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Article IV - The Convention

Section 1. All sovereign powers of this Federation shall be vested in the convention, when in session.

Section 2. The convention shall meet biennially in the even-numbered years at such time, date, and place as shall be determined by the International Executive Board; provided, however, that such convention shall begin at some time between April 1st and September 30th, and that no convention shall be held on a holiday weekend. For a specific purpose or purposes, which shall be clearly defined in the call, a special convention may be called at any time by the International Executive Board. A special convention solely to fill a vacancy in the office of International President shall be called as provided in this Constitution.

Section 3. If one or more local unions in each of ten different legislative districts, which together represent a minimum of thirty percent of the membership based on the average per capita actually paid for the preceding twelve consecutive months ending with the fourth full month prior to the date on which the question is submitted, by letter to the International Secretary-Treasurer, request the calling of a special convention for a specific purpose or purposes, the International Secretary-Treasurer shall for- ward copies of such requests to each member of the International Executive Board. At the next meeting of the International Executive Board, the Board shall vote on the question of calling a special convention for the purpose or purposes set forth in the requests. If the majority of those present and voting favor the calling of a special convention, such convention shall be held within 120 days thereafter. If the majority of those present and voting oppose the calling of a special convention, the question shall, within seven days thereafter, be submitted to all affiliated local unions for action. If, within sixty days after the question has been submitted, local unions representing a majority of the membership of the Federation, as determined by the average per capita tax payments for the twelve-month period ending with the fourth full month prior to the date on which the question is submitted, indicate by certification to the International Secretary-Treasurer that they favor the calling of a special convention, such convention shall be called; provided however, that no special convention shall be convened if a regular convention is scheduled to be held within 180 days. The International Executive Board shall determine the time, date, and place for such special convention, except that such convention shall begin not earlier than 150 days nor later than 180 days following the original submission of the question to the local unions for action.

Section 4. Not less than seventy-five days prior to the opening of any convention, the International Secretary-Treasurer shall issue a convention call, in the name of the International Executive Board. Such call shall state the time, date, and place of the convention and, in the case of a special convention, the purpose or purposes. A copy of the call shall be sent to all subordinate bodies, together with the appropriate number of blank credential forms or other materials needed for the subordinate body to register its delegates.

Section 5. The basis of local union representation in conventions shall be determined from the average per capita tax actually paid to the Federation for the twelve consecutive months ending with the fourth full month preceding the opening of the convention. In the case of a local composed of two or more locals that have merged during the twelve-month period, or between the end of the twelve-month period and the opening of the convention, the combined average per capita tax of the merging locals shall be the basis of representation. In any case where a local has been divided into two or more locals during the twelve-month period, or between the end of the twelve-month period and the opening of the convention, the total average per capita tax shall be divided among the newly created locals in direct proportion to their respective averages since the division, and this shall constitute their respective bases of representation. In the case of a newly organized or newly affiliated local which has been in existence or has been affiliated for less than the full twelve-month period, the average per capita tax for that portion of the twelve-month period during which the local has been in existence or has been affiliated shall be the basis for representation; provided, however, that any local which was formed after the twelve-month period shall be entitled to representation only in accordance with the provisions of Section 8 below.

Section 6. Locals shall be entitled to delegates on the basis of membership as follows: 100 or fewer, one delegate; more than 100 but not exceeding 200, two delegates; more than 200 but not exceeding 300, three delegates; more than 300 but not exceeding 400, four delegates; more than 400, one additional delegate for each 1,000 additional members or fraction thereof.

Section 7. Regardless of the number of delegates, locals shall be entitled to vote on the basis of one vote for each member or fraction thereof. Locals entitled to more than one delegate may send fewer than their quota of delegates and the delegates present may cast the entire vote of the local on all recorded votes and elections coming before the convention. The number of votes shall be divided equally among the delegates, with any remaining votes to be cast by the Chairperson of the delegation, as designated by the local. No fractional votes shall be permitted.

Section 8. Each chartered council shall be entitled to one delegate and one vote. Each chartered retiree chapter shall be entitled to delegates on the basis of membership, to be determined in the manner provided for local unions in Article IV, Section 5 of this Constitution, as follows: 10,000 or fewer, one delegate; more than 10,000 but not exceeding 25,000, two delegates; more than 25,000 but not exceeding 50,000, three delegates; more than 50,000, four delegates. Each delegate representing a retiree chapter shall be entitled to one vote. Such delegates shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges of a delegate except that such a delegate shall not be entitled to nominate any candidate for International Union office as a council or retiree chapter delegate or to cast the council’s or retiree chapter’s vote in the election of International Union officers unless such delegate has been elected to that position by secret ballot vote conducted among the members of the local unions affiliated with such delegate’s council or among the members of such delegate’s retiree chapter or its sub-chapters. Any local formed or affiliated after the twelve-month period which forms the basis for representation of local unions or from which no per capita tax was due and paid for the twelfth month of the twelve-month period shall be entitled to send one fraternal delegate to serve as an official observer without voice or vote. Any member of the International Executive Board and any member of the Judicial Panel who is not elected as a delegate representing a subordinate body shall nevertheless be entitled to all the rights and privileges of a delegate except the right to vote.

Section 9. All delegates shall, after due notice of nominations and elections has been given, be elected in the respective subordinate bodies. Subordinate bodies may also elect an alternate delegate for each delegate. Election shall be by secret ballot, except in instances where a nominee is unopposed. The names of the delegates and of alternates, if any, shall be certified by the president and secretary of each subordinate body to the International Secretary-Treasurer at International Headquarters at least twenty days prior to the convention. If such certification is by a local union and includes two or more delegates, the certification shall designate one of the delegates as Chairperson of the delegation. Names of delegates certified after the twentieth day prior to the convention shall be deemed irregular and shall not be included in the initial report of the Credentials Committee.

Section 10. In any special convention, every local union president shall be considered a delegate automatically, except in a local union where the local constitution makes specific provision for a different automatic delegate. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prohibit any local union which is entitled to more than one delegate from electing additional delegates; nor shall this section be interpreted so as to prevent one or more subordinate bodies from exercising the rights provided in Sections 12 and 13 below to unite in sending a delegate to the special convention.

Section 11. No nomination or election of delegates shall be held more than 120 days prior to the opening of the convention; provided, however, that this restriction shall not apply to a delegate from a subordinate body which normally meets less often than quarterly, nor shall it affect anyone who is a delegate pursuant to the constitution of a subordinate body by virtue of election to an office therein.

Section 12. A delegate representing a local union must, from the twelfth month of the twelve-month period which forms the basis for local union representation until the opening of the convention, be a member in good standing of the local represented. With the exceptions provided in Section 15, however, two or more locals within the same council, organizing council, state, commonwealth, or territory may unite in sending to the convention a delegate who meets the above qualifications in one of such locals. Before a local may be represented by a delegate who is not a member of the local, the membership of the local shall first vote on the following question: “Shall this local elect as a convention delegate a person who is not a member of this local union?” If the majority of those voting on the question vote in the affirmative, the local may then proceed to elect a delegate in accordance with the above requirements. Any delegate so elected may cast the votes to which the locals are individually entitled. No delegate may represent more than five locals.

Section 13. A delegate representing a council must, from the twelfth month of the twelve-month period which forms the basis for local union representation until the opening of the convention, be a member in good standing of a local union which is affiliated with such council. A delegate representing a council may, if elected in accordance with the procedures set forth in Section 12 above, also serve as delegate for not more than four local unions affiliated with the council. Any delegate so elected may cast the votes to which the subordinate bodies are individually entitled. No delegate may represent more than five subordinate bodies.

Section 14. A delegate representing a retiree chapter must, from the twelfth month of the twelve-month period which forms the basis for local union representation until the opening of the convention, be a member in good standing of such retiree chapter or of a retiree sub-chapter affiliated with such chapter.

Section 15. No member of the International Executive Board and no salaried employee of the International Union and no member of the Judicial Panel shall serve as a delegate from any local except the local of which such person is a member or of the council with which that local is affiliated.

Section 16. No local union or retiree chapter shall be entitled to representation in any convention unless all its per capita tax due to and all special assessments levied by the Federation as of the end of the fourth month preceding the opening of the convention shall have been paid in full by or on the day the delegate seeks to register at the convention. No council shall be entitled to representation in any convention unless the annual affiliation fee for the current year shall have been paid in full by or on the day the delegate seeks to register at the convention.

A local union which would be deprived of representation in full or in part pursuant to the provisions of this Article solely because of an employer’s delay in remitting dues deductions in the normal fashion shall be allowed such representation and voting strength as the convention upon the report of the Credentials Committee shall determine to be equitable.

Section 17. No local union shall be entitled to representation at any convention if it is in violation of a lawful ruling of the International Executive Board requiring affiliation with a council.

Section 18. Prior to each convention, the International President shall, with the approval of the International Executive Board, appoint a Credentials Committee, a Committee on Rules and Order of Business, a Constitution Committee, a Sergeant-at-Arms Committee, and such other Committees as shall be authorized by the Executive Board, designating at least one member of each Committee as Chairperson. At the convention, the International President, with the approval of the International Executive Board, shall appoint any additional committees required under the rules of the convention, designating at least one member of each committee as Chairperson, and special committees and the Chairpersons thereof required by any resolution adopted by the convention, unless such resolution provides for a different method of appointment. At each convention at which elections are to be held, the International President, with the approval of the International Executive Board, shall appoint a Committee on Elections, designating at least one member of the Committee as Chairperson. The International President shall be an ex-officio member of all convention committees, except the Credentials Committee and the Committee on Elections, and of any interim committees that may be established by the convention.

Section 19. Each member of the Credentials Committee shall, upon accepting appointment to such committee, be disqualified from becoming a candidate for elective office at the convention. The Credentials Committee shall receive from the International Secretary-Treasurer, in advance of the convention, all credentials which have been received by the International Secretary-Treasurer, such credentials having been stamped as to the date they were received and attached to the envelope in which they were received. The Credentials Committee shall receive from the International Secretary-Treasurer, in advance of the convention, a report on the month-by-month per capita tax payments of each local union for the twelve consecutive months ending with the fourth full month preceding the opening of the convention. The Credentials Committee shall provide facilities for the registration of delegates. The Credentials Committee shall make all decisions concerning the validity of credentials and decide all questions regarding the bona fide absence of delegates and the seating of alternates, such decisions being subject to appeal to the convention. Any delegate whose credential was not received by the International Secretary-Treasurer by the twentieth day prior to the convention or addressed to the International Secretary-Treasurer and postmarked by the twentieth day prior to the convention shall be considered an irregular delegate. No irregular delegate shall be seated at the opening of the convention and no irregular delegate shall be included in the initial report of the Credentials Committee. Following the adoption of the convention rules, irregular delegates may be seated by a majority vote of the convention. No delegate shall be permitted to register after 1:00 p.m. on the second day of the convention. The Credentials Committee shall provide each delegate with a complete copy of the Committee’s report or reports.

Section 20. The Committee on Rules and Order of Business shall report to the convention its recommendations concerning rules of procedure for the convention. The rules of procedure governing the preceding regular biennial convention shall be in force from the opening of any convention until new rules have been adopted by action of the convention.

Section 21. The Sergeants-at-Arms Committee shall arrange for the seating of all delegates in the convention hall. Under the direction of the presiding officer of the convention, the Sergeants-at-Arms Committee shall maintain proper order and decorum within the hall and shall perform such other duties as the presiding officer shall require.

Section 22. Resolutions, including proposals to amend the Constitution, to be introduced for consideration at any convention shall be signed by the president and the secretary of a subordinate body or by one or more certified delegates. Such resolutions shall be prepared and signed in duplicate and sent to the International Secretary-Treasurer at International Headquarters and postmarked or sent electronically at least thirty days prior to the opening of the convention. The International Secretary-Treasurer shall make copies of all such resolutions available to the delegates and shall properly identify those who submitted the resolutions. No constitutional amendments may be introduced thereafter, but resolutions may be introduced thereafter if consent is given by a two-thirds vote of the convention; provided, however, that the International President or the International Executive Board may introduce a resolution or constitutional amendment for consideration by the convention at any time up to and including the fourth day of the convention.

Section 23. The International President shall be the presiding officer at all conventions, but may call any delegate to preside instead.

Section 24. The International Secretary-Treasurer shall serve as secretary at all conventions; shall read the convention call to the delegates at the opening session of the convention; and shall maintain an accurate record of the convention proceedings.

Section 25. A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of not fewer than one-third of the delegates seated in the convention.

Section 26. Beginning at the 1972 regular biennial convention and at every second regular biennial convention thereafter, there shall be elected an International President and an International Secretary-Treasurer, both to be elected by the convention-at-large, and International Vice Presidents without priority, to be elected by the delegates representing locals, councils and retiree chapters in each of the Legislative Districts hereinafter established.

Section 27. Legislative Districts are hereby established for the purpose of electing International Vice Presidents. A delegate shall vote only for an International Vice President or International Vice Presidents from the Legislative District in which the subordinate body the delegate represents is located.

In any case where the membership of a subordinate body is employed in more than one Legislative District, the votes of such subordinate body shall be cast in the district in which the principal office of a subordinate body is located.

The Hawaii District shall consist of the State of Hawaii.

The Northwestern District shall consist of the States of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.

The California District shall consist of all councils and locals in the State of California which are not included in the United Domestic Workers District.

The Southwestern District shall consist of the States of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.

The North-Central District shall consist of the States of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

The Midwestern District shall consist of the States of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

The Wisconsin District shall consist of the State of Wisconsin.

The Michigan District shall consist of the State of Michigan.

The Illinois District shall consist of the State of Illinois.

The Central District shall consist of the States of Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.

The Ohio District shall consist of all councils and locals in the State of Ohio which are not included in the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association District or the Ohio Association of Public School Employees District.

The Ohio Civil Service Employees Association District shall consist of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, Local 11.

The Ohio Association of Public School Employees District shall consist of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees, Local 4.

The Northern New England District shall consist of the States of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.

The Southern New England District shall consist of the States of Connecticut and Rhode Island.

The New York City District shall consist of any council having jurisdiction over county and municipal employees of New York City and local unions within the chartered jurisdictions of any such council.

The Civil Service Employees Association District shall consist of the Civil Service Employees Association, Local 1000.

The New York State District shall consist of all councils and locals in the State of New York which are not included in the New York City District or the Civil Service Employees Association District.

The Pennsylvania District shall consist of the State of Pennsylvania.

The Eastern District shall consist of the States of Delaware and New Jersey.

The Capital District shall consist of the States of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

The Southeastern District shall consist of the States of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina and the Republic of Panama.

The Puerto Rico District shall consist of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

The National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees District shall consist of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, Local 1199.

The United Domestic Workers District shall consist of the Local 3930. 

Section 28. One International Vice President shall be elected by the delegates representing locals, councils and retiree chapters in each of the Legislative Districts established in Article IV, Section 27; provided, however, that in any Legislative District containing local unions having a total membership in excess of five percent but less than fifteen percent of the total membership of all local unions in the International Union, two International Vice Presidents shall be elected; and provided further, that in any Legislative District containing local unions having a total membership in excess of fifteen percent of the total membership of all local unions in the International Union, three International Vice Presidents shall be elected. Each delegate representing a local, council or retiree chapter in a Legislative District shall vote for the number of candidates for International Vice President to be elected from such District.

Section 29. Each month, the International Secretary-Treasurer shall certify, for the six-month period ending with the second full month preceding the month in which the certification is made, (1) the average total number of members of all local unions in the Federation, and (2) the average total number of members in all local unions in each of the several Legislative Districts, and such certifications shall be reported to the International Executive Board as part of the International Secretary-Treasurer’s regular, periodic reports to the International Executive Board. If such certification shows that any Legislative District which had, at the previous International Convention at which regular elections were held, elected only one International Vice President contains local unions having a total membership in excess of five percent but less than fifteen percent of the total membership of all local unions in the International Union, or that any Legislative District which had, at the previous International Convention at which regular elections were held, elected fewer than three International Vice Presidents contains local unions having a total membership in excess of fifteen percent of the total membership of all local unions in the International Union, announcement of the fact shall be made on the International Union’s website or electronically. In such a case, an additional International Vice President shall be elected from such Legislative District in accordance with the procedure for filling vacancies in the office of the International Vice President as specified in Article VIII, Section 11 of this Constitution, and the term of such International Vice President shall end upon the installation of the officers elected at the next International Convention at which regular elections are held; provided that no election shall be held if a regular International Convention is scheduled to be held within 180 days after the issuance of the certification that would otherwise require the holding of an election, and the additional International Vice President shall be elected at that Convention for a term expiring upon the installation of the officers elected at the next regular Convention at which elections are scheduled. If the certification reported to the International Executive Board in December of a year which immediately precedes an International Convention at which elections are scheduled shows that any Legislative District contains local unions having a total membership of less than one percent of the total membership of all local unions in the International Union, then upon receipt of such certification, the International Executive Board shall establish a hearing committee consisting of three members of the International Executive Board, and announcement of that fact shall be made on the International Union’s website or electronically.

Section 30. The hearing committee established pursuant to Section 29 of this Article shall meet as soon as practicable for the purpose of tentatively revising the Legislative District lines. The International Secretary-Treasurer shall furnish to the hearing committee such membership statistical information as it may request. In making such tentative revisions, the hearing committee shall be bound by the following limitations:

A. No revision shall be made which shall place local unions affiliated with the same council in different Legislative Districts.

B. No revision shall be made which shall result in the election of fewer than thirty or more than thirty-five International Vice Presidents.

Upon completion of a tentative revision, the hearing committee shall, after due notice to all locals and councils within any Legislative District directly affected by such tentative revision, hold one or more hearings within each directly affected Legislative District. At said hearings, interested parties may express their views concerning the tentative revision and may propose alternative plans for revision. Upon completion of all such hearings, the hearing committee shall report its findings and recommendations to the International Executive Board which shall then approve a final revision plan, which shall meet the limitations set forth above in this section, and copies of such plan shall be mailed to all local unions and councils at least forty-five days prior to the opening of the International Convention. Such plan shall take effect and shall constitute an amendment to the International Constitution at the time for holding nominations at the International Convention unless, prior to such time, a resolution proposing an alternative plan shall have been properly introduced and adopted by a majority vote of the convention, in which case such alternative plan shall take effect and shall constitute an amendment to the International Constitution at the time for holding nominations at said International Convention. Any such alternative plan must meet the limitations set forth in this section.

Section 31. If the total membership in all local unions in any Legislative District which is represented by two International Vice Presidents shall fall below five percent of the total membership of all local unions in the International Union, or if the total membership in all local unions in any Legislative District which is represented by three International Vice Presidents shall fall below fifteen percent of the total membership of all local unions in the International Union, the delegates from locals, councils, and retiree chapters in such Legislative District shall, at the next convention at which elections are to be held, elect only the number of Vice Presidents to which such District is entitled pursuant to Section 28 of this Article; provided that, if the membership in all local unions in any such Legislative District has fallen below the threshold for electing a second or third International Vice President by less than one-half percent of the total membership of all local unions in the International Union, the reduction in the number of Vice Presidents to be elected by such Legislative District shall be delayed until the convention to be held four years later, and such reduction shall not take effect then if the certification of membership issued in the December immediately preceding such convention shows that the membership in all local unions in such Legislative District is in excess of the percentage of the membership of all local unions in the International Union required to elect the number of International Vice Presidents previously elected by such Legislative District.

Section 32. To be eligible for election as International President or as International Secretary-Treasurer, a nominee must have been a member in the Federation for at least five years continuously at the time of the election. No member of the Judicial Panel and no person who has served as a member of the Judicial Panel during any part of the calendar year in which the convention is held shall be eligible for election at the convention.

Section 33. To be eligible for election as an International Vice President, a nominee must have been a member in a local or locals within the Legislative District the nominee seeks to represent for at least three years continuously at the time of the election, except as provided below. In any election for International Vice President in a Legislative District in which the combined total membership in the local unions in such district has increased by more than fifty percent since the last certification of membership immediately preceding a convention at which elections were held, the requirement of three years’ continuous membership shall stand suspended from effect. No salaried employee of the Federation shall serve as an International Vice President. No member of the Judicial Panel and no person who has served as a member of the Judicial Panel during any part of the calendar year in which the convention is held shall be eligible for election at the convention.

Section 34. Nominations of officers, except for International Vice Presidents, shall be conducted in open convention, and no nominating committee shall be used. Any delegate may nominate any eligible member for the office of International President or of International Secretary-Treasurer. The delegates shall be divided by Legislative District for the purpose of nominations for the office of International Vice President for their District. Any delegate may nominate any eligible member for the office of International Vice President to represent the delegate’s own Legislative District. Following the nominating procedures, nominees shall be afforded the opportunity to decline, and the name of any person so declining shall not appear on the ballot. No person shall be a candidate for more than one office. Any challenge concerning the eligibility of any nominee shall be filed in writing with the International President prior to the opening of the next meeting of the convention following the meeting at which nominations are conducted. Any challenge so filed shall be referred to the Committee on Elections, which shall report on the eligibility of the nominee prior to the election.

Section 35. In any case where there is only one nominee for office, the unopposed candidate shall be declared elected. In all other instances elections shall be conducted by secret ballot. If paper ballots are used, the names of the candidates for International President and International Secretary-Treasurer shall not appear on the same ballot with the candidates for International Vice President. No paper ballot shall have a value of more than 5,000 votes, and any delegate entitled to cast more than 5,000 votes shall be given additional ballots to make up the total number of votes to which such delegate is entitled. In determining the values for paper ballots to be used in any election, the Committee on Elections shall use denominations that will preserve the secrecy of the identity of the voter. Any delegate representing more than one subordinate body will, upon request, be given a separate ballot for each subordinate body represented. Write-in votes shall not be valid for any purpose.

Section 36. A majority of the votes cast for any office shall be required to elect. If fewer than the number of candidates to be elected to any office receive a majority, then a new ballot shall be prepared and a run-off election shall be held. If one person is to be elected to the office, the new ballot shall contain only the names of the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes. If more than one person is to be elected to the office, the new ballot shall be prepared as follows: (1) if any candidate receives a majority, that candidate shall be declared elected, and the ballot shall contain only the names of the number of candidates equal to twice the number remaining to be elected who received the greatest number of votes but did not attain a majority; (2) if no candidate receives a majority, the ballot shall contain only the names of the number of candidates equal to twice the number to be elected who received the greatest number of votes.

Section 37. Any delegate desiring to protest the conduct of the election shall lodge a protest immediately with the Committee on Elections.

Section 38. The Committee on Elections shall report to the convention the results of the balloting, together with its recommendations on any protests which have been lodged regarding the conduct of the election.

Section 39. The convention shall review any protest regarding the conduct of the election which is not resolved by the Committee on Elections to the satisfaction of the protestant and all affected candidates. Where the convention finds violations which may have affected the outcome of the election, it shall have the power to order a re-vote, a recount of the ballots, or such other action to remedy the election violations as it deems appropriate.

Section 40. The election of International officers shall, in all matters not specifically provided for in this Article, be governed by the provisions of Appendix D of this Constitution.

Section 41. The International Executive Board may employ an independent agency which shall, subject to approval by the convention, assist in and/or supervise the conduct of the election. Any candidate whose name is to appear on the ballot shall have the right to have present an official observer of the candidate’s own choosing in all places where ballots bearing such candidate’s name are to be cast or counted.

Section 42. All officers elected at the convention shall take office as the last order of business prior to final adjournment or at three o’clock on the afternoon of the fifth day of the convention, whichever is earlier. Upon assuming office, each new officer shall subscribe to the Obligation of an Officer contained in Appendix B of this Constitution.

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