane.
DB Thank you for having me.
HF Thank you for agreeing to chat with me today. I know your day-to-day job is handling of the IT related things for the union, but you also play a very important role for convention as our convention coordinator. How long have you been organizing our convention?
DB Since 1993.
HF Oh, wow! So this will be your…
DB Well, we did it every two years for a while and then every three years, so I thinks it’s the 13th or 14th
HF So for anyone who doesn’t really know what convention is, in a nutshell, it’s kind of like the big show for the union. It’s where members who are elected as delegates for their local come together to help determine the direction of the union for the next three year term. They do that by deciding what resolutions are going to be put forward and then voting on resolutions. Is that pretty much it?
DB Yeah. They make changes to the union’s constitution at this convention, they set policy and direction for the board for the next three years.
HF Another important past of convention is elections. That is actually where the NSGEU President, our 3 Vice-Presidents, and our Secretary-Treasurer are elected by the delegates. So can anyone run for one of these positions, Di, or do you need to have attended a certain number of local meetings, or have held a position with the local before you run at the executive level?
DB You don’t have to have held a position within your local, but you do have to have attended at least 40% of your local meetings, and then you can be nominated to be a delegate to represent your local, and then through the election process you may be elected to be the delegate, or you can be elected to be an alternate. You have to be a delegate. You have to be present at convention in order to run for an executive position.
HF So the delegate elections have already taken place in most of the locals by now?
DB Yes, they should be. The deadline for election of delegates is February 27th.
HF So the delegate entitlement for this time around, we’re up to 300..
DB It’s like 338 or something like that. That’s voting delegates.
HF Is that our biggest convention yet?
DB Yes. Every year is our biggest yet, because we keep growing!
HF Not a bad problem to have!
HF So what is the process if you are interested in running for an executive position and you are already a convention delegate. What should you be prepared to do?
DB If you want to run for an executive positions we have a policy concerning this. I believe it has been emailed to all local presidents (and possibly local secretaries) with a copy of the policy with an intent to seek nomination form. Anyone interested in running for a positions can sign and send the form back to the office. By doing that you’re declaring you’re going to run and you want to partake in the offerings available within the policy. Once you do that we get you to sign a confidentiality statement, and then you’re eligible to submit a 600 word biography that staff will include in the March Stand. You are able to do a leaflet and then a brochure that is copied and available for you to pick up the first day of convention.
HF So if they decide they want to run ahead of time they can let staff know and provide us with this bio and either a photo (or we can take a photo).
DB You can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can send it to email@example.com. Once we receive that we contact you and get you to sign a confidentiality statement. And then once we receive that your first opportunity is to submit a 600 word bio that will be published in the March Stand. And you can send along a photo or we can arrange for you to come in to have a photo taken. The deadline for receipt of that is March 8th.
HF On that bio piece, so that people know, they can submit up to 600 words bio, can’t be any longer, and we, as staff, as per policy, are not allowed to edit that, so if you send it to us and there’s typos in it, it’s being printed as is. A lot of time people blame us if a mistake appears in the magazine, and we have to explain that this is actually part of the policy that it’s peoples’ own words. Those bios are printed in the Stand, but we also do leaflets.
DB We do, we will print a two-page leaflet and we’ll mail it out to all the delegates attending convention. It’s two-sided. There’s no minimum word count. The deadline for that to be in is April 19th.
HF This is if you decide you want to campaign and you know you’re going to run ahead of time. Some people don’t make the decision until convention. You can actually run straight off the floor, right?
DB You can, yes. You have until 4:00 p.m. on the Friday of convention, which is the second last day of convention, to be nominated and advise that you’re going to seek election.
HF Do a lot of people do that?
DB Not anymore. Before we had the policy for the intent to seek nominations, they would run off the floor, because we didn’t provide any of the leaflets. But now that we do this, it’s in their best interest to partake and have a bio in the Stand. If they run off the floor, nobody really knows them. They’ve got all the information from the others and not them.
HF Yeah, that makes sense. They would have a bit of an advantage.
HF So, just to recap, if you are a member who’s interested in running for an executive position, you first need to be elected as a convention delegate and you need to be at convention. If you want to campaign, you should submit a bio of 600 words to us no later that March 8th and arrange to either send in a photo or have us take your photo so we can include your write up in the Stand, and print a leaflet for you. If you decide to run at a later date, you can put your name forward right up until the second last day of convention and run right off the floor. So it sounds pretty straight forward. I just want to mention too, if you aren’t quite ready to run at the executive level yet, but you want to get more active with the union, there are lots of opportunities coming out of convention at the local level as well. Our local elections are typically held right after convention. So make sure you attend your next local meeting after convention and you can see what opportunities there may be there for you. Di, I really appreciate you joining us here today. I think that’s everything I have for you. Thank you for your time, I appreciate it. Thanks to our listeners for tuning to Union Matters. We hope you enjoyed this episode. Please don’t forget to subscribe. We’re also on Facebook and Twitter @NSGEU. Have a good one!