GSU Bylaws

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO GRADUATE STUDENTS UNITED BYLAWS AND CONSTITUTION

Table of Contents:

ARTICLE I: NAME AND MISSION STATEMENT

The name of this organization shall be Graduate Students United at the University of Chicago (GSU),* affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), and American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

GSU is a democratic labor union of graduate employees and graduate students at the University of Chicago. The primary purpose of GSU is to advocate through negotiations for the empowerment of graduate employees at the University of Chicago and to utilize collective action to achieve working and living conditions that align with the interests of all graduate students. Our negotiations and advocacy shall relate to various practices and policies including, but not limited to: wages, hiring, childcare, healthcare and safety, grievances and arbitration, dues, class size, hours of work and workload, evaluations, fee waivers, affirmative action, anti-harassment training and enforcement, discipline and codes of conduct, privacy, and protections for international and undocumented employees. We are also committed to actions and expressions of solidarity with other organizations that promote social and economic justice.

*GSU will receive a local number upon being chartered (GSU Local #)

ARTICLE II: UNION GOVERNANCE AND DECISION MAKING

Section A: Membership

  1. Regular Membership: Any graduate or undergraduate student at the University of Chicago who will be in the bargaining unit at any time during a given academic year shall be eligible for regular membership in GSU during that academic year. Any regular member in good standing shall have a full voice and vote in all procedural and substantive decisions decided by the membership, and can serve in any elected or appointed position within the union.
  2. Associate Membership: Any graduate student at the University of Chicago who is not eligible to be a regular member shall be eligible for associate membership in GSU. Any associate member in good standing shall have a full voice and vote in all procedural decisions made by the membership, and shall be eligible to serve in all elected positions. They shall also have a full voice and vote in all substantive decisions, except as otherwise specified or allowed for by the bylaws.
  3. Outside of legal contract, any graduate or undergraduate student of the University of Chicago may be a member of GSU.
  4. Throughout these Bylaws and Constitution, “member” refers to any Regular or Associate Member.

Section B: Departmental Organizers

  1. There shall be no limit on the number of Departmental Organizers (DOs) within a department, committee, cluster, or another non-departmental work site.
  2. Each department, committee, cluster, or non-departmental work site shall have the option to elect their DOs.
  3. Six Divisional Representatives: Humanities (1), Social Sciences (1), Physical Sciences (1), Biological Sciences (1), Professional Schools (1), Master’s and Undergraduate students (1). Each of these representatives shall serve on the Steering Committee (SC) for a term of one (1) year. These representatives shall be elected from amongst their respective division annually as outlined in Article III.
  4. Duties of DOs:
  5. Serve as a liaison between their department, committee, cluster, or non-department work site and the union as a whole and its elected leadership. If a member makes a reasonable request to their DO to communicate a suggestion or concern to the SC, the DO shall share the suggestion or concern with the SC.
  6. Aim to organize at least one Quarterly Departmental Meeting for members in their department announced at the beginning of each quarter. The Quarterly Departmental Meeting shall be open for department members to discuss workplace concerns and updates, and for the DO(s) to share any updates from the SC and other standing committees and discuss other pertinent union business.
  7. Encourage participation in GSU meetings and events among members in the department.
  8. Wherever and whenever possible, maintain and update a union bulletin board in the department’s graduate student lounge, or a general union calendar.
  9. Accompany a member in their department to attend disciplinary meetings and hearings, if requested by that member.

Section C: Standing Committees

  1. The following are the standing committees of GSU:
  2. The Steering Committee
  3. The Communications Committee
  4. The Bargaining and Contract Committee
  5. The Outreach and Activities Committee
  6. The Solidarity Committee
  7. The Finances Committee
  8. The Grievances Committee
  9. The Internal Affairs Committee
  10. The Student Parents Committee
  11. The International Students Committee
  12. The Students of Color Committee
  13. The Women and Gender/Sexual Minorities Committee
  14. The Students With Disabilities Committee
  15. The Poor and Working-Class Students Committee

2. All standing committees are open to all members in good standing. The SC meetings shall be open attendance to all members in good standing, but only the elected members of the committee shall have a vote.

  1. All committees of GSU, standing and ad-hoc, shall take minutes at all meetings. All GSU minutes shall be filed and maintained by the Internal Affairs Committee, and shall be made available to all members through a members-only section of the GSU website.
  2. All committees of GSU, standing and ad-hoc, with the exception of the SC and the Bargaining and Contract Committee (for which decision-making procedures are further specified), shall aim to make procedural decisions by consensus whenever possible. If consensus cannot be reached, decisions shall be made by a simple majority vote of those present. When necessary, committee chairs shall make procedural decisions in between committee meetings. All procedural decisions made by committees or chairs are subject to approval or revision by the SC. Committees or chairs shall provide the SC at least 48 hours to review decisions. If no objections are communicated to the committee or chair by the SC within 48 hours, the decision shall stand.

3. The Steering Committee

  1. Composition: The Steering Committee shall be composed of the following positions annually elected as described in Article III: 1) Two Co-Presidents; 2) Vice President; 3) Internal Affairs Officer; 4) Treasurer; 5) Communications Officer; 6) Grievances Officer; 7) International Students Officer; 8) Chair of the Student Parents Committee; 9) Chair of the People of Color Committee; 10) Chair of the Women and Gender/Sexual Minorities Committee; 11) Chair of the Students with Disabilities Committee; 12) Chair of the Poor and Working-Class Students Committee; 13) Six Divisional Representatives from the Departmental Organizers Committee.
  1. Duties: The SC shall meet at least bi-monthly, except during the summer quarter, to conduct and monitor the on-going business of GSU. Attendance is required of all members of the SC, unless absence is necessary due to travel, sickness, or other reasonable cause. Each member of the SC shall have one (1) vote. Quorum for SC meetings is nine (9) members. The SC shall monitor and coordinate the activities of the various standing committees.

4. The Communications Committee

  1. Composition: The Communications Committee shall be chaired by the Communications Officer, who cannot delegate this responsibility. Any member in good standing may serve on the Communications Committee.
  2. Duties: The Communications Committee shall be responsible for managing communications to the membership, including the weekly newsletter and referenda and managing the GSU website and social media outlets, and shall meet regularly to fulfill these duties.

5. The Bargaining and Contract Committee

  1. Composition: The Bargaining and Contract Committee (BCC) shall be chaired by one of the Co-Presidents, who cannot delegate this responsibility. The structure of the BCC, who may run for election, and quorum for the BCC will be determined at a General Members’ Meeting (GMM) or an Irregular GMM as specified in II.F.7. There shall then be a special election (as outlined in III.H) to elect the members of the BCC. When GSU is not bargaining a contract, any member in good standing may serve on the BCC.
  2. Duties: The BCC shall be responsible for contract negotiations with the university administration, in pursuit of a collective bargaining agreement that is maximally beneficial and empowering to the members of GSU; no other body or member of GSU shall communicate or negotiate with the administration. The BCC shall ensure that the interests and priorities of the entire membership are represented in contract negotiations and that regular reports on the progress of negotiations are clearly and adequately communicated to the membership, with the aid of an ad-hoc Bargaining Support Team and the Communications Committee. Prior to the initiation of contract negotiations, the BCC shall hold at least two (2) open meetings to discuss and develop a bargaining plan with the membership, and shall also carry out a survey of the entire membership for the same purpose. Following this process, the BCC shall call an open meeting, announced with a minimum of five days notice to the entire membership. Alternatively, the BCC may announce that this meeting will take place as part of the GMM with prior approval of the SC, in accordance with II.F, and with a minimum of five days notice to the entire membership. The bargaining plan must be approved via consensus or super-majority vote by the membership at the meeting prior to the initiation of contract negotiations, with a quorum of 25 members. All communications between the BCC and the administration shall be made available to the membership, including minutes taken at every meeting between the BCC and the administration, unless otherwise decided at one of the open meetings described above. The BCC shall meet regularly to fulfill these duties. When GSU is not bargaining a contract, the BCC shall be responsible for research and mobilization in preparation for bargaining, and for staying abreast of relevant changes in labor legislation and other local and national factors that impact GSU’s ability and effectiveness in bargaining.
  3. Term of Elected Bargaining and Contract Committee: The elected BCC shall serve from the time of the announcement of the election results until the time of the ratification of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), at which point the committee becomes a regular standing committee open to all members of GSU. A ⅔ majority vote at a GMM may call for re-election of the BCC according to III.H.
  4. Individuals, members and non-GSU members, may be invited to serve as Bargaining Committee Advisors (BCAs) to the BCC on a temporary basis. Upon being elected, the BCC is the sole body authorized to invite outside counsel (i.e. non-GSU members, AFT staff, IFT staff, AAUP staff, private legal counsel, etc.) to serve as BCAs to the BCC. Each BCA must be approved as per the BCC decision-making process. The number of BCAs must not exceed one third (⅓) of the total number of BCC members participating in the negotiations. Each BCA must agree to abide by the general rules of the BCC. The BCC may modify the standing of each BCA at any time.
  5. Unless there is consensus at a quorate meeting of the BCC, any decision shall require an affirmative vote of the majority of the entire BCC.

6. The Outreach and Activities Committee

  1. Composition: The Outreach and Activities Committee shall be chaired by the Vice President, who cannot delegate this responsibility. Any member in good standing may serve on the Outreach and Activities Committee.
  2. Duties: The Outreach and Activities Committee shall be responsible for planning and carrying out regular social activities to build solidarity within the union membership; promoting membership involvement; new member orientation; organizing regular trainings for DOs, in coordination with other committees as appropriate; and meeting regularly to fulfill these duties.

7. The Solidarity Committee

  1. Composition: The Solidarity Committee shall be chaired by one of the Co-Presidents, who cannot delegate this responsibility. Any member in good standing may serve on the Solidarity Committee.
  2. Duties: The Solidarity Committee shall be responsible for building connections with community groups, student groups, organized labor, and organising efforts more broadly on campus, across the city, nationally, and internationally; organizing activities and statements that strengthen such connections; and meeting regularly to fulfill these duties.

8. The Finances Committee

  1. Composition: The Finances Committee shall be chaired by the Treasurer, who cannot delegate this responsibility. Any member in good standing may serve on the Finances Committee.
  2. Duties: The Finances Committee shall be responsible for maintaining the finances of GSU, including monitoring and maintaining bank accounts, ensuring the fiscal stability of the union, writing checks, and preparing annual budgets. The Finances Committee shall consult the Membership, the DOs, and the SC in preparing the budget and shall submit proposed budgets to the SC by the end of Winter Quarter. Incorporating any recommendations of the SC as it deems fit, the Finances Committee shall present the budget for approval to the first GMM in Spring (following steps outlined in III.F.4), where it may be adopted with or without any modifications as voted on by the membership. If the budget fails to pass, the Finances Committee will be responsible for preparing a fresh budget for a vote at the last GMM in Spring.
  3. The Finances Committee shall hear all requests for additional appropriations beyond those set out in the annual budget and make recommendations to the General Membership as to whether these requests should be approved. Emergency requests for financial allocations may be made from the floor of the GMM and approved by a majority vote of those present at the meeting, or by consensus or vote of a SC meeting. The Finances Committee or Treasurer may approve any expense not in excess of $50. The Finances Committee shall help facilitate the annual audit of GSU finances in coordination with the Trustees; and shall meet regularly in order to fulfill these duties.

9. The Grievances Committee

  1. Composition: The Grievances Committee shall be chaired by the Grievances Officer, who cannot delegate this responsibility. The Labor Relations Officers must sit on the Grievances Committee, and cannot delegate this responsibility. Any member in good standing may serve on the Grievances Committee.
  2. Duties: The Grievances Committee shall uphold a grievance procedure and inform members of the proper channels for submitting grievances; receive grievances and initiate such a procedure; communicate any progress regarding grievances to the members affected; ensure that the relevant information regarding state and national labor law and the CBA is available to the membership; organize trainings and information sessions on the CBA and the grievance procedure broadly construed, in coordination with the Outreach and Activities Committee; and meet regularly to fulfill these duties.

10. The Internal Affairs Committee

  1. Composition: The Internal Affairs Committee shall be chaired by the Internal Affairs Officer, who cannot delegate this responsibility. Any member in good standing may serve on the Internal Affairs Committee.
  2. Duties: The Internal Affairs Committee shall record or cause to be recorded the minutes of the meetings of the SC; maintain organized minutes, records, contracts, maintain up-to-date membership lists, and reports in electronic and paper format; ensure that all relevant information is distributed to the membership in collaboration with the Communications Committee; maintain the GSU office space and any GSU Staff; and meet regularly in order to fulfill these duties.

11. The Student Parents Committee

  1. Composition: The Student Parents Committee shall be chaired by the elected committee chair, who must be of the identity represented by the committee, and who cannot delegate this responsibility. Any member in good standing may serve on the Student Parents Committee.
  2. Duties: The Student Parents Committee shall advocate for the needs and concerns of student parents and other students with dependents within the union and at the university more broadly, and shall meet regularly in order to fulfill these duties.

12. The International Students Committee

  1. Composition: The International Students Committee shall be chaired by the elected committee chair, who must be of the identity represented by the committee, and who cannot delegate this responsibility. Any member in good standing may serve on the International Students Committee.
  2. Duties: The International Students Committee shall advocate for the needs and concerns of international students within the union and at the university more broadly, and shall meet regularly in order to fulfill these duties.

13. The Students of Color Committee

  1. Composition: The Students of Color Committee shall be chaired by the elected committee chair, who must be of the identity represented by the committee, and who cannot delegate this responsibility. Any member in good standing may serve on the Students of Color Committee.
  2. Duties: The Students of Color Committee shall advocate for the needs and concerns of students of color within the union and at the university more broadly, and shall meet regularly in order to fulfill these duties.

14. The Women and Gender/Sexual Minorities Committee

  1. Composition: The Women and Gender/Sexual Minorities Committee shall be chaired by the elected committee chair, who must be of the identity represented by the committee, and who cannot delegate this responsibility. Any member in good standing may serve on the Women and Gender/Sexual Minorities Committee.
  2. Duties: The Women and Gender/Sexual Minorities Committee shall advocate for the needs and concerns of women and LGBTQ students within the union and at the university more broadly, and shall meet regularly in order to fulfill these duties.

15. The Committee for Students with Disabilities

  1. Composition: The Committee for Students with Disabilities shall be chaired by the elected committee chair, who must be of the identity represented by the committee, and who cannot delegate this responsibility. Any member in good standing may serve on the Committee for Students with Disabilities.
  2. Duties: The Committee for Students with Disabilities shall advocate for the needs and concerns of students with disabilities within the union and at the university more broadly, and shall meet regularly in order to fulfill these duties.

16. The Poor and Working-class Students Committee

  1. Composition: The Poor and Working-class Students Committee shall be chaired by the elected committee chair, who must be of the identity represented by the committee, and who cannot delegate this responsibility. Any member in good standing may serve on the Poor and Working-class Students Committee.
  2. Duties: The Poor and Working-class Students Committee shall advocate for the needs and concerns of poor and working-class students within the union and at the university more broadly, and shall meet regularly in order to fulfill these duties.

17. Creation and Dissolution of Standing Committees

  1. The SC may recommend the creation or dissolution of standing committees to the membership at a GMM. The membership shall then vote on the motion, which shall be decided by a simple majority. However, certain standing committees may only be dissolved through amendments to the Bylaws and Constitution. These include the following: SC, Bargaining and Contract Committee, Grievances Committee, Finances Committee, Solidarity Committee, and each identity-based committee described in this Section.

Section D: Ad hoc Committees

  1. The SC shall be empowered to create and dissolve ad hoc committees as needed. Any ad hoc committee shall be open to all members.

Section E: Elected Leadership Positions

    1. Co-Presidents (2)
    2. One Co-President shall be responsible for Chairing the Solidarity Committee;
    3. One Co-President shall be responsible for Chairing the Bargaining and Contract Committee;
    4. During the election process, it shall be specified on the ballot which candidates are running for Co-President and Chair of the Solidarity Committee and which are running for Co-President and Chair of the Bargaining and Contract Committee;
    5. A Co-President shall also be responsible for attending the Grievance Committee;
    6. Liaise with the administration along with Labor Relations Officers;
    7. Shall liaise with employer representatives when required and address university policy and procedures that negatively impact the membership;
    8. Shall prepare a written report of the SC to be circulated to membership at least one week prior to each GMM;
    9. Shall attend conventions of organizations that GSU affiliates with or has membership in, or appoint a designate to attend such conventions

2. Vice President

      • Shall be responsible for the orientation of new members, such as to ensure that new members have signed membership forms and have met with their DOs;
      • Shall work with DOs to distribute information and materials;
      • Shall be a signing officer (along with the Treasurer) of any checks issued by GSU;
      • Shall chair the Outreach and Activities Committee

3. Internal Affairs Officer

      • Shall record or cause to be recorded the minutes of the meetings of the SC;
      • Shall maintain up-to-date membership lists;
      • Shall maintain organized minutes, records, contracts, and reports in electronic and paper format;
      • Shall ensure that all members of the SC have access to all the aforementioned records at all times;
      • Shall ensure that all relevant information is distributed to the membership in collaboration with the Communications Officer;
      • Shall maintain the GSU office space and ensure suitable working conditions for any GSU Staff;
      • Shall chair the Internal Affairs Committee

4. Treasurer

      • Shall keep all financial records pertaining to GSU, including transactions and budgets;
      • Shall collect or cause to be collected the members’ dues and other sources of revenue of GSU;
      • Shall keep accounts;
      • Shall be a signing officer (along with the VP) of any checks issued by GSU;
      • Shall prepare a budget in coordination with the Finances Committee to be voted on at a Spring GMM;
      • Shall work with an auditor to complete audited financial statement(s), to be reviewed by the Trustees;
      • Shall chair the Finances Committee

5. Communications Officer

      • Shall be responsible for creating and soliciting any content to be circulated via GSU’s newsletter, to be distributed regularly to the membership;
      • Shall maintain an up-to-date and functional website that reflects the current activities of GSU;
      • Shall be responsible for the visibility of GSU on social media;
      • Shall be the first contact for general member and external inquiries and direct those inquiries to appropriate officers/committees;
      • Shall ensure that media requests are handled by a diversity of members or Standing Committees as appropriate;
      • Shall be responsible for maintaining and securing administrative access to GSU’s various online communications platforms;
      • Shall chair the Communications Committee

6. Grievances Officer

      • Shall uphold a grievance procedure and inform members of the proper channels for submitting grievances;
      • Shall receive grievances and initiate such a procedure;
      • Shall communicate any progress regarding grievances to the members affected;
      • Shall ensure that the relevant information regarding state and national labor law and the Collective Bargaining Agreement is available to the membership;
      • Shall liaise between the Grievances Committee and the administration, or delegate this role to a Labor Relations Officer
      • Shall chair and attend the Grievance Committee;

7. Labor Relations Officers (2)

      • One Labor Relations Officer shall serve as a nonvoting chair of the hearing board for internal dispute resolutions;
      • One Labor Relations Officer shall meet with representatives of the administration when necessary;
      • One Labor Relations Officer shall accompany any member to disciplinary meetings and hearings when requested by the member

8. Chair of International Students Committee

      • Shall chair and attend the International Students Committee, and shall advocate for the needs and concerns of international students within the union and at the university more broadly

9. Chair of Student Parents Committee

      • Shall chair and attend the Student Parents Committee, and shall advocate for the needs and concerns of student parents and other students with dependents within the union and at the university more broadly

10. Chair of People of Color Committee

      • Shall chair and attend the Students of Color Committee, and shall advocate for the needs and concerns of students of color within the union and at the university more broadly

11. Chair of Women and Gender/Sexual Minorities Committee

      • Shall chair and attend the Women and Gender/Sexual Minorities Committee, and shall advocate for the needs and concerns of women and LGBTQ students within the union and at the university more broadly

12. Chair of the Disabilities Committee

      • Shall chair and attend the Committee for Students with Disabilities, and shall advocate for the needs and concerns of students with disabilities within the union and at the university more broadly

13. Chair of the Poor and Working Class Committee

      • Shall chair and attend the Poor and Working-Class Students Committee, and shall advocate for the needs and concerns of poor and working-class students within the union and at the university more broadly

14. Divisional Representatives (6)

      • 6 Divisional Representatives shall be elected for a period of 1 academic year.
      • These representatives shall sit on the SC and advocate for the concerns of the Biological Sciences Division (1), Humanities Division (1), Social Sciences Division (1), Masters & Undergraduate Students (1), Physical Sciences Division (1), and Professional Schools (1), respectively.
      • Shall be responsible for holding one (1) meeting per quarter for the purposes of making space for divisional DO communication and DO communication with the SC

15. Trustees (3)

      • Shall not attend meetings of the SC;
      • Shall examine and audit all books of GSU and make annual reports to the membership at the Spring GMM;
      • Shall execute all responsibilities described in Article III

Section F. General Members’ Meeting (GMM)

1. Structure of the GMM

The GMM shall comprise of all members in good standing of GSU. All members have the right to speak, propose a motion, and vote.

2. Powers of the GMM

All powers of GSU shall be vested in the membership. Except as otherwise specified herein, all decisions involving GSU shall be made at GMMs. All members of GSU shall have the right to attend any meeting at which GSU business is conducted, except as modified herein. All votes taken by GSU shall adhere to the principle that each member in good standing shall receive one vote, except as modified herein.

The authority of the GMM shall pertain to (but shall not be limited to) the following issues in particular:

a) Regulations concerning the internal organization of GSU;

b) Forming committees that support the work of GSU;

c) Taking necessary acts and arrangements deemed necessary to ensure the smooth operation of GSU;

d) Vote on the budget presented by the Treasurer and Finances Committee;

e) Considering and voting on solidarity statements, and political endorsements

3. Frequency of the GMM

The GMM shall convene twice per academic quarter, barring the Summer quarter. One shall be held before week 5 and one before week 10. The SC will set the date and time of the GMM, by consensus or by voting.

4. Notice of GMM

Members shall be given at least 14 days notice prior to a GMM. All documents necessary to ensure informed and active participation of members in the Meeting shall be circulated by the Communications Committee at least 7 days prior to the meeting. This includes but is not limited to: texts of motions to be voted on, committee reports, agendas, financial reports, budgets, proposals to set/alter the dues amount via referendum, and statements of candidates in elections. This does not preclude any member proposing a motion from the floor: all members shall have the right to do so, including but not limited to any motions to modify the agenda, and any such motions shall be voted upon and adhered to if seconded.

5. Quorum

Quorum for a GMM shall be 30 members.

6. Agenda

Agenda of the GMM must include:

a) Taking attendance of members in good standing present;

b) Adoption of the agenda;

c) Report of the SC;

d) Report of Standing Committees, as necessary;

7. Irregular GMM

Irregular GMMs, with the full decision-making powers specified herein for GMMs, may be called by the SC by consensus or vote, or by members at a GMM by consensus or vote, or by at least 50 members petitioning the SC. Notice of an Irregular GMM must be sent to the entire membership no fewer than 7 days prior to the meeting. All documents necessary to ensure informed and active participation of members in the Meeting shall be circulated by the Communications Committee at least 4 days prior to the meeting. For Irregular GMMs, II.F.5, II.F.6.a, and II.F.6.b shall apply.

Section G: Decision-making

      1. Types of Decisions: Substantive decisions are made through referenda of the whole membership. Referenda call for decisions on matters that immediately and concretely affect GSU members. Decisions involving whether or not to strike, the terms of negotiations, the ratification of a contract, and amendments to the Bylaws and Constitution are all examples of substantive decisions. Procedural decisions involve the maintenance and everyday functions of GSU. These decisions are to be made by the relevant committees and officers. Procedural decisions shall whenever possible be made by consensus. When consensus cannot be reached, procedural decisions shall be made by a simple majority vote of those present. Whenever possible, procedural decisions should be made in person at committee meetings. Members assembled at one of the two quarterly GMMs (as outlined in II.F) shall constitute the highest decision-making body for procedural decisions, and will have the authority to overrule any decisions of the SC or any officers of the union. The decision to create ad hoc committees, determine meeting times, set agendas, develop strategies, and propose referenda are all examples of procedural decisions.
      2. Procedure for Referenda: A referendum can be called in three ways:
        • 10% of the GSU membership can send an email, or sign a petition, requesting a referendum.
        • The SC can decide by consensus or by vote to have a referendum.
        • Members at a GMM can vote to have a referendum.

After a referendum is called, an email must be sent out to all GSU members, pursuant to II.C.4.b, advertising a future GMM (in accordance with steps outlined in II.F) at which the issues pertaining to the referendum, and different perspectives on it, will be discussed, and next steps decided upon. This meeting will further decide on the terms, language, and duration of the referendum, or decide on future GMM(s) where the discussion shall be continued, or which will be devoted to setting the terms and language of the referendum. The referendum must take place through an online platform, allowing members to participate remotely. The length of time allowed for voting must be a minimum of 24 hours. Referenda have a quorum of 15% of GSU membership. If this quorum is not satisfied, the results of the referendum are not binding. For a decision to be reached by referendum, 2/3 of voters must approve, not including abstentions and people not voting.

Some decisions must necessarily be made through referendum. These decisions are:

        • The decision to accept or decline any offer by the administration, especially a contract.
        • The decision to have a public membership list, or to share membership lists with non-members (excluding GSU affiliates).
        • The decision to affiliate or disaffiliate with or join any other organization.
        • The decision to amend GSU Bylaws and Constitution.
        • The decision to strike.
        • The decision to change the amount of dues.
        1. Day-to-Day Decision Making: The SC shall be responsible for day-to-day decision making processes of GSU. Whenever possible there will be an attempt to reach consensus. When not possible, the SC may vote by a simple majority at a quorate meeting to reach a decision. At any time that the SC is unable to have quorate meetings – for example, over a break between quarters, or during the summer quarter, or in between the fortnightly meetings – it will be the responsibility of the Co-Presidents to administer an electronic vote (whether over email or any other software) within the SC. In any such event all members of the SC will be provided with at least 48 hours notice prior to the vote opening, and the vote shall stay live for at least another 48 hours. In the event of a tied vote, either in a meeting or electronically, the decision will be reopened for discussion to attempt to break the tie. If the tie cannot be broken, the decision shall be made by the Co-Presidents. If the Co-Presidents are unable to agree, the Vice President shall have the deciding vote. If there is a time-sensitive matter that must be decided more quickly than the general electronic decision-making process outlined above, the Co-Presidents may decide the matter. If there is a difference of opinion between the two Co-Presidents at a time when a SC vote (whether electronically or in a meeting) cannot settle the matter, the Vice-President shall have the deciding vote.
        2. Status of Decisions Reached: Decisions made by referendum are fully binding for GSU. Decisions made at a GMM by consensus or by voting are fully binding for GSU as long as they do not contradict the Bylaws and Constitution or a referendum. Decisions made at a quorate SC meeting by consensus or by voting are fully binding for GSU as long as they do not contradict the Bylaws and Constitution or a decision made by a quorate GMM or a referendum. No other meeting of GSU members may override the Bylaws and Constitution or any decision reached by referenda, or at a GMM, or by the SC.

ARTICLE III. GSU ELECTIONS

Section A: Definitions of Regular and Irregular Elections

  1. A regular election shall henceforth be defined as a general election for all annually elected GSU positions, corresponding with the conclusion of tenure of said positions.
  2. An irregular election shall henceforth be defined as an election which occurs at a time other than the annual regular election. An irregular election shall be administered in the event of the Membership’s recall of an elected Officer or Chair, or in the event of an elected Officer or Chair’s inability to fulfill the duties, responsibilities, and/or tenure of their position due to unforeseen circumstances such as injury, illness, etc.

Section B: Eligibility for Voting and Candidacy in GSU Elections

  1. Any member of GSU in good standing shall be eligible to vote in GSU elections.
  2. Any member of GSU in good standing and who shall be in residence at the University of Chicago for the duration of the tenure of any given elected position (excepting the summer quarter, academic breaks, and other short vacations) shall be eligible for election to that position.
  3. The exception to this pertains to any Trustee, who shall not be a candidate in any elections (besides the election for Trustees) in order to maintain impartiality in the election process. If a sitting Trustee is running for re-election, the SC shall appoint a non-SC member, who is not running for election, to replace said Trustee to administer the election.

Section C: GSU Election Administration and Confidentiality

  1. GSU elections, both regular and irregular, shall be organized and administered by the Trustees, in cooperation with the Communications Committee. No other person shall be involved in the organization and administration of a GSU election, whether regular or irregular.
  2. Trustees and members of the Communications Committee are forbidden from disclosing any information about the administration of the election or the status of any electoral race to any other person prior to the announcement of the election results. After the election results are announced, the aforementioned persons shall continue to be forbidden from disclosing any information about the election procedures unless filing a complaint. Furthermore, none of the aforementioned persons may disclose the vote of any member or group of members.
  3. Neither GSU as a whole, nor any of its standing or ad hoc committees, nor any of its Officers or Chairs in an official capacity shall endorse or otherwise promote the candidacy of any candidate(s) during any regular or irregular GSU election.

Section D: GSU Election Ballots

  1. All ballots for all GSU elections shall be fair, free, and democratic. Guidelines for ensuring this include but are not limited to:
  2. All ballots, whether paper or online, shall be secret ballots.
  3. Candidates for each position shall be listed alphabetically on the ballot.
  4. No one shall vote for more than one candidate for any position on any ballot.
  5. No member voting in a GSU election shall be compelled for any reason to disclose which candidate(s) they have or have not voted for.
  6. No one shall vote more than once in the same election.
  7. No one shall vote on behalf of any other member, with or without that member’s consent, in any GSU election, whether regular or irregular.

Section E: Regular Election Schedule and Procedures

  1. The elections for the Officer and Chair positions described in Article II shall be conducted annually in a regular election. The regular election is conducted via an online secret ballot after the first GMM of the spring quarter. The regular election shall be administered by the Trustees.
  2. No fewer than 21 days prior to the final GMM of the spring quarter, all members who are eligible to vote shall receive via email a call for nominations listing all positions open for election as well as a description of the duties, responsibilities, and tenure of said positions. Included in or linked to by this call for nominations shall be a Declaration of Candidacy form created by the Trustees and the Communications Committee. Any member may nominate themselves as a candidate for any of said positions for which they are eligible by submitting the Declaration of Candidacy to the Trustees no more than 7 days after the Call for Nominations.
  3. The Declaration of Candidacy form shall contain a space for the candidate to write a statement to be included in the election announcement. The maximum length for such statements shall be decided by the Trustees, and shall be equal for all candidates.
  4. The call for nominations shall be closed after no more and no fewer than 7 days. Within 24 hours of closure, the Trustees shall verify the eligibility of each candidate for each position and issue an election announcement, making available to all eligible voters both the online ballot and instructions for correctly submitting the ballot. The election announcement shall contain a list of all open positions, each followed by a description of the duties, responsibilities, and tenure of that position, and an alphabetical list of all the candidates for that position, with their optional statements.
  5. The procedure for the administration of the online secret ballot shall be as follows:
  6. The online secret ballot shall be administered after the first GMM of spring quarter.
  7. The Trustees shall determine an online platform through which to administer the vote and endeavor to ensure that all eligible members are able to vote. The Trustees shall communicate with the Internal Affairs Committee prior to the vote to ensure that the membership lists are up-to-date.
  8. The election announcement (as delineated in III.E.3) shall further specify the duration of the online secret ballot vote, which shall be determined in advance by the Trustees, and be no less than 48 hours.
  9. The online secret ballot shall close at the time stated in the election announcement
  10. In the event of a tie, the procedures for a runoff vote (as delineated in III.F.4) must be initiated before the rest of the election results are announced.
  11. No more than 24 hours after the closure of the online secret ballot, the Trustees shall announce the election results electronically (eg, via email, direct notification from the software used for conducting the ballot, etc) to all members. This shall conclude the regular election procedures.

Section F: Election Decision, Results, and Tenure

1. All GSU elections shall be decided by plurality.

2. A quorum of at least 10% of the membership shall be required for the decision of any electoral race.

  1. Exceptions to this quorum are uncontested elections and irregular elections, for which a quorum of at least 5% shall be required.

3. In the absence of said quora, a re-election shall be initiated within 24 hours of the ballot tally. To initiate said re-election, the original ballot shall be nullified and a new ballot shall be issued to all members eligible to vote through the same procedure outlined in III.E.4. Quorum for the re-election vote shall be 5% of the eligible membership. If quorum is still not met, the election shall take place at a GMM via secret ballot.

4. In the event of a tie in any electoral race during a regular election, said electoral race shall be decided in a runoff vote according to the following procedures:

  1. A runoff election during a regular election shall be administered by the Trustees either at the final GMM of the spring quarter, or via online secret ballot.
  2. A runoff election during an irregular election shall be conducted entirely via online ballot.

5. In the event that a position is vacant after elections are completed, the SC may fill the vacant position by appointment.

6. Unless otherwise specified herein, the tenure of all elected positions within GSU shall be one year, and shall begin at the start of the University of Chicago academic year in fall.

Section G: Irregular Elections and Acting Officers and Chairs

1. All irregular elections shall be conducted via online secret ballot.

2. The circumstances that constitute an inability to fulfill the duties, responsibilities, and/or tenure of any elected position, and thus also the circumstances that initiate an irregular election according to the definitions provided in III.A, shall be decided by the SC on a case-by-case basis. Any member serving as an elected Officer or Chair who desires to leave said position before the conclusion of its tenure, which would thus initiate an irregular election, shall request a SC vote on the matter via email sent to both the Trustees and all members serving on the SC at that time. All requests for such votes shall be granted a fair consideration by the SC, and shall be decided by the SC through the decision-making process delineated in II.G.3.

  1. Some irregular elections will not require SC approval to be initiated. These are irregular elections due to recall and irregular elections due to an irregular election having been won by a candidate currently serving as an elected Officer or Chair.
  2. In the event that an elected Officer or Chair is known by any member to be physically or otherwise unable to submit such a request, that member shall be obliged to notify the Trustees in writing of this circumstance, and the Trustees shall submit said request on behalf of said elected Officer or Chair.
  3. In the event that an irregular election is won by a current Officer or Chair, that person’s tenure in their former position shall immediately conclude and their tenure in their new position shall immediately commence. At this time, the procedures for another irregular election to fill their now-vacant position shall immediately be initiated without the need for a vote by the SC.

3. The SC shall appoint an Acting Officer or Chair to serve in the place of the Officer or Chair who has requested the irregular election. The latter’s tenure in said position shall end immediately upon the appointment of an Acting Officer or Chair. The procedure for such an appointment shall be as follows:

  1. At the same meeting of the SC during which a request for an irregular election has been approved, any member of the SC may nominate any member of GSU in good standing who is in residence in Chicago to serve as Acting Officer or Chair. All nominees must be contacted and give their consent before the SC can vote on an appointment. A nominee who cannot be reached shall be ineligible for appointment.
  2. The nominee who wins the plurality vote of the SC shall be appointed. In the event of a tie, the regular tie-breaking procedures for the SC as delineated in II.G.3 shall be followed.
  3. Acting Officers or Chairs shall assume full powers, duties, and responsibilities of the position they are filling immediately upon appointment, and shall be required to attend the soonest subsequent meeting of all relevant committees including the SC. The tenure of any Acting Officer or Chair ends immediately upon the closure of the irregular election ballot.
  4. In the event that one of the Co-Presidents requests an irregular election to fill their own position, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers, duties, and responsibilities of Acting Co-President in addition to the powers, duties, and responsibilities of Vice President. The tenure of the Acting Co-President shall end immediately upon closure of the irregular election ballot.

4. An irregular election shall be announced as soon as possible after the SC decides by majority vote in favor of its initiation. This announcement shall consist of a call for nominations including a Declaration of Candidacy form. Members who are eligible for candidacy shall have 48 hours to nominate themselves via the submission of a Declaration of Candidacy to the Trustees.

  1. The current Acting Officer or Chair filling the position in question shall be permitted to nominate themselves as a candidate in the irregular election.

5. No more than 24 hours after the close of the nomination period, the Trustees shall issue an Election Announcement making available to all eligible voters both the online ballot and instructions for correctly submitting the ballot. Included with the Election Announcement shall be a description of the duties, responsibilities, and tenure of each open position and a copy of any statements provided by the candidates in their respective Declarations of Candidacy. The Trustees shall determine an online platform through which to administer the vote and endeavor to ensure that all eligible members are able to vote. The Trustees shall communicate with the Internal Affairs Committee prior to the vote to ensure that the membership lists are up-to-date. Members eligible to vote shall have neither more nor fewer than 7 days to review the statements and vote. At the end of this period, the Internal Affairs Committee shall close the ballot and explicitly announce this closure electronically to all members eligible to vote.

6. No more than 24 hours after the closure of the ballot, the Internal Affairs Committee shall have tallied the results of the election and announced the results of the election to the entire Membership via email. The winner of the election shall assume their elected position immediately upon this announcement, and, if possible, shall attend the soonest subsequent SC meeting. If possible, the winner shall also present themselves to the Membership at the soonest subsequent GMM.

7. The tenure of any Officer or Chair elected via an irregular election shall last only until the conclusion of the tenure of the elected Officer or Chair replaced via said irregular election. If an Officer or Chair elected via an irregular election should wish to continue in said position beyond the conclusion of tenure as defined here, they shall submit a Declaration of Candidacy according to the procedures of a regular election.

8. Exceptions to and specifications for the above procedures shall be as follows:

  1. No member currently serving as a Trustee may serve as an Acting Officer or Chair.
  2. Unless the Officer or Chair stepping down is a Co-President or Trustee, members currently serving as an Officer or Chair may be appointed to an Acting position in addition to their current position. In the event that such a candidate wins the irregular election, their tenure in their former position shall conclude immediately and their tenure in their new position shall commence immediately. In accordance with III.G.2, the procedures for an irregular election to fill their former position shall immediately be initiated without a vote to do so by the SC.
  3. If the Officer or Chair stepping down is a Trustee, no member may be nominated as Acting Trustee who currently serves as an Officer or Chair (or as an Acting Officer or Chair).

Section H: Special Election of Bargaining and Contract Committee

  1. The Special Election for the members of the Bargaining and Contract Committee (BCC) shall be conducted by a Special Election Committee (SEC) consisting of 3-5 members in good standing. A call will go out for nominations to the SEC no more than 5 days after a successful recognition election by GSU, or six months prior to the end of an existing contract. The SC shall then select the members of the SEC from the list of nominations by consensus or vote. Any member of the SC nominated for the SEC shall recuse themselves from the vote.
  2. The members of the SEC shall be prohibited from running for positions on the BCC.
  3. Once appointed, the SEC shall facilitate the discussion of the structure of the BCC as delineated in II.C.5.a. The SEC shall then open a call for nominations to the BCC, and administer the nominations and the election announcement by the procedure delineated in III.E.3, except that the SEC takes the role of the Trustees.
  4. The GMM discussed in II.C.5.a shall determine which members of GSU shall have the ability to vote for members of the BCC.

Section I: Recall of Elected Officers or Chairs

1. Any elected Officer or Chair may be recalled, subject to the following conditions:

  1. Any member in good standing may draft and circulate a petition requesting a recall of a particular Officer or Chair. Anyone desiring to recall multiple persons must circulate a separate petition for each of these.
  2. Any member in good standing may endorse, via electronic or written signature, such a petition.
  3. A petition that has received endorsement from at least 10% of the Membership must be submitted directly to any member of the SC for a recall to proceed.
  4. All action pertaining to a recall shall be conducted at a special meeting of the membership, to be announced electronically to the membership no fewer than 7 days before said meeting. This announcement will include the petition of recall. Said meeting shall occur no more than 14 days after the receipt by the SC of the petition to recall. The SC shall determine the structure and agenda of the special meeting.
  5. The elected Officer or Chair subject to the recall petition may submit a statement to be circulated electronically to the membership with the petition of recall prior to the special meeting, and may make a statement at the special meeting.
  6. Voting shall be conducted via secret (paper) ballot; the SC shall administer an electronic absentee ballot, to be made available on request at least 48 hours prior to the special meeting.
    1. Recall ballots shall contain only two options: to recall or not to recall the member named on the ballot. If more than one person is subject to recall at the recall meeting, there shall be a separate ballot issued for each.
  7. A recall vote shall require a two-thirds supermajority of all those voting to pass.

2. Recall shall go into immediate effect, and shall immediately initiate the procedures for an irregular election described above without the need for a SC vote.

Section J: Election Challenges

  1. Any member may challenge the conduct or results of any election by filing a written challenge to whichever body administered the election, as well as the Internal Affairs Officer. The challenge must describe, in detail, the exact conduct or results being challenged.
  2. To be accepted for review, challenges must be received within one week of the announcement of the election results. The body which administered the election shall promptly investigate such challenge and make recommendations to the next GMM or to an Irregular GMM.
  3. The membership will take final action on any recommendation at such a meeting. If the challenge involves a member or members of the body which administered the election, one Labor Relations Officer shall handle the election challenge through the dispute resolution process delineated in Article VI.

Article IV: Finances and Budgeting

  1. The Treasurer shall be responsible for the finances and budgeting of GSU (II.E.4).The Treasurer shall perform such other duties, with the approval of the SC, as may be necessary to a proper and effective administration of the affairs of GSU.
  2. The Treasurer and the Finances Committee shall prepare an annual budget, as delineated in II.C.8. The budget will make a separate allocation of at least 10% of dues to the Solidarity Fund, administered by the Solidarity Committee. The budget will also make separate allocations for the work of building the organisation, work action funds, social funds, and operational expenses. At least 15% of the budget shall be allocated for ongoing organizing.
  3. The records and books shall be available for inspection by any member, pending the approval of the SC, through submission of a written request. The SC shall communicate its decision within a fortnight.
  4. Members shall have the right to a full and clear accounting of all GSU funds. Such accounting shall include, but is not limited to, periodic reports to the membership by the Treasurer.
  5. The Treasurer shall make the financial records of GSU available for annual audit by the Trustees or by independent auditors not otherwise connected with GSU.
  6. No loans or advances shall be made available to any officer or member of the organization from the general funds of GSU. This does not preclude the creation of a hardship fund. No SC member or agent of GSU, or their spouse, domestic partner, minor children, or parents, shall take part in any business or financial interest that conflicts with the fiduciary obligation of such person to GSU.
  7. The budget may make an allocation for an honorarium for some or all officers (II.E). In the event that one of the elected positions is held by more than a single member, each member who holds such positions shall receive the full value of the honorarium. If one person holds multiple offices, such person shall not receive more than one honorarium per month. Except as outlined here, no officer will receive any other compensation for their work with GSU, whether from GSU or one of its affiliates. This does not exclude officers from receiving funding or reimbursements for attending national labor conferences, training, and/or workshops.

Article V: Dues

When under contract, dues for regular members shall be set or changed by electronic referendum (II.G.2) between the minimum level mandated by our affiliates’ constitution and two point five percent (2.5%) of wages. Dues for associate members, if assessed, shall be set or changed by electronic referendum. When not under contract, the dues for all members will be $5 per quarter, or $15 per academic year. The SC may suspend enforcement of dues collection when outside contract for a specified period of time, or class of students, or provide exceptions for individuals.

Article VI: Internal Dispute Resolution

Section A: Member-Member Dispute Procedure

1. Any member(s) may file a dispute against any other member(s) for a violation of the GSU Bylaws and Constitution, dereliction of duty, or for actions that are believed to be against the good and welfare of GSU. To file a dispute, a member must submit a written notification to the Internal Affairs Officer that includes, if applicable, the claimed section(s) of the GSU Bylaws and Constitution that the member believes has been violated, along with a description of the relevant alleged action or behavior. If the member believes that the dispute involves an action that is against the good and welfare of GSU, then the member should state this and provide an explanation.

2. If the Internal Affairs Officer is filing a dispute against another member or is the charged member, then all roles and responsibilities under this Section assigned to the Internal Affairs Officer shall be transferred to one of the Labor Relations Officers. If the Labor Relations Officer is filing a dispute against another member or is the charged member, then all roles and responsibilities under this Section assigned to the Labor Relations Officer shall be transferred to the Vice President.

3. Within 72 hours of receiving a dispute, the Internal Affairs Officer will email a copy of the dispute to all members of the SC in addition to the charged member. One of the Labor Relations Officers shall organize a hearing to take place no later than 14 days following the receipt of the email detailing the dispute.

4. The SC will serve as the hearing board. One of the Labor Relations Officers will chair the hearing as a nonvoting member of the board. To ensure fair proceedings, one other member who is not on the SC may accompany the charged member. This additional member may observe the hearing and testify on behalf of the charged member. One other member who is not on the SC may accompany the member who filed the dispute. This additional member may observe the hearing and testify on behalf of the member filing the dispute. The hearing board must allow for adequate time for discussion of the dispute and deliberation among board members, in accordance with the principles of respect and fair treatment for all GSU members.

5. Any member of the SC that filed the dispute or is the charged member shall recuse themselves from serving on the hearing board. Additionally, the SC shall decide prior to the hearing if any other members of the committee are unable to reasonably serve as an impartial arbiter of the dispute, and if so said member(s) shall recuse themselves from serving on the hearing board. If a grievance results in the SC hearing board losing quorum, a random jury of 5 members shall be selected from the membership by one of the Labor Relations Officers. The mechanism for random selection shall select members at random from a full roster of the membership, proceeding until five members who are willing and able to serve on the jury are confirmed. This mechanism, and a full log of the procedure and its results must be posted in the minutes, which shall be available to the entire membership.

6. The hearing board will decide the proper disciplinary action according to a simple majority vote. If the disciplinary action includes revoking the good standing of the charged member, then a 2/3rd majority vote of the hearing board is required to approve the action. If the decision involves disciplinary action against the charged member, then the hearing board’s decision and rationale will be described in a written statement emailed to all GSU members, unless requested otherwise by the person filing the dispute. If the hearing board is unable to reach a necessary majority to approve disciplinary action, then the dispute shall be considered resolved in favor of the charged member.

7. A member who has had their good standing revoked may petition the SC to reinstate good standing no sooner than 60 calendar days after the revocation. One of the Labor Relations Officers shall call a Committee meeting to consider re-instating the good standing of the member, no later than 14 days following the receipt of the petition.

8. If either the member who filed the dispute or the charged member is not satisfied with the decision of the hearing board, then the member may appeal the decision to the general membership. The member must file an appeal to the Internal Affairs Officer no later than seven days after the decision of the hearing board. Upon receipt of the appeal, the Internal Affairs Officer shall place evaluation of the hearing board decision on the agenda for the next General Members Meeting, and shall immediately email the membership to provide notice of the upcoming evaluation, including a description of the dispute, preserving the anonymity of the members involved, and the hearing board’s decision and rationale. If the next GMM is fewer than seven days away, then the evaluation shall be placed on the agenda of the subsequent GMM.

9. Adequate time must be allowed for discussion of the dispute at the GMM. One of the Labor Relations Officers and the Internal Affairs Officer will jointly moderate discussion as nonvoting members. A 2/3rd majority vote will be required for any final action taken by the membership to overturn or amend the decision of the hearing board.

10. A charge may be revoked at any time by the member originally filing the dispute. If this occurs, the hearing process will immediately stop.

11. At the conclusion of the hearing process, a permanent record detailing the dispute and final disposition of the case shall be written by the Internal Affairs Committee and filed in the GSU archive.

Section B: Member-GSU Dispute Procedure

1. A member feeling aggrieved by any action, inaction, interpretation of the GSU Bylaws and Constitution, or other decision by GSU, or an affiliate’s actions as it pertains to GSU, may file a dispute within thirty days of the time they are aware, or reasonably should have been aware, of GSU or an affiliate’s action or decision. The dispute must be made in writing to the Internal Affairs Officer. The Internal Affairs Officer shall have the right to dismiss disputes that are not made in accordance with the guidelines in this section with written notes to the filing member.

2. The Internal Affairs Officer will work with the SC and the member filing the dispute to determine if mediation would assist the parties in coming to a resolution. With agreement from both parties, the Internal Affairs Officer shall assign one of the Labor Relations Officers to serve as an impartial mediator. If one or both parties object to one of the Labor Relations Officers holding this position, then both parties may submit an alternative member that is mutually acceptable and is not a member of the SC.

3. If mediation is not elected by both parties and the Internal Affairs Officer, or ends without a written resolution, then the Internal Affairs Officer shall place resolution of the dispute on the agenda for the next GMM, and this shall be communicated to the membership by the Communications Committee according to steps delineated in II.F.4. If the next GMM is fewer than seven days away, then the resolution shall be placed on the agenda of the subsequent GMM.

4. Adequate time must be allowed for discussion of the dispute at the GMM. One of the Labor Relations Officers and a member selected at the discretion of the member filing the dispute will jointly moderate discussion as nonvoting members. A majority vote will be required for any final action taken by the membership to resolve the dispute.

5. At the conclusion of the dispute process, a permanent record detailing the dispute and final disposition of the case shall be transferred to the Internal Affairs Officer for filing in the GSU archive.

Article VII. Amendments to the Bylaws and Constitution

All proposals presented for the purpose of amending the Bylaws and Constitution of GSU, in whole or in part, or changing the Union’s name or mission statement, shall be decided via electronic referendum as outlined in II.G.2.

Section A: Amendment Procedure

  1. Amendments may be proposed and submitted to a referendum vote.
  2. Prior to the vote, a designated person from the Internal Affairs Committee will solicit pro and con statements from the general membership and circulate any statements received to the general membership for consideration.
  3. Upon passage of the proposed amendment, the Internal Affairs Officer shall amend the Bylaws and Constitution as required.

Section B: Implementation and Post-Ratification Procedure

  1. Amendments to the Bylaws and Constitution of GSU shall take effect as soon as the membership gives its approval as outlined above, unless the amendment resolution makes reference to a subsequent implementation date for one or several articles. However, such subsequent dates shall not be more than 6 months after the decision is made by the membership.
  2. Every amendment to the Bylaws and Constitution shall be also maintained in an appendix that will be attached to the Bylaws and Constitution. Such appendix shall note the date the amendment was approved by the membership, the previous language, and new language as modified by the amendment.
  3. All amendments shall be published on the GSU website, and a notification shall be sent out to all members via email no later than 7 days after ratification.

 

Appendix A: GSU’s Founding Bylaws, in effect 2007 – 2017 (click to expand)

The text of GSU’s founding Bylaws, adopted in 2007, can be found below. They ceased to operate starting June 13, 2017, except as specified in the voting language noted herein. The new Bylaws were adopted via electronic referendum, with voting occurring between June 1 – 12, 2017. The referendum was conducted in accordance with Section I.1-2 and Section II.4-8 of the founding Bylaws then in effect. A Bylaws Committee was announced at the beginning of the 2016 academic year, and following our calls in the membership newsletter and at members’ meetings, it was formed in Fall 2016 by a range of people across divisions. Aside from discussions at the Organizing Committee, the proposed changes were workshopped through two open meetings (Feb 22, Mar 29), with early drafts shared with members in advance (Feb 15, Mar 23), and the draft produced through this process was made further available in the form of a comment-enabled Google doc to members from the end of March. The Bylaws Committee then worked to incorporate the suggestions, and the draft was shared electronically with the membership. The language of the vote was decided on at an open meeting on April 26, and the duration of the vote was decided at an open meeting on May 23.

The new bylaws were voted in on the following terms:

“Vote “Yes” to ratify this new document as the GSU bylaws OR vote “No” to reject it and keep the current bylaws that GSU adopted in 2007. A quorate vote with a 2/3rd majority voting “yes” will ratify the new bylaws as the governing document for GSU.

If the “Yes” vote wins, the new bylaws will go into immediate effect. The election for the Steering Committee will be held in (and no later than) Fall 2017, allowing greater participation in the process given our rapidly expanding membership. Until such elections are held the Organizing Committee (OC) will serve as the Steering Committee as defined in the new bylaws, including all powers, functions, and responsibilities. Members in leadership roles as elected according to our current Bylaws will continue serving those functions. The current GSU Bylaws define the OC as a “regular open meeting” which any member can attend. For the purposes of electronic decision making in between OC meetings, the OC will be defined to include any member who has attended two OC meetings in any one quarter within the last four (non-summer) academic quarters.

Note from April 26th Open Meeting:

This is not a vote on whether to unionize or not, this is a document to set up the structures by which we build a democratic, inclusive, and robust union. It also specifies clear procedures for revising our bylaws in a transparent and participatory manner as our membership changes and grows.”

Text of Former Bylaws:

Section I. The Structure of GSU

GSU unites itself primarily through three specific forms of collective social interaction: the regular open meeting, the referendum, and special meetings and actions.

  1. Regular open meetings are held at consistent times and locations. Any change of time or location must be announced to the membership at least 5 days before a meeting. At open meetings the organization coordinates its day-to-day affairs. The regular open meetings always remain public and open to anyone. In cases where a person obstructs or threatens the orderly conduct of a meeting, that person can be excluded from the meeting by a vote of two-thirds of those present at the meeting.
  2. Referenda are generally held electronically, to allow all of GSU’s members to express an opinion on a particular important matter. Only GSU members participate in referenda. The referenda serve to set the organization’s goals and decide on the organization’s direction.
  3. Special meetings and actions occur as needed, and they can be initiated by the regular open meeting or by referendum. They include GSU meetings inside particular departments, large open fora, and rallies.
  4. Membership. Any person who is not a part of the university administration and/or tenure track faculty can become a member of GSU. A person can become a GSU member by signing a GSU membership card, submitting an email address, and paying dues each year. No other requirements limit membership. Dues are currently set at $5 per academic year, but the dues amount can be changed by referendum. The regular open meeting can decide to authorize people to join without paying dues, in case of hardship or in other circumstances, and it can make this authorization generally applicable to certain categories of potential members. GSU will not release to the general public any information about a member, nor will it publicly confirm whether or not that person is a member, without the person’s prior permission. But contact information about a member, the member’s current status, and other similar basic information is available freely to any other GSU member.
  5. Department Coordinators. Academic departments and other units on campus may have departmental coordinators. Coordinators serve primarily to promote communication inside and between departments and to organize new members in their departments. GSU strives to find coordinators in each academic department. If an academic department has fewer than 10 GSU members, then it may have an informal coordinator designated at the regular open meeting. Once an academic department has EITHER 10 members OR 20% of its graduate students as members (whichever number is smaller), the department should choose its own coordinator. A person interested in becoming a coordinator should announce this intention via email to all GSU members in the department, informing them that the selection of a coordinator will be ratified at the next regular open meeting. Alternatively, a department member may announce that a department meeting will be held at which a coordinator will be nominated, to be ratified at the next regular open meeting. Departmental coordinators serve until either:
    1. the school year ends,
    2. the majority of the department’s GSU members sign an email asking for her/ his replacement,
    3. the coordinator is replaced for absenteeism: If a coordinator does not attend three consecutive regular open meetings and does not email the GSU internal list to explain her/his absence within two days after the meeting, her/ his position will then need to be filled by a replacement.
  6. Members and potential members who do not clearly fall under the jurisdiction of any single academic department may elect to join the academic department or unit they feel most relates to their interests and position within the university and the broader community.
  7. Departments may have more than one coordinator, to have rotating coordinators, or to come up with any other system that works for them. However, if a department has more than one coordinator, all of that department’s coordinators together have one vote in the regular open meeting.
  8. Establishing New Departments or Organizing Units. GSU members may form new departments or organizing units with a minimum of 10 members or 20% of the proposed unit’s students (whichever is smaller). New organizing units may include recognized University departments not yet represented by GSU members; workplaces within the University; or other organizational forms as determined by GSU members. New organizing units must be proposed and approved at regular open meetings.
  9. Cancellation of Membership. Any member may withdraw from GSU at any time. To withdraw from GSU, a member must notify the Membership Coordinator in writing, and return their membership card.

Section II. GSU’s Decision-Making Process

  1. Types of Decisions. Substantive decisions are made through referenda of the whole membership. Proceduraldecisions are made at the group’s regular open meeting.Referenda call for decisions on matters that immediately and concretely affect GSU members. Decisions involving whether or not to strike, the terms of negotiations, the acceptance of negotiations, amendments to bylaws and the creation of new departments are all examples of substantive decisions.Procedural decisions involve the maintenance and everyday functions of GSU. The decision to create sub-committees, determine meeting times, set agendas, develop strategies and propose referenda are all examples of things voted on at regular open meetings.
  2. Procedure for Regular Open Meetings. In regular open meetings, every effort is made to reach consensus on decisions. However, if consensus on a pressing matter seems improbable within the time allotted, a vote can take place. A issue may be deemed urgent only by consensus. Because of GSU’s size at the date of the ratification of these by-laws, all members present at a regular open meeting may vote. All votes are won by simple majority, not including abstentions and people absent. Regular open meetings have a quorum of 5 people. If 5 people are not present at the meeting at the time a decision is to be made, then that decision cannot be made. As GSU grows, the number required for a quorum is subject to change via referendum.
  3. Implementation of a new, departmentally-based voting structure. As GSU grows, a new voting structure can be implemented in order to ensure equal representation among differently sized departments. In the new structure, consensus procedure remains unchanged. During voting, however, each department has one vote, regardless of how many of its members are present. The above rules for voting will apply, but with “department” (or organizing unit) substituting for “person.” The decision to implement this new structure must be proposed at a regular open meeting and approved by referendum.
  4. Procedure for Referenda. A referendum can be called in three ways:
    • 10% of the GSU membership can send an email requesting a referendum.
    • Members at an open meeting can agree by consensus to have a referendum.
    • Members or departments at an open meeting can vote to have a referendum.
  5. After a referendum is called, an email must be sent out to all GSU members advertising a future open meeting at which the referendum’s contents and wording will be settled. An open meeting is then devoted to settling on the terms of the referendum. If appropriate, this open meeting could take the form of a large open forum. The referendum then occurs in such a way that all members are able to vote. Generally, the referendum will take place through website and email. The length of time allowed for voting must be determined at the meeting devoted to the terms of the referendum, with a minimum of 24 hours. Referenda have a quorum of 100 people or 25% of GSU’s membership, whichever is smaller. If this quorum is not satisfied, the results of the referendum are not binding. For a decision to be reached by referendum, 2/3 of voters must approve, not including abstentions and people not voting.
  6. Some decisions must necessarily be made through referendum. These decisions are:
    • The decision to accept or decline any offer by the university administration.
    • The decision to increase dues.
    • The decision to have a public membership list.
    • The decision to affiliate with or join any other organization.
    • The decision to amend GSU by-laws.
  7. Status of Decisions Reached. Decisions made by referendum are fully binding for GSU. Decisions made at the regular open meeting by consensus or by voting are fully binding for GSU as long as they do not contradict a decision made by a referendum.
  8. Amendments to By-Laws. These bylaws can be amended by referendum with the requirement of a 2/3 majority vote.

Section III. Special Responsibilities

  1. Signing Up Members. Any GSU member may sign up new members, following this procedure: First, the member must obtain blank membership cards from the membership coordinator (see below). Each card is individually numbered, and the card numbers taken should be noted by the coordinator. Next, the member has a new member sign one card for her- or himself, sign another card to be kept by GSU, and pay the first installment of dues. Finally, the member who has taken the blank cards from the membership coordinator must return one signed card per new member to the membership coordinator and give all dues collected to the financial coordinator (see below).
  2. Ad Hoc Responsibilities. GSU appoints people or committees to complete most tasks on an ad-hoc basis. Examples of this include facilitators and note-takers for regular open meetings, roles which different members assume at each meeting. Other examples include people or committees that organize specific one-time events. As soon as these tasks are completed, the appointed person or committee’s responsibilities end.
  3. Standing Committees. As decided at regular open meetings, standing committees may be established, for example to conduct necessary research, to advocate on specific issues (e.g. health care or international students’ interests), or to plan social events.
  4. Positions of Special Responsibility. Some positions of responsibility remain steady, however. A financial coordinator must be elected by consensus or by voting at a regular open meeting. Other positions of responsibility include a membership coordinator (collecting membership cards and information); communications coordinator(checking the GSU email account and responding to queries); a website coordinator (maintaining the website including the system of electronic referenda); and a meeting coordinator (ensuring that a facilitator and note-taker is chosen for each meeting and that meeting times and locations are reserved and announced to members). Positions may be added or combined as necessary by decisions made at regular open meetings. These special coordinators hold office from the beginning of an academic year until the beginning of the next academic year, or until they are removed by consensus or voting at a regular open meeting. If coordinators will be elected at an upcoming regular open meeting, this must be clearly announced to members.
  5. The Financial Coordinator. The financial coordinator may make small purchase decisions on her or his own. All such purchases should be presented in a verbal or written report at the next regular open meeting. Any time the organization spends total sum of more than $100 in one week, however, the expenditures must be pre-approved at a regular open meeting. Only in exceptional circumstances should retroactive purchasing approval be granted for large purchases. Any money left in the GSU account at the end of the year will be saved for the next year’s expenses.
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