Constitution of the Coalition of Student Employee Unions (CSEU)
Adopted August 2, 2014, at Concordia University in Montréal, Québec
Amended August 16, 2016 at UCLA in Los Angeles, California
Amended June 6-7, 2020 at the 2020 Constitutional Convention (virtual)
We, the Coalition of Student Employee Unions (CSEU), believe in democratic decision-making; in collective action for the common good; in local autonomy and the preservation of existing democratic unions; and in the right of all workers to unionize and to collectively bargain on behalf of their members.
We believe that enrollment at an educational institution has no bearing on the universal human right to form a union, that one’s status as a student in no way detracts from the paid work that one does.
In furtherance of these beliefs, we hereby form this Coalition, whose purpose is to facilitate communication and collective action between its members and to advance the aims of the student employee unionization movement.
CSEU encourages membership and participation of all student workers. Translations in Spanish French and English must be provided in all official meetings and on all official documents of CSEU. Should union-members or their delegates request language translation or an interpreter, CSEU will make every effort to fulfill these requests.
- Any local union, or any unit of a local union, the majority of whose members is comprised of student employees of a university, whether or not it is recognized by the employer, is eligible to become a member union of the CSEU. If student workers are a minority in a union, and no separate union exists for those workers, then the group of student employees is eligible to join. If a student employee of a university is not eligible for membership in a CSEU Member Union, the student employee may affiliate with the CSEU as a Member-at-large.
- To become a Member Union of the CSEU:
- A democratic body (eg. a general assembly) of the prospective Member Union shall adopt a decision in favour of membership.
- The prospective Member Union shall contact the Coordinating Committee requesting membership. Members-at-large must be a student worker at their post-secondary institution at the time of their application. In cases where a member-at-large has elected to contribute financially, the member shall pay the applicable annual financial contribution as stipulated in the Appendix. All members-at-large must renew their membership on an annual basis. If a membership is denied, the Coordinating Committee will provide the prospective member a written explanation for their ineligibility.
- The Coordinating Committee shall confirm an applicant union’s membership status at the meeting following its application. In cases where members have elected to contribute financially, the CC will verify the applicant union’s financial contribution. Upon confirmation, the membership status of the union shall be announced through the main CSEU listserv and other communications channels.
- The Coordinating Committee shall not deny any student worker union a CSEU membership, unless they fail to meet the criteria set forth in Article II.1, II.2.1 or II.2.2.
- Member Unions are highly encouraged to commit to their annual financial contribution for the upcoming year two months prior to the Annual Congress.
- Any organization that does not meet the membership criteria, including unions that represent other categories of academic workers, may apply for an observer status with the CSEU. The observer status shall not incur any financial contribution.
- The lack of CSEU membership shall not prevent any student worker union and/or student workers from participating in CSEU conferences as well as CSEU’s communication networks.
- To become a member-at-large of the CGEU, the prospective member-at-large shall contact the Coordinating Committee requesting membership. Members-at-large must be a graduate or undergraduate student worker at their post-secondary institution at the time of their application. In cases where a member-at-large has elected to contribute financially, the member shall pay the applicable annual financial contribution as stipulated in the Appendix. All members-at-large must renew their membership on an annual basis. If a membership is denied, the Coordinating Committee will provide the prospective member a written explanation for their ineligibility.
- In order to withdraw from the CSEU, a decision to leave must be adopted by a democratic body of the Member Union, and communicated to the Coordinating Committee. The Coordinating Committee will then announce the departure at the next meeting.
III. Coordinating Committee
- The Coordinating Committee shall be the regular decision-making body of CSEU between the Annual Congresses, subject to the authority of the Membership Council. The Coordinating Committee is responsible for necessary administrative tasks of CSEU and implementing decisions of the Annual Congress and the Membership Council. They include but are not limited to; maintenance of external communications (the website and social media); internal communications; assistance with coordinated multi-union campaigns (if applicable); assistance with organizing of the Annual Congress; and organizing, and providing a report at, Membership Council meetings.
- The Coordinating Committee shall ensure all policies and practices of the CSEU meet the requirements of the Canada Not-For-Profit Corporations Act S.C. 2009, c. 23 (“the Act”) (including the Regulations made pursuant to the Act, and any statute or regulations that may be substituted, as amended from time to time), including meeting reporting obligations under the Act. Note that where the Act requires the filing of “by-laws”, this Constitution is understood to be the bylaws. The “board of directors” in the Act is the Coordinating Committee.
- The Annual Congress shall elect nine (9) members of the Coordinating Committee, with the term of one year starting immediately, running until the final day of the Conference in the following year. To aid the transition, the outgoing Coordinating Committee shall be required to attend Coordinating Committee meetings until September 1 and serve in a non-voting capacity. At least 2 members shall be based in a Canadian union and 2 members in a U.S. union, and no more than 2 members from the same local union or more than two members at large shall be elected. At least one member shall be fluent in French and at least one member shall be fluent in Spanish. Anyone who is a graduate or undergraduate union member, or has been one within the past half year, and is enrolled or on a leave of absence at a post-secondary institution at the time of their election, is eligible to be elected to the committee, but if one is not present at the Annual Congress, in order to run for a position on the Committee, they must submit their candidacy and candidacy statement in advance to the conference organizers. If more than 9 candidates run for a position on the committee, committee members shall be elected by Single Transferable Vote (STV). The minimum number of Coordinating Committee Members shall be 5.
- The outgoing and incoming Coordinating Committees shall have a transition meeting at the Annual Congress, including on financial practices and ethical employment standards.
- The Coordinating Committee shall hold a meeting at least once a month, to be conducted over the phone or other communication facilities as permit all persons participating in the meeting to communicate with each other simultaneously and instantaneously. The Coordinating Committee can also make decisions in a vote over email on time-sensitive issues, between the monthly meetings, provided that the majority of the entire membership of the committee vote in favor.
- Minutes of all monthly meetings, as well as the list of all decisions taken over email by the Coordinating Committee, must be released to the Membership Council and the Annual Congress.
- The Coordinating Committee may hire employees and contractors consistent with CSEU’s Financial Practices. The Coordinating Committee shall be responsible for establishing staff policies and procedures, and for hiring, supervising, and discharging staff if necessary. Any CSEU employee shall be limited to five (5) years of continuous employment. There shall be a widely-distributed open call for all paid positions.
- Members of the Coordinating Committee shall serve without remuneration. No member of the Coordinating Committee shall directly or indirectly receive any profit from his or her position.
- In case a vacancy arises on the Coordinating Committee during its term, a new Coordinating Committee member shall be elected by Membership Council. The eligibility criteria to fill the position is the same as the eligibility defined for Coordinating Committee members above (in III.3)
- No one shall be eligible to serve on the Coordinating Committee for more than two (2) one-year terms cumulatively. Coordinating Committee members who fill a vacancy after two months have elapsed since the election shall not have their partial term counted toward this limit.
IV. Membership Council
- Membership Council is the highest decision-making body of CSEU between the Annual Congress. The Membership Council shall meet at least twice annually outside of the Annual Congress, both of which meetings may be online. The Coordinating Committee is responsible for organizing these meetings.
- All Member Unions in good standing are entitled to designate up to two (2) delegates to the Membership Council. Members-at-large, as a single group, are entitled to designate up to two (2) delegates to the Membership Council. The Membership Council consists of all the delegates nominated by the member unions and the members-at-large. The term for the Membership Council delegates shall run from September 1st to August 31st of the following year. Member Unions must send the names and contact information of their delegates to the Coordinating Committee by August 31st each year. If a vacancy occurs during the term, a Member Union can designate another delegate.
- The Membership Council is empowered to take any decision for CSEU, including overruling any decision of the Coordinating Committee, through e-mail between the Annual Congress. Any delegate on the Membership Council may propose a motion on the listserv and open it for discussion and voting, and a motion shall pass by majority vote. The voting period must last for at least seven days, and the quorum shall be the majority of all delegates. In case a vote does not meet quorum after seven days, it must remain open until the quorum is met.
- The Annual Congress shall elect three (3) Ombudspersons, with the term and term limit of one year starting immediately, running from the final day of the Congress to the following year. Anyone who is a graduate or undergraduate student worker, or has been one within the past half year, and is enrolled or on a leave of absence at a post-secondary institution at the time of their election is eligible to be elected as an Ombudsperson. If one is not present at the Annual Congress, they must submit their candidacy in advance to the Coordinating Committee. If more than 3 candidates run for the position of Ombudsperson, the Ombudspersons shall be elected by Single Transferable Vote (STV). Ombudspersons cannot occupy any other elected roles during their time as an Ombudsperson.The Ombudspersons shall represent all members of the Coordinating Committee, Membership Council, and other standing CSEU committee members and investigate complaints raised by these individuals and take the appropriate actions to resolve the associated issues. These issues may include, but are not limited to, harassment and discrimination based on ability, immigration status, caste/ethnicity, race, gender presentation, sex, sexual orientation, age, class, religion, language, and origin. Harassment may include conduct and/or behaviours which create an intimidating, demeaning or hostile environment whether or not it is based on these grounds. In the event that multiple individuals submit complaints to the Ombudspersons about the same offender(s), the Ombudspersons must inform the Membership Council, maintaining anonymity of the individuals who submitted the complaints. The person accused will have a right to written rebuttal before the Membership Council before they take any action. In situations of malfeasance, anti-union or otherwise harmful conduct, the Membership Council is permitted to sanction and/or expel the offender(s) from the body, by a decision of the two-thirds of the Membership Council.
- The Coordinating Committee shall prepare an annual budget, for the period from September 1st to August 31st of the following year, and present it to the Annual Congress for review, amendment and approval by the Congress.
- The Coordinating Committee shall be responsible for overseeing all financial matters of CSEU, and be responsible for day-to-day financial operations and all applicable legal compliance measures for the organization.
- Any expenditure, that is not stipulated in the budget, must be approved by a majority vote on the Membership Council.
- Any borrowing must be approved by two-thirds vote on the Membership Council.
- Consistent with the principles adopted by the Coalition of Student Employee Unions (CSEU) in the “Resolution On Taking An Active Anti-racist Stand In Our Unions And Support The Movement For Black Lives” on August 16. 2016, the CSEU is strongly committed to redressing cumulative effects of past discrimination and the Membership Council along with the Coordinating Committee shall take positive and aggressive measures to recruit, hire, retain, and fairly compensate indigenous and minority workers. The CSEU is committed to these anti-racist hiring practices. Furthermore, we affirm that when the effects of employment practices, regardless of their intent, discriminate against any group of people on the basis of race, specific positive and aggressive measures must be taken to redress the effects of past discrimination, to eliminate present and future discrimination, and to ensure equal opportunity in the areas of recruitment, hiring, upgrading, demotion, layoff or termination, and rate of compensation. Therefore, the CSEU recognizes the need for positive and aggressive employment equity and affirmative action and is committed to implementing practices that support a racially diverse workforce.
- The CSEU Coordinating Committee will create a transparent statement about its “Diversity and Equity Practices” which they will submit for approval to the Membership Council prior to hiring.
- The CSEU may generate revenue by providing direct value in goods and services to member unions and the wider student labor movement. This can be accomplished through the charging of registration fees for public events (excluding the business meeting or other decision making meetings of the organization); selling materials such as training materials, tshirts, pins, and/or posters; or by other legitimate funding strategies approved by the membership council.
- The CSEU is prohibited from generating revenue from the sale of member information and/or access and/or other activities which hinder the student labor movement.
- The Financial Practices of the CSEU shall be codified as a stand alone document available on the CSEU website; and changes or alterations to the CSEU Financial Practices require two-thirds (2/3’s) approval of the Membership Council.
VI. Annual Congress
- CSEU shall meet, at minimum, once a year at an Annual Congress.
- The Annual Congress shall take place in July or August of each year.
- The Annual Congress shall be the highest decision-making body of CSEU.
- Each Member Union may send up to two voting delegates, and any number of non-voting delegates, to the Annual Congress. Members of non-member unions shall also be eligible to attend Annual Congress as non-voting delegates. Only members in good standing of the respective Member Union, as per the union’s own established criteria, are eligible to act as voting delegates.
- The Hosting Union shall be responsible for chairing the Annual Congress in the manner that it deems appropriate, subject to the following terms:
- The Hosting Union shall adopt an established procedural code for any meetings where formal decisions are made.
- A two-thirds majority vote of eligible Member Unions may overrule any decisions of the Hosting Union pertaining to the manner in which the Annual Congress is chaired.
- Coordinating Committee members who are not serving as delegates (elected by their local) can bring forth and second motions.
- Any surplus donations made to the CSEU Annual Congress are retained by the CSEU and not the Hosting Union.
VII. Student Workers’ Day
- The CSEU establishes March 4th as the Student Workers’ Day, and the week leading up to March 4th the Student Worker Action Week.
- The CSEU encourages all member unions to organize events and actions to promote the cause of the student union movement in North America on the Student Worker Action Week, and particularly on the Student Workers’ Day.
- The Coordinating Committee shall encourage member and non-member unions to organize actions on the Student Workers’ Day and facilitate coordination. The Coordinating Committee shall seek broad participation in organizing the Student Workers Day.
VIII. Constitutional Changes
- Notice for meetings, where constitutional amendments will be proposed, must be given at least 60 days prior to said meeting.
- Quorum for meetings where constitutional amendments will be proposed is at least 40 percent of member unions
- A vote of ⅔ (two-third) majority is required for approval.
- Should quorum not be met at said meeting, a vote of ⅔ (two-third) majority is required to advance the amendment to the next annual meeting where a final approval vote of ⅔ (two-third) majority is required to pass.
All Member Unions and individual members-at-large are encouraged to contribute financially to the CSEU. The suggested level of annual contribution is based on the size and stability of the union and is as follows:
$3,000 – Large and financially stable unions with 1000+ members
$1,000 Medium sized unions with 350-999 members
$ 250 – small unions with under 350 members or unrecognized unions
$ 5 – individual at-large members
The dollar amounts above are understood to be in CAD for all Member Unions. NB: If a Member Union or a member-at-large wishes to contribute an amount other than the suggested levels, either more or less, they are free to do so.Their financial contribution, no matter its dollar value, will be noted, and the Member Union or member-at-large will be registered as having contributed financially to the CSEU.