Today the vote for the ratification of the proposed AASUA bylaws will open at noon and remain open until noon on Wednesday March 21st. The proposed bylaws contain significant changes as to how the AASUA will operate. Some of the largest changes are as follows:
1) Change: Members whose contracts of employment with the University of Alberta conclude may remain members for up to one year or until they are re-employed by the University of Alberta, whichever comes first, as long as they pay fees or dues set by Council (Article 4.3). Implications: Non-employees of the University of Alberta will be able to vote on any matter, including ratifying new collective agreements and elections of officers, and be nominated for and elected to any elected position in the Association subject to eligibility requirements, serve on Association committees, and receive all the rights and benefits of membership for up to one year after their contracts end with the University of Alberta.
2) Change: The Executive will manage the affairs of the Association and will replace Council in this function (Article 7.1). Council (and members at a general meeting) will be able to establish policies and procedures and Council will make recommendations to Executive on the interests of the members (Article 6.1). Implications: The Executive, which will consist of the four Officers (President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Equity) in the new bylaws and seven Directors (each elected from and by each of the seven constituencies, Article 9.1), will manage the affairs of the Association rather than Council. Under the proposed bylaws, Executive will make major decisions for the members and will direct the President. Under the current bylaws, Council, which presently consists of about 65 Councillors elected by all academic staff members, currently makes all major decisions (and delegates this function to Executive between Council meetings) on behalf of the members and directs the President.
3) Change: The Association will pay for the full or partial time release of the four officers and all Directors of the Executive from their employment duties (Article 7.7). Implications: Council presently creates time release policies as needed and is not a permanent budget item. Under the proposed bylaws, paying for full or partial employment release for the Officers and Directors of the Executive will become a permanent budget item to pay for this release from employment duties.
4) Change: The formation of caucuses by members is encouraged, and Council may allocate funds from the Association to support the work of these caucuses (Article 21). Implication: This may be a new budget item.
5) Change: Members who retire from the University of Alberta may continue as non-voting members of the Association by paying fees or dues as determined by Council and may be appointed to or serve on committees as non-voting members, and may attend and speak at general meetings (Article 22). Implication: Retired members may continue to contribute to the Association.
I would encourage members to read the proposed bylaws completely (view here), and vote in this ratification, as these are the rules by which the Association must operate.