We have been working closely with many of you to ensure that Local 73 is the strong, effective, member-driven force it should be. We are writing now to provide you with an update regarding that work and the process for returning Local 73 to self-governance—a prospect about which we are all excited.
Our goal now is to make sure that Local 73 is returned to self-governance in the best possible position to survive, and thrive, in the face of the challenges that confront working families in the 21st century. We understand that many of you may be wondering about elections, and we address those below. Before getting there, though, we want to emphasize that this is about more than elections alone. Local 73 needs to be strong, to be on sound financial footing, and to have a governance structure that will work going forward and work for all the members. No one wants to return to the difficulties of the past, and, to that end, many of your fellow members have been working hard to develop plans for the Local moving forward.
As you may know from earlier updates, a Committee on the Future made up of rank-and-file members was formed after our January 27 leadership conference. The Committee’s membership represents the broad diversity that is one of this union’s many strengths, including diversity in points of view, type of work, and geography. The Committee’s volunteer members have put in long hours on nights and weekends, and they have made enormous progress.
The Committee has studied Local 73’s recent history carefully. Subcommittees on Local 73’s finances, constitution and bylaws, and member strength have prepared recommendations to be presented later this month to the full Committee. The Committee will discuss, evaluate, and revise those recommendations as the members deem necessary.
After that, the Committee on the Future will hold meetings at worksites, and host conference calls, to describe their findings and recommendations, discuss with fellow members, and answer questions. Once that work is done, we anticipate that the Committee will present a new constitution and bylaws to the full membership for a ratification vote at regional meetings.
As Committee members will likely explain in more detail at meetings and on teleconferences, the Committee’s goals in thinking about a new constitution and bylaws have been to ensure maximum member participation in the union from every region and worksite within the union’s jurisdiction; to establish workplace structures and networks that enable members to participate in their union and build and exercise power; and to implement necessary checks-and-balances to hold the union’s leaders responsible to their charge.
If the membership ratifies the Committee’s proposed constitution and bylaws, the Trustees will present them to SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry for her approval, and, assuming President Henry approves them, will then seek approval to return the union to self-governance.
If all goes well, it is our hope that the election process will begin in the fall, once our brothers and sisters who work on a schoolyear schedule have returned from summer breaks. There will a nominations period open long enough to ensure that anyone who wants to run has time to gather the needed support, and then elections (assuming there are contested positions) will be conducted by secret ballot. At that point, you will have chosen the next leaders of your union.
It is difficult to predict exact dates for some of these events as there are several contingencies involved. First, we face Janus, which will likely come down in June, and for which we have all been preparing. There is always a possibility that the effects of Janus could be different or worse than expected. Second, the schedule will depend on whether the membership votes to ratify the Committee’s proposed constitution and bylaws and whether President Henry approves them, among other things. We hope and expect elections to take place by the end of November, with the understanding that things may have to change if any of these contingencies come to pass.
Expect to hear more from us in the coming weeks, as we continue to make progress on structuring the union of the future and returning Local 73 to self-governance as a strong, democratic, member driven union.