ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

September 25, 2008

2008.09.25: ALAA Amended Bylaws

Filed under: Union Democracy and Structure — nyclaw01 @ 12:00 am

Original format: Bylaw_Amendments 2008

Bylaws of The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys,  Local Union 2325 of The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace And Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), AFL-CIO
As Last Amended on September 25, 2008

Article I:  Name

The name of this union will be The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (ALAA), Local Union 2325 of the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), AFL-CIO.

Article II:  Constitution

The Constitution of this union will be the Constitution of the International Union, UAW.  These bylaws shall be subordinate to said Constitution.

Article III:  Principles and Purposes

It will be the purpose of this union to:

•Organize and unite into the union all staff attorneys of The Legal Aid Society;

•Improve the working conditions, treatment, wages, benefits and professional standing of staff attorneys of The Legal Aid Society and protect all staff attorneys from illegal, improper, arbitrary or discriminatory treatment;

•Ensure the provision of high-quality legal services to our clients and advocate for the improvement of these services within the Society and in other appropriate arenas;

•Advocate for the advancement of the interests of our clients and of poor and working people in general through political and legislative outreach;

•Maintain relations with other labor organizations and work cooperatively with other unions for the advancement of the interests of our members, our clients and of poor and working people; and

•Educate our members in the history of the labor movement and develop and maintain an informed and dignified membership in the ranks of organized labor.

Article IV:  Membership

§ 1. Principle and Authority.  Since the union seeks to benefit the members and thrives by virtue of their support, the membership will be the highest authority within the union.  It alone will have the authority to determine all critical issues.  These include to:  ratify contracts, strike, return to work, set dues, and elect Officers and at-large EB members and Delegates to UAW Conventions.

§ 2. Eligibility.  Membership will be open to all employees of the bargaining unit(s) currently represented by the union and to those employees of other units who subsequently agree to the union’s representation and to those terminated employees whom the membership or the (J)C votes to retain as members.

§ 3. Good Standing.  Members who have paid, or authorized checkoff of, all dues and other financial obligations will be members in good standing, unless suspended or expelled from membership as specified in Article 31 of the Constitution.  Members on leave or layoff will remain in good standing so long as they have paid all dues or dues check-off is authorized and other financial obligations established by the union or required by the Constitution unless suspended or expelled from membership as specified in Article 31 of the Constitution.  Members in good standing will be entitled to the benefits of membership, including voting and participating in the union’s affairs.

§ 4. Termination.  Membership in the union will be terminated under any of the following circumstances:  (1) Final termination of employment within the bargaining unit unless the membership or (J)C votes to retain the terminated employee as a member; (2) Acceptance of a managerial position; (provided, that acceptance of a (Delegate Council (DC)-approved temporary management position of three months or less will result in an approved leave status during such period); *NEW: Interim supervisors shall not be part of the bargaining unit and shall not pay dues while holding such position; (3) Expulsion by decision of the Trial Committee pursuant to Article 31 of the Constitution; or (4) Resignation pursuant to the procedures set forth in Article 6, § 17 of the Constitution.

*NEW: Conduct unbecoming a member shall include (but not be limited to): (1) Violating a strike as defined  in Article X, or non-compliance with any other resolution that is binding on the membership;  (2) An act of physical assault or vandalism directed at the person or property of another member of the union or of Local 1199; (3) A public expression of bigotry, slander or vilification directed at another member of the union or of Local 1199.

§ 5. Reinstatement.  Any member who has resigned, or been suspended or expelled, from the union and who seeks to rejoin or to become a member in good standing will pay a reinstatement fee established by the union.(Interim supervisors who return to the bargaining unit shall not be required to pay a reinstatement fee).

§ 6. Meetings.

§ 6.1. Frequency.  The membership will meet at least monthly in each of the offices where employed.  (There will be a citywide membership meeting at least thirty (30) days prior to Officer and Executive Board (EB) elections, at which nominations for such offices will be accepted and a candidates’ forum held.  At other times,) The membership will meet citywide upon the (1) call of the President; (2) majority vote of the EB or the (J)C; or (3), petition of twenty-five percent (25%) of the membership. There shall be a least one citywide membership meeting annually.

§ 6.2. Quorum.  A quorum at any citywide or local membership meeting will consist of twenty-five percent (25%) of the members in good standing prior to the meeting.  If applicable, absentee ballots, as permitted by the EB or the (J)C, can be counted toward establishing a quorum.

§ 7. Voting.  Except for the election of Officers and Delegates, which requires in-person voting at designated offices or polling place(s) (see Article VIII), and votes to strike or call off a strike, which will occur at a membership meeting, the membership may vote by mail, at a citywide or other appropriate meeting, or in person at a designated office or polling place(s), as determined by the EB or (J)C.  Provision for absentee ballots for membership votes may be made by the EB or (J)C to the extent that it is consistent with the Constitution Art.  19, § 3; Art.  38, § 10; or Art.  50, § 1(b).

Article V: (JOINT) Council

§ 1. Authority.  The (J)C will be the highest authority in the union after the membership.  Among other powers, it will elect three pension Trustees and the Election Committee.  No grievance will be arbitrated without its approval.

§ 2. Composition.  The (J)C will consist of (the following):

1. In the NYC Legal Aid Society Unit:

Delegates elected by members of each work site (complexes in the Criminal Defense Division (CDD), offices in the Juvenile Rights Division (JRD) proper and the Civil Division (which shall include the Prisoners Rights Project), units in the Criminal Appeals Bureau (CAB) (which shall include the Parole Revocation Defense Unit (PRDU) and the CDD Special Litigation Unit).

2. In ALAA’s other Units:

The Unit Chair plus at least one additional delegate.

3. All (Constitutional) Officers;

Delegates shall be apportioned according to the following formula:  one (1) Delegate per every ten (10) members, rounded up to the nearest multiple of ten (10), with each office, unit and complex entitled to at least one (1) Delegate;   There will be a reapportionment every October 1 for the purposes of establishing the number of Delegates to which each office, unit and complex is entitled.

§ 3. Meetings.  The (J)C will meet citywide at least every two (2) months, and at other times as scheduled by the President, the EB or itself.  Delegates from each office, unit and complex will meet at least monthly.  A quorum consists of twenty percent (20%) of the total number of Delegate positions allocated, regardless of whether they are filled.

§ 4. Voting.  Each Delegate is entitled to one (1) vote.  The members of each office, unit and complex may elect up to three (3) ranked alternates, who may vote only if the Delegate is absent at a (J)C or office, unit or complex Delegates meeting.  Officers, other than the President, will be entitled to vote as if they were Delegates.  The President may vote only when the (J)C is equally divided and the President is presiding.  If an Officer other than the President is presiding, that Officer will only have a right to vote when the (J)C is equally divided.

Article VI:  Executive Board

§ 1. Authority.  The EB will be empowered to represent the union between meetings of the union when urgent business requires prompt and decisive action.  The EB will also serve as the (NYC LEGAL AID UNIT’s) Bargaining Committee

§ 2. Composition.  The EB will be composed of the following (seventeen) Executive Officers:


Financial Secretary-Treasurer;

Recording Secretary;

Three (3) Union Trustees;



Vice Presidents (of the NYC Legal Aid Unit, to be proportionately constituted as                             follows:one voting VP for its Civil, JRD, CAB units and the CDD Boro Offices with                  50 or more members; a second voting VP for each of those units with 100 or more                   members; and a third voting VP for each of those units with 200 or more                                  members.

Unit Chairs of ALAA’s other units, to be proportionately constituted as above.)

The EB will also include at-large members representing the following areas:

Senior Attorneys;

Junior Attorneys;

Middle Attorneys;

Attorneys of Color of Legal Aid (ACLA);

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Attorneys;

Affirmative Action; and

Part-time Attorneys.

The at-large EB members will be responsible for calling regular ongoing meetings of the caucus or committee s/he represents and for arranging advance notice of such meetings to the membership.

§ 3. Election.  All Executive Officers and at-large EB members will be elected by the entire membership; the Vice-Presidents (and Unit Chairs) will be elected by their respective constituencies.

§ 4. Meetings.  The EB will meet at least monthly, except during August.  The Recording Secretary will take the minutes of EB meetings, unless unavailable, in which event the President will designate another EB member to take the minutes.

§ 5. Voting.  Each EB member is entitled to one (1) vote.  The members of constituencies represented by a Vice-President (and Unit Chairs, as well as all  members regarding at large representatives), may elect up to two (2) ranked Alternate(s), who may vote only in (the primary representative’s) absence.  Alternates may simultaneously serve as Delegates on the (J)C; however,  no unit or representative office) may cast more than one (1) vote.

§ 6. Reporting.  All decisions of the EB shall be reported to the membership and the (JC).

Article VII:  Executive Officers

§ 1. President.  The President will be the chief executive Officer of the union.  In addition to the duties specified in the Constitution, the President will preside over meetings, and be charged with carrying out all resolutions of the membership, (J)C and EB.  The President will be responsible for the administration of the union between meetings of those bodies, and will represent the union in its dealings with other UAW bodies, organizations, and any public entities.  The President, and the Financial Secretary-Treasurer in his/her absence, will be an ex-officio member of all union committees.

§ 2. Financial Secretary-Treasurer.  The Financial Secretary-Treasurer will, in case of resignation, illness, removal, death or absence of the President, carry out all duties of the President, until, if necessary, an election for President is held pursuant to Article VIII, § 3.  In addition to the duties specified in the Constitution, the Financial Secretary-Treasurer will carry out all duties prescribed by the President and resolutions of the membership, (J)C and EB, and attend all meetings, and take custody of all votes and minutes of meetings of those bodies.  The Financial Secretary-Treasurer will also have custody of all union funds, keep records of all receipts and disbursements, and submit periodic accountings of the union’s financial transactions to the union Trustees, the (J)C and the EB.

§ 3. Recording Secretary.  In addition to the duties specified in the Constitution, the Recording Secretary will take the minutes of EB and (J)C meetings.

§ 4. Vice-Presidents (Unit Chairs)  will carry out all duties prescribed by the President and their respective constituencies and attend all meetings, and carry out all resolutions of the membership, (J)C and EB.  The Vice-Presidents (and Unit Chairs) will preside over all meetings of the members and Delegates of their respective constituencies.

§ 5. Union Trustees.

§ 6. Sergeant-at-Arms.

§ 7. Guide.

Article VIII:  Elections

§ 1. Eligibility.  Executive Officer candidates must be a member in good standing for one (1) year prior to the nomination.  Candidates for Delegate must be a member in good standing for six (6) months prior to the election.  The Senior Attorney representative must be in the tenth (10th) year or greater of service within the bargaining unit.  The Junior Attorney representative must be at seniority step 4 or below, and, once elected, cannot continue to serve after step 6. The Middle Attorney representative must have between 4 and 10 years of service. The ACLA GLBT and Part Timer representatives must be members of their respective constituencies.

§ 2. Terms.  Pursuant to Article 38, § 2 of the International Union Constitution, all terms of office for Officers, Alternates, and at-large members of the EB will be three years.  Pursuant to Article 45 of the Constitution, Delegates and Alternate Delegates will have a (three) two year term.  The first elections under these bylaws will take place by October 31, 1999.  The precise date of subsequent general elections will be set by the EB or (J)C, provided that (the Executive Board election) occurs within thirty (30) days of the three (3)-year anniversary of the previous general elections of EB members ( and the two (2)-year anniversary of the previous election of ) and (the election of delegates to the Joint Council occurs within 60 days after the EB election).  The election of members of the Election Committee will occur at a (J)C meeting prior to general elections.

§ 3. Vacancies.  All Officer and other EB vacancies shall be filled promptly by a special election.  Pending the special election:  (1) A presidential vacancy (may) shall be filled by one of the vice-presidents (or Unit Chairs) elected by the (J)C; (2) A vice presidential vacancy shall be filled by the first Alternate vice-president; (3) All other officer or EB vacancies (may) shall be filled by the (J)C.

§ 4. Procedure.

§ 4.1. Elections Committee.  An Elections Committee, comprised of non-candidates and elected by the (J)C, will conduct, oversee and certify all union elections.  Non-candidate Officers, Delegates and Alternates may assist in conducting elections.

§ 4.2. Nominations.  Written or e-mailed officer nominations will be accepted by the Election Committee (or its designee) during a  (Fifteen (15)) thirty (30) day (period) prior to a citywide membership meeting during which additional oral nominations will also be accepted. and a (C)andidate forums (shall be) conducted. (so as to assure the ability of as many members as possible to attend).

§ 4.3. Time and Notice of Voting.  All elections will occur not earlier than seven (7) days after the close of nominations. and for general elections regardless of whether a quorum was present at the nomina¬tions/candidate forum meeting.  Fifteen (15) days notice of general elections and special Officer elections must be given.

§ 4.4. Location of Voting.  Members will vote in person in their offices or at designated polling place(s).

§ 4.5. Margin Required.  Pursuant to Article 38 of the Constitution, election of Executive Officers will require a majority of votes cast.  All other elections will be by plurality vote.    § 4.6. Uncontested Elections.  Pursuant to Const.  Art.  38, Sec.  17, unopposed candidates shall be considered elected.

§ 4.7. Voting Procedure.  Voting procedures utilized will be designed to accommodate the greatest number of members, particularly those assigned to work night arraignment shifts.

§ 4.8 Installation.  Within 30 days of a general election, there shall be a membership meeting at which, regardless of quorum, the elections committee shall give its report on the election results and the elected officers and EB members shall be installed.  Any timely protest to the election could be discussed at this meeting, but shall only be voted on by the membership at a subsequent meeting or other form of vote, held within 30 days thereafter.

Article IX:  Dues And Fees

§ 1. Initiation Fee.  There will be a fifty dollar ($50) initiation fee for new members.

§ 2. Reinstatement Fee.  Any member who has lost “good standing status” for whatever reason and applies to be reinstated to same shall pay a $50 reinstatement fee, in addition to any dues or fees owed the union.

§ 3. Dues.  Any changes in the dues structure must be approved by the membership.

Article X:  Strikes

§ 1. Violating a Strike.  Any member who works for The Legal Aid Society (LAS) or another bargaining unit represented by the union during a strike at that employer will be guilty of violating a strike.  Any member accused of violating a strike will be subject to a trial under Article 31 of the Constitution and, if found guilty, to the penalties specified therein.

Article XI:  Staffing

Finances permitting, the President and Financial Secretary-Treasurer, in that order, will be on union staff, and will receive the same salary and benefits they would have received on active LAS staff. Any additional union staff will be determined by the EB.  (Per diem, mileage, lost time, and other reimbursement for attendance at UAW or Local Union functions may be payable as allowed by the International Union.)

Article XII:  Parliamentary Order

Robert’s Rules of Order will apply in all situations not covered by the International Union Constitution or these bylaws.

Article XIII:  Amendments

These bylaws may be amended by a majority vote of the members, after thirty (30) days notice of the proposed amendment, or by a majority vote of the (J)C, after the proposed amendment is noticed on the agenda of two (2) consecutive (J)C meetings.

Article XIV:  Savings Clause

A declaration that any provision of these bylaws is null and void will not in any way affect the validity of other provisions or the bylaws as a whole.

Article XV:  Adoption

These bylaws will become effective upon their adoption by a majority vote of the membership.

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