Constitution of the Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions (CGEU)
Adopted August 2, 2014, at Concordia University in Montréal, Québec
Amended August 16, 2016 at UCLA in Los Angeles, California
We, the Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions (CGEU), 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 graduate 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 graduate employee unionization movement.
- 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 CGEU. If graduate student workers are a minority in a union, and no separate union exists for those workers, than the group of graduate student employees is eligible to join.
- To become a Member Union of the CGEU:
- 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 Hosting Union requesting membership.
- The Hosting Union shall grant interim status as a Member Union to any requesting union which meets the necessary criteria.
- The Hosting Union shall then announce the Member Union’s membership over the main CGEU listserv, and at the next CGEU Meeting.
- The membership of interim Members shall be put to a vote for ratification at the subsequent Annual Congress.
- In order to withdraw from the CGEU, a decision to leave must be adopted by a democratic body of the Member Union, and communicated to the Hosting Union. The Hosting Union will then announce the departure at the next meeting.
III. Hosting Union
- The Member Union selected to host the subsequent Annual Congress shall hold the status of Hosting Union until the end of the Annual Congress that it hosts.
- Each Annual Congress shall select the Hosting Union of the subsequent Annual Congress.
- As soon as possible following the end of each Annual Congress, the outgoing Hosting Union will transfer to the incoming Hosting Union the following:
- Hosting of the website and listserv
- Any information pertaining thereto, including but not limited to account information of any and all online accounts maintained by CGEU
- A list of members and contacts
- Between Annual Congresses, the Hosting Union shall be responsible for:
- Maintaining communications with CGEU members
- Maintaining CGEU’s official internet presence (website, listserv, etc.).
- Preparing the subsequent Annual Congress.
- The Hosting Union may elect to collaborate with any other Member Unions in meeting the conditions of article 4.
- No dues shall be levied on any Member by the CGEU; however, the Hosting Union of each Annual Congress may establish a registration fee for that meeting.
- The Hosting Union is solely responsible for the management of funds required for their respective Annual Congress, in addition to any expenses incurred by the hosting of internet services (eg. website).
V. Meetings and Decision-Making
- CGEU 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 CGEU.
- Each Member Union may send up to two voting delegates, and any number of non-voting delegates, to the Annual Congress. 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 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.
- In special circumstances, between Annual Congresses, decisions may be made by email with support from two-thirds of eligible Member Unions. Such decisions shall have the same effect as those made at the Annual Congress.
- Member Unions retain complete autonomy from CGEU; while individual motions may call on Members to supply funds for or otherwise participate in specific collective actions, such motions are not binding.
VI. Graduate Workers’ Day
- The CGEU establishes March 4th as the Graduate Workers’ Day, and the week leading up to March 4th the Graduate Worker Action Week.
- The CGEU encourages all member unions to organize events and actions to promote the cause of the graduate union movement in North America on the Graduate Worker Action Week, and particularly on the Graduate Workers’ Day.
- The CGEU Annual Meeting shall elect at least five volunteers to coordinate the actions of the Graduate Workers’ Day and the Action Week in the following year. The composition of volunteers should reflect geographic and affiliational diversity of the CGEU. The coordinating committee’s task shall be to encourage member unions to organize the actions, to facilitate their coordination, and to promote the actions to the media and the broader public.
Appendix 1 – Founding Members
Any union, or any unit eligible for membership, that ratifies the CGEU Constitution, according to the procedure set forth in Article II.2.A, by October 31, 2014, shall become a founding member of the CGEU.
- [List of founding members]