When and Where are Meetings?
Monthly Membership Meeting
Attend to bring concerns forward, gain insight into how your union is run.
Meetings are third Monday of each month
4:30 PM in rooom B139
Superior Middle School
3626 Hammond Avenue
Superior, WI 54880
Take Part in a Meeting
AFSCME Local 1397
Take Part in Meetings
The local union meeting serves to acquaint the members with:
• Actions of officers and the Executive Board
• Activities of Staff Representatives
• Problems facing the Local
• And plans for the future.
It allows for democratic discussion and vote on where the local is going and the action it needs to take. The meeting gives the local a sense of unity and purpose which is then communicated both to other members and to management. One element of a successful meeting is orderly consideration of business. This requires some rules. The following will give you the basic rules you need to know to "Take Part in Membership Meetings."
HOW TO SPEAK
You can speak at meetings just like everyone else, but you have to be recognized by the chair. Raise your hand to signal the chair that you want to speak. Then wait until the chair recognizes you, by calling your name or pointing to you. Only the person recognized by the chair may speak, everyone else must wait his or her turn. By having only one person talking, we get a chance to hear what he or she has to say. When you speak, keep to the subject being discussed. If the group is talking about raising money for P.E.O.P.L.E., you talk about the same thing. Stay on the issue, or the chair will call you out of order. You may be asking "But how do I get my idea discussed?”. You can do this by making a motion!
HOW TO MAKE A MOTION
Want something done? Make a motion! The motion is the most important tool you have at a meeting to get your ideas considered. Motions can cover a wide range of actions, from routine business matters at a meeting to major new activities by the Local. If major action is required, a good idea is not enough. Big changes require time, effort and often money, so that you will have to convince other people that your idea is really a good one. Before bringing up your motion, in fact before the meeting, talk to your fellow workers and officers of the Local to get their suggestions. At the meeting, to make a motion, raise your hand and get recognized by the chair, then say: "I move that we..." and tell the chair person what you want done. For example, you might say, "I move that we set up an education committee" or "that the local stewards have regular monthly meetings" or whatever you want to have done. Before the motion is taken up, there must be a second. Some other person will have to be recognized and say "I second the motion". A second to the motion shows that at least two people are interested. Unless there is a second, the meeting will go on to other business. The chair will ask: "Is there any discussion?" Then you or anyone else can speak, but only on the motion.
HOW TO END DEBATE
Heard enough? Want to stop the discussion? Get recognized by the chair and say, "I move we close debate?" Sometimes people will say, "I move the previous question" or "I call for the previous question". It all means the same thing, "Let's End Debate". Then there will have to be a second to your motion by someone else. Next the chair will ask the people to vote on whether or not they want to end debate. The vote must be carried by two-thirds of the meeting. Remember, this is not a vote on the main motion, but only a vote on ending debate. After debate stops there is a vote on the main motion: "It has been moved and seconded that we..." Then the chairperson will say: "Those in favor say 'Aye' (pause), those opposed say 'Nay' (pause)". Here the majority rules. The motion is either carried or defeated.
HOW TO MAKE AN AMENDMENT
Sometimes a motion isn't clear and you might want to add or change part of it. You can do this by an amendment to the motion. Again, get recognized by the chair, then say: "I move we amend the motion to" (add, strikeout, substitute, etc.) For example: If there was a motion to have a regular monthly steward's meeting, an amendment to that motion might be to have the meeting two hours prior to each regular membership meeting. The job of the amendment is to make the main motion better, not to change it entirely. If you don't like a motion, the best thing to do is defeat it and then make another motion. Don't try to do this by amending the motion, or the chair will tell you the amendment is out of order. When it comes to voting, the amendment is voted on first. If it passes, you vote on the motion which now includes the amendment. If the amendment is not passed, then the motion is voted on without the amendment. Very rarely, there is an amendment to the amendment that changes or adds to the amendment and the motion. However, this can be very confusing. When there is an amendment to an amendment, the chair might suggest a substitute, if everyone agrees, just to put it all into a single motion. But don't worry about amendments to amendments - you can go for years without using one.
HOW TO DELAY A DECISION
Sometimes you don't want to decide yes or no. You need more time to get information, or you don't have enough votes and want to avoid defeat. There are two ways you can delay a decision:
• You can move to table the motion. After being recognized by the chair, say "I move we table the motion." If there is a second, the chair will call for a vote without further debate. When a motion to table passes, the main motion is put aside. No action is taken and the meeting goes on to other business.
• You can delay a decision by referring the motion to a committee. Get recognized and then say "I move we refer the motion to the committee" You can refer it to education, stewards, political action or any other committee of the Local, including the Executive Board.
WHEN THERE IS A PROBLEM
Sometimes you get confused at a meeting. It can happen to anyone. You suddenly are not sure of what is happening. You don't have to just sit there and remain confused. Get up and ask the chair "I rise for information". The chair will ask you what you want, then tell the chair your question. A more serious issue occurs when, for example, there is a motion on the floor under discussion, and you feel that the member who has just been recognized is not speaking on that particular motion. In these kinds of cases, you can stand up and say, "I rise on a point of order". The chair will ask for you point and once you have explained "the brother/sister is not speaking on the motion....", the chair must make a ruling. Another problem may occur if the chair has made a ruling which you feel was clearly wrong. If you are convinced that the error was in fact serious enough to justify some action, you may appeal. You must rise and say, "I appeal the ruling of the chair". The question of whether to uphold your appeal or to agree with the ruling of the chair is then put to a vote by the members. Here, the members make the final decision.
The Steward Body
AFSCME Local 1397
The Steward Body
All Local 1397 stewards comprise the steward body. Local 1397 by-laws define the structure of the steward body and give it certain decision-making powers with regard to steward training, approval of new stewards, and organizing activity in the local. The steward body and its monthly meeting are the place for stewards to bring complaints and suggestions about the support structure for stewards and any changes that need to be made to make it easier to do their jobs as stewards.
Additionally, the steward body is expected to take responsibility for proposing tactics and strategy on both contractual and non-contractual problems. Typically it is the body that takes major responsibility for carrying out day-to-day actions once major policy decisions have been decided by the members. Obviously this includes enforcing the contract, but it also includes such things as local negotiations and labor/management meetings with the hospital. Since the primary duty of stewards is to organize and one of the best ways to organize is through struggles with management, it makes sense that our steward body is the primary group within the local for planning and carrying out strategies to deal with struggles that arise with the hospital.
The entire local is divided up into separate areas of coverage by stewards. It is imperative in a local of our size that it be very clear to the School District of Superior who is responsible to cover what areas and that in fact the contract mandates that the local set up steward jurisdictional areas. Due to the size of our local, we do not allow members to pick and choose their steward. Your steward is the one who is assigned to your area.
All stewards must go through training and be approved by the steward body and the Executive Board. Whether the steward you get is new or an old hand, you will be receiving competent representation. Please understand that even older stewards often have to research a problem before knowing what to do in a particular situation.
Requests for a different steward or complaints about a steward not carrying out his/her duties properly can be made to the local President. However, please be informed that there must be an objective basis for your request or complaint and that you should in no way involve management in this procedure since it is strictly an internal Union process.
You Have a Right
AFSCME Local 1397
YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO HAVE A UNION STEWARD:
- represent you in any disciplinary or investigatory meeting with management;
- when you feel your contractual rights are being violated;
- to file a grievance.
YOU HAVE A RIGHT:
- to meet with a steward on work time;
- to see a steward in a timely manner;
- to request a steward without harassment from your supervisor.
HOW TO ASK FOR A STEWARD:
Tell your immediate supervisor, on work time, that you would like to see a steward about a potential grievance. Because of past problems, you should use that exact language in making your request.
Your supervisor has no right to question you about the reasons you want to see a steward or about a possible grievance. It is your supervisor's responsibility to arrange a time and place for you to meet with your steward as soon as possible. If you don't get to meet with your steward by your next scheduled workday, call the Local 1397 Chief Steward (715-394-7151) and let us know.
To Protect the Contract…
Meet with your steward when you believe it has been violated.
To Protect Yourself…
Have your steward present at all disciplinary and investigatory meetings.
What is a Grievance?
WHAT IS A GRIEVANCE?
Every two years, Local 1397 re-negotiates a contract with the School District of Superior. The agreement states what wages, benefits, rights, and responsibilities we have, and what rights and responsibilities management has. Both the union and the school district are obliged to obey this agreement. If your supervisor violates our contract, you can file a grievance to force them to correct the problem. One of our rights under the contract is the right to file a grievance on work time and to have a steward present during any disciplinary or investigatory meeting with management if you believe disciplinary action may result from the meeting.
YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO HAVE A UNION STEWARD:
• represent you in any disciplinary or investigatory meeting with management;
• when you feel your contractual rights are being violated;
• to file a grievance.
HOW TO ASK FOR A STEWARD:
Tell your immediate supervisor, on work time, that you think you have a possible grievance and that you want to see a steward. Because of past problems, it is important that you use the exact language listed here - "would like to see a steward about a possible grievance." Your supervisor has no right to question you about the reasons you want to see a steward or about a possible grievance. It is your supervisor's responsibility to arrange a time and place for you to meet privately with your steward as soon as possible. If you don't get to meet with your steward within one or two work days, call the Chief Steward (394-7151) and let us know.
YOU HAVE A RIGHT:
• to meet with a steward on work time;
• to see a steward in a timely manner;
• to request a steward without harassment from your supervisor.
Because our contract is a legal document, the language used is often confusing to the average person. Because grievances have to be filed within 30 days (unless they are continuing violations), it is vital that you meet with your steward promptly when you believe the contract may have been violated. Not all problems are covered by our contract. That is what we hope to improve every time we negotiate a new one. If you have a problem not covered by the contract, a steward may be able to find another way to help you. Request to meet with your steward. Some people are hesitant about filing a grievance. The best contract in the world is useless unless it is enforced. Contracts are enforced by filing grievances, although your steward may be able to resolve your problem informally prior to filing a grievance. Just because something has "always been done this way" doesn't mean it is fair or legal under the contract. Unless you have the courage to stand up for your rights, they will not be respected.
• To protect the contract, meet with your steward when you believe it has been violated.
• To protect yourself, always have your steward present at disciplinary and investigatory meetings.