The Constitution of the Red River United Local 4995 American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, Louisiana Federation of Teachers
Ratified October 29, 2011
Amended April 3, 2014
In order to unite the teachers and support personnel of the public education systems of Northwest Louisiana, we the members of this organization, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
This organization shall strive to promote and defend the needs, desires, and legitimate rights of this educational community. It shall endeavor to achieve the ultimate in service, benefits, and communication to its members. It shall support legislation and elected officials favorable to education and labor.
ARTICLE I: NAME AND AFFILIATION
- The name of this organization shall be the Red River United Local 4995 (RRU).
- The RRU shall be composed of autonomous member units. Each member unit shall be composed of: teachers and support personnel of an AFT Local, OR teachers and support personnel in a school district which has not yet formed a chapter, OR teachers and support personnel who have retired from work in a member unit.
- This organization shall maintain affiliation with the American Federation of Teachers, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, and the AFL-CIO.
ARTICLE II: OBJECTIVES AND PURPOSES
- To achieve collective bargaining for all teachers and support personnel.
- To promote the welfare of all children through quality educational programs.
- To bring teachers and support personnel into relations of mutual assistance and cooperation.
- To advance the economic, social, and political well-being of the membership.
- To raise the standards of the teaching profession by securing the conditions essential for the professional service.
- To promote democracy and the elimination of all forms of bias in education due to race, creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, political ideology, economic status, national origin, or any other characteristic, whether mutable or immutable, that is unrelated to the performance of one’s duties.
ARTICLE III: MEMBERSHIP
- This organization shall consist of primarily, but not exclusively employees of any school system affiliated with the RRU. Retirees as well as all regular part-time school employees may be members.
- Employees of this organization shall be eligible for staff membership. Persons with staff membership are prohibited from seeking election to any position within the organization or any of its affiliates. However, staff members who return to the school system as a full time employee for a period of at least one year will be eligible to seek election to position within the RRU.
- No person shall be denied membership in RRU on the basis of race, creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, political ideology, economic status, or national origin.
- Membership shall consist of different units which will maintain their own autonomy. These units will include teachers/support personnel from various school systems who vote to affiliate with the RRU. To the extent that each unit negotiates separate contracts, the members of each unit will vote on their group’s contract. Members of all the units of the RRU will have identical rights and responsibilities within the RRU except as specifically provided herein.
- A member unit may be expelled from the organization upon the bringing of written and signed charges by two (2) or more members of the RRU general membership, who shall present such charges and documentation to the RRU Executive Board. A majority vote of the RRU Executive Board shall cause an expulsion hearing to be held at which the accused member unit shall have the right to examine and question the charges and be represented by a person of unit choice. At the conclusion of the hearing, a three-fourths (3/4) vote of the RRU general members present shall be required for expulsion.
- A member unit who has been expelled may appeal the decision to the RRU Executive Board by requesting a vote of the general membership at the next quarterly meeting. The RRU Executive Board shall grant at least one (1) such request to an expelled unit per expulsion. A simple majority of members voting shall be sufficient to overrule the decision of the expulsion.
- All rights, titles, and interests legal and equitable as a member and the possession of property shall end at termination of membership.
- Affiliation of a prospective member unit to the RRU shall be proposed by the Executive Board, and shall require ratification by majority vote at a RRU general membership meeting. Notice of the vote on a prospective member unit shall be given to all members at least fifteen (15) working days in advance of the vote. The Executive Board shall set the date and establish the procedures for the proposal, meeting, and vote on a prospective member unit.
ARTICLE IV: DUES AND FEES
- The dues of RRU shall be established annually on the following factors:
- the per capita of affiliates of RRU.
- RRU retention as established by the RRU Executive Board.
- Member dues shall be directed to the RRU and paid to affiliates in a timely manner.
- Categories of membership may be adopted by the individual member units in accordance with the AFT and LFT constitutions.
- The annual membership shall be July 1 through June 30 of the following year.
- A member unit shall automatically be dropped from the rolls of the RRU upon being two (2) months in arrears in the payment of dues.
ARTICLE V: OFFICERS
- The officers of the RRU shall be President, Executive Vice-President, and Secretary- Treasurer.
- Officers shall be elected by the RRU general membership to a three (3) year term by the first Tuesday of May, taking office by June 1. The first election shall be held in 2013.
- Pay for the officers shall be determined by the RRU Executive Board.
4. Vacancies caused by death, resignation, or recall shall be filled by the President with the approval of the Executive Board of the RRU for the remainder of the term.
5. Recall of an RRU officer shall be conducted upon presenting to the RRU Executive Board a petition to recall stating reason(s) and signed by Presidents of affiliated councils equaling at least 35% of the total RRU membership.
ARTICLE VI: DUTIES OF OFFICERS
- The President shall:
- be the chief executive officer of the RRU.
- be the presiding officer at all meetings of the membership and the Executive Board.
- be an ex-officio member of all committees except the Elections Committee and the Nominating Committee.
- appoint, with the approval of the Executive Board, the chairs and members of all standing and special committees except the Elections Committee and the Nominating Committee.
- be responsible for the ongoing administration of the organization.
- supervise all employees of the organization.
- be one of the responsible financial officers of the organization and shall be authorized to co-sign financial instruments and make regular and usual disbursements of funds.
- represent the organization before bodies of the employer, executive and legislative officials.
- represent the organization before bodies of the public, community organizations, and the news media.
- be, by office, a delegate to the Central Labor Council.
- be, by office, a delegate to the convention of the American Federation of Teachers and meetings or conventions of its affiliated subordinate bodies.
- make an annual report to the membership of the organization.
- be able to delegate the responsibilities of the office except where otherwise specified by the constitution.
2. The Executive Vice President shall:
- assume the duties of the President in the event of absence, illness, or death of the President.
- perform other duties as delegated by the President or assigned by the Executive Board.
- co-sign financial instruments in the absence of the President or Secretary-Treasurer.
3. The Secretary-Treasurer shall:
- record and keep accurate minutes of meetings of the membership, and the Executive Board.
- assist the President in handling the correspondence of the organization.
- receive and certify the reports of the Elections Committee.
- perform other duties as delegated by the President or assigned by the Executive Board.
- receive, record and deposit all dues monies and other income in the name of the organization.
- maintain accurate membership records.
- issue membership cards and notices of delinquency.
- be one of the responsible financial officers of the organization and be authorized to co-sign financial instrument and make regular and usual disbursement of funds.
- maintain all financial records of the organization.
- arrange for an independent audit of the finances of the organization annually and make available same to the Executive Board and Membership.
- transmit per capita payments on a regular basis to the Secretary- Treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers and similar officer of affiliates, other bodies with which the organization is affiliated.
- chair the Budget Committee
- perform duties of the office as required by the Labor- Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.
ARTICLE VII: EXECUTIVE BOARD
- The Executive Board shall be the policy making body of the RRU.
- Membership shall consist of:
- RRU elected officers
- Delegates from member units
3. Each member unit, except the retirees unit, is entitled to place two (2) delegates on the Executive Board.
- For member units that are composed of teachers and support personnel of a school district chapter, one (1) of their delegates shall be the President of that chapter. The remaining delegate position(s) shall be assigned according to the language of that chapter’s constitution and by-laws for a term of three (3) years. In absence of such language, the remaining delegate(s) shall be elected from among that chapter’s members for a term of three (3) years.
- Member units that are composed of teachers and support personnel from a school district that has not yet formed a chapter shall elect their delegates from among their members for a term of three (3) years.
- Unit membership numbers will determine additional Executive Board delegates from each member unit. A member unit qualifies for one (1) additional Executive Board member for every increment of 750, or fraction thereof, memberships.
4. One collective retiree unit, made up of retired members from all member units, shall be entitled to place one (1) delegate on the Executive Board. The retiree unit shall qualify for one (1) additional Executive Board member for every increment of 500, or fraction thereof, added to the retiree memberships. The retiree unit shall elect its delegates from among its members for a term of three (3) years.
5. A delegate to the Executive Board who retires from working in a member unit during a term of office may continue to represent that member unit for the duration of that term. Upon completion of that term, he or she shall not be eligible for re-election to a delegate position for the same member unit. He or she may join the Retiree Unit and shall be eligible for election as a delegate, subject to the retiree unit’s policies.
6. All members of the executive board shall be delegates to the conventions of American Federation of Teachers, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, and the AFL-CIO.
ARTICLE VIII: MEETINGS
- The RRU shall hold at least four (4) general membership meetings annually, with at least one (1) meeting every quarter, beginning in July. The meetings shall be held at a place and time established by the RRU.
The Executive Board shall hold six (6) regular meetings annually. The meetings shall be held at a place and time established by the RRU.
- As prescribed in Article VII, Section 1, the RRU Executive Board shall be responsible for conducting business and making policy between meetings.
- Special meetings may be called by the President or a written request signed by at least 30% of the RRU membership. Such meetings shall be scheduled to provide at least two (2) days notice to delegates.
- Delegates may participate by teleconference and/or internet meeting.
- RRU Executive Board meeting quorum shall be those delegates and officers present.
ARTICLE IX: COMMITTEES
- Committees may be established and appointed by the President with the consent of the members of the RRU.
- Nominations and Election committee shall be established to draft, with RRU approval, guidelines for the officer nomination and election procedures. Following RRU approval, the committee is also responsible for publishing the guidelines and conducting the election of officers starting in April 2013.
- A Budget Committee chaired by the Secretary-Treasurer shall prepare an annual budget for RRU approval at the fall meeting.
ARTICLE X: ELECTIONS
1. Unit Elections of Officers and Delegates
a. All officers of the RRU shall be elected for three-year (3) terms. Elections shall be held by the end of April every third year. The general officers will run at large and be elected by the combined membership of the units comprising the RRU. Executive Board members are not elected by the RRU but retain local autonomy by virtue of winning the election within the individual member units. Additional representation by each unit member is determined by size of the unit. After reaching a membership of 750, at 751 a member unit is entitled to seat one additional Executive Board member on the RRU. For every 750, or fraction thereof, an additional Executive Board seat will be added for that unit.
- The Elections Committee shall conduct all general and special elections of the RRU.
- Nominations for office shall be made at the spring meeting immediately preceding the April elections. Members in good standing of each Unit shall be given suitable opportunity to nominate candidates for the general officer positions provided, however, that any candidate must be a member in good standing in accordance with the local unit’s constitutional requirements preceding the date for submitting nominations.
- The Executive Board shall appoint an Elections Committee consisting of three (3) members from among the membership of the organization.
- Should a member of the Elections Committee seek or be nominated for office, that person shall resign from the committee and be replaced promptly by the Executive Board.
- Thirty (30) days prior to nominations for office all members shall be notified of the opening of nominations and the time and place of the meeting for that purpose.
- If there is only one nomination for a specific office that person shall be deemed as elected without balloting.
- Every candidate is permitted to have an observer at the counting of ballots.
- The results of the RRU Election for officers shall be published and made available to the membership of all Units. Election records, including eligible member list, cast ballots, spoiled ballots and the tally sheet, must be preserved for a period of one year.
- Successful candidates shall assume office on June 1 following the election. However, in the event of a run-off election, the time may be extended beyond June 1. If the run-off election should be after June 1, the winner shall assume office immediately upon being declared the winner by the elections committee.
- With the exception of the office of President or in case of a recall, all vacancies shall be filled by a majority vote of the members of the RRU Executive Board. Recalls will be done in accordance with local by-laws of member units.
- The President of the RRU is a delegate to all conventions. Other delegates will be elected in accordance with local member unit’s by- laws.
2. Election of RRU Officers and Delegates to AFT and Affiliate Conventions.
- Elections for officers and delegates to conventions of the State Federation and AFT shall be conducted in accordance with the requirements of the AFT Constitution and the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.
- Elections for officers and for delegates to AFT and affiliate conventions shall be conducted whenever Units hold elections for officers, but at least every three years. Should elected delegates be unable to serve, the chapter chair may appoint replacement delegates to serve until the next election.
- The election of officers shall be conducted by mail ballot election and shall commence no later than May 1st and ballots shall be counted no later than May 31st.
- Nominations for officers and delegates shall be submitted to the RRU at the Spring meeting in an election year. Nominations may be submitted by delegates or any member on a form provided by the Election Committee. Term of office is three (3) years beginning on July 1 after the election and ending three years later on June 30 in the year of the election of officers.
- Members in good standing from all Units must be given suitable opportunity to nominate candidates for delegates to conventions of the Louisiana State Federation and AFT.
- To be nominated for office, an individual must be a full member in good standing in accordance with the local unit’s constitutional requirements preceding the date for submitting nominations.
- A member in good standing may be nominated for office by written petition of twenty-five (25) members in good standing accompanied by the signature of the person nominated indicating his or her willingness to stand for election.
c. Duties of the Election Committee
i. The Election Committee will be responsible for setting election timelines and procedures, determining eligibility for office, eligibility to vote, standards for election conduct, and procedures for mailing of campaign material.
ii. The Election Committee will select a Chairperson who is authorized to communicate the official policies of the Committee and who is the person to whom all inquiries or complaints about election conduct should be directed. Members are encouraged to bring their concerns to the Committee as they occur so that any problems may be remedied prior to the election.
iii. The Election Committee is empowered to investigate and resolve any issues related to the election of officers.
iv. Questions and complaints about election procedures or candidate conduct should be presented to the Election Committee chair, who may issue clarifications, directives and instructions to the candidates or the membership.
d. Challenges and objections to the elections must be submitted in writing, with a statement of supporting reasons and facts, to the Elections Committee within five (5) days of the count. The Elections Committee shall issue its written opinion regarding the objections no later than ten (10) days after receipt of such objections
ARTICLE: XI: AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
- An amendment to the RRU Constitution may be proposed at any regular or special Executive Board Meeting either by a member unit in good standing or by a member of the Executive Board.
- A proposed amendment must pass a vote by a simple majority of those Executive Board Members present.
- The RRU Constitution may be amended in a referendum of the members by a two-thirds majority of votes cast or in a general membership meeting by a simple majority. Notice of the proposed amendment(s) shall be given to all members at least one month in advance of the vote.
- The Executive Board shall set the date and establish the procedures for the referendum/meeting on the proposed amendment.
ARTICLE XII: PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY
1. Robert’s Rule of Order, revised, shall govern the meetings of RRU Executive Board and committees in all cases applicable and not inconsistent with the constitution or special orders of business approved by the Executive Board.