CUPE National’s Response to the Latest Bylaw Amendments (June 2015-July 2018)

In July 2018, the Recording Secretary of our local submitted to CUPE National the bylaw amendments passed by the membership between June 2015 and July 2018 for final approval. According to the official response that we have received from CUPE National, several minor edits are suggested, and all but one were approved of the 30 bylaw amendments passed by the CUPE 3903 membership. See here for a full list of submitted amendments and the corresponding language.

Of particular note is CUPE National’s rejection of the amendment regarding re-introducing recall language into our bylaws [Article 8(m)]. As can be seen in his official response, CUPE National President Mark Hancock stated that he considers the proposed recall language to be discipline, and that the proper venue to resolve such issues is the trial procedure.

Our local had recall language prior to being taken under administration in 2009. At this time, all existing committees of the union (including the Executive Committee) had been dissolved, and the CUPE National-appointed trustee Lynn McDougall became responsible for the administration of the local. During her trusteeship, Lynn McDougall revised CUPE 3903’s bylaws, and unilaterally rewrote and removed many existing provisions, including the recall language the local already had.

The Executive Committee is disappointed with CUPE National’s decision to reject an important measure of accountability that our membership wanted to re-introduce into our policies. We are particularly concerned that the alternative avenue that is being suggested by the National President is the trial procedure, a process that is known to be highly problematic and has been heavily criticized by many CUPE locals. The trial process is also currently in review by the National Executive Board as per the resolution passed at the latest CUPE National Convention in 2017, and the results are to be presented at the convention in 2019. In addition to the procedural problems associated with the trial process, there is no clarity around how the process will even look like by the end of this review.

In order to register our disappointment with the response to our bylaw amendment, the Executive Committee has requested that the National President reconsider this decision and approve the re-introduction of the recall language into the CUPE 3903 bylaws (see here for the Executive Committee’s communication). We have received confirmation of receipt of this correspondence by the National President, but no further response. We will keep the membership updated on any new developments.