See below article for full text of adopted bylaw resolutions.
Members voted to reinstate slate voting and to increase financial accountability for officers and employees, in a packed membership meeting on June 13.
Slate voting – or “ticket voting” – essentially means that instead of just an alphabetical list of candidates on the ballot, a group of candidates may also be identified as a slate, if they choose. The ballot may also group the parties together so that voters can see quickly which candidates belong to which party.
Slate voting has a history at 802. It was first used by the Members Party in 1982 to vote out the Arons administration. But in 2000, slate voting was abolished at a membership meeting.
At the time, those who wanted to abolish slate voting said that it had created a one-party system and was a hindrance for independent candidates who wanted to run against the incumbent party. Those in favor said slate voting is democratic because it allows voters to see how candidates are aligned, which gives voters more information.
This time around, members strongly favored a return to slate voting. A big argument was that slate voting allows candidates to team up, organize and fundraise as a group. Proponents also argued that slates make it easier for voters – some of whom may not have time to research every candidate – to know where a candidate stands.
Opponents felt that slate voting was being proposed at this time not in the name of democracy but simply as an expedient way for opposition candidates to organize against the incumbent party. They also mentioned that when slate voting was eliminated in 2000, three independent candidates were elected, showing that you don’t need slates in order to win against the incumbents.
In the end, the membership approved slate voting – but also decided to amend the proposal in two ways. Instead of requiring a minimum of six candidates to constitute a slate, that number may now be as little as two. Also, straight ticket voting was nixed. That means that voters will not be able to vote for an entire party by checking one box on the ballot.
Under slate voting, candidates can still run as independents, with no party affiliation.
The Local 802 election is set for Dec. 5. Click here for details.
Members also approved a second bylaw that would require officers or employees of the local to reimburse the union for all costs incurred in the event they are “found to have charged personal expenses to the local by misusing a credit card or by other means.”
President Lennon stepped down as chair of the meeting for this debate, since the resolution specifically mentioned him by name. Financial Vice President Blumenthal assumed the duties as chair.
The debate was full of technicalities. Early on, Executive Board member Jay Schaffner proposed modifications to the resolution’s language, which he said brought the resolution more in line with legal standards.
That prompted a lengthy discussion on whether or not it was appropriate to revise the language.
Several argued that Schaffner’s proposed language change was so substantial that it was, in effect, a new bylaw that should have been submitted prior to the meeting. Others argued that the language change was simply technical.
The parliamentarian, whom the union had hired for the meeting, decided that the change was within the scope of the bylaw resolution originally proposed. The membership sustained her decision and voted to accept Schaffner’s changes – with one exception. Members voted to make union employees – not just officers – responsible for reimbursement to the local for “the misuse of union assets.”
When the final vote was called, members voted to approve the bylaw as amended.
A third bylaw, which would have changed the relationship between Allegro and the president’s duties, couldn’t be debated or ratified because quorum was lost.
Before the meeting was adjourned, some stayed to listen to a presentation by Paul Shechtman, an attorney representing Local 802 in the preliminary inquiry that is presently being conducted by the Department of Labor and the United States Attorney’s Office (Manhattan).
Be it resolved that article VI of Local 802’s bylaws shall be amended as follows:
Section 2 shall be entitled “Election Ballot,” with its current single paragraph designated as subsection (a) and the following new subsections added:
(b) Any group of two or more candidates shall be designated as a ticket upon the written request of said candidates. Such request must contain the name of the ticket and the signatures of the candidates making the request and must be submitted to the agency conducting the election in accordance with that agency’s rules.
(c) No candidate may appear on more than one ticket.
(d) Candidates listed as a ticket shall be given a column (or row, if the ballot is so arranged by the agency conducting the election) and no other candidate shall appear in that column (or row).
(e) Independent candidates shall be listed separately.
(f) There shall be no check box appearing on the ballot to vote for the entire ticket.
Therefore be it resolved that the following shall be added to article I, section 5 of Local 802’s bylaws as paragraph (ii):
(ii) In the event that any officer or employee of the local shall be found to have charged personal expenses to the local by misusing a credit card or by other means the Executive Board shall recoup from such officer or employee such expenses and costs incurred by the local as a result of such misconduct, in addition to requiring such officer and or employee to reimburse the local for the misuse of union assets and to pay such other fine or penalty that may be imposed in accordance with the bylaws consistent with due process. An accounting of the same shall be published in the official journal.
And be it further resolved that this resolution shall become effective immediately upon its adoption and shall apply to any unresolved financial improprieties existing at the time of the enactment of this resolution.