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UE is made up of three geographical Regions covering the entire United States, as outlined in the constitution. While the number of Regions and their geographic boundaries have changed from time to time (reflecting shifts in union membership and the location of locals), the function of the Regions has not changed since the beginnings of our union.
The Work of the Regions
UE Regions—officially known as Region Councils—work with and provide help to locals in each region, especially in the areas of political action, education and leadership training, organizing the unorganized, and collective bargaining. Because these issues affect all locals, Regions serve as important links in maintaining the structure of UE.
Region Council Meetings
The Council itself consists of elected delegates from every local in the Region, meeting twice or three times a year. Each local is encouraged to send their full complement, because here is where members can broaden their role in, and understandings about, UE. It's at the Region Council meeting that local members and officers get to know each other, share experiences, and learn new strategies and tactics.
At Region Council Meetings
Delegates hear news from all around the union. Locals report on their activities, while presentations by the UE Political Action and Education Departments inform members about important issues. A national union officer (either the General President, Secretary-Treasurer or Director of Organization) attends the entire meeting to hear members' concerns and provide updates on the national union's programs and activities. There's plenty of socializing time, too. In short, Region Council meetings are fun, educational gatherings.
Election of Officers
The Region Officers, Executive Board and Trustees are elected at either the Fall or Spring Region Council meeting—traditionally called the Region's Annual Convention. Any UE member in the Region, in good standing, is eligible to run for office. The president and secretary, elected at this meeting, serve on the National Union's General Executive Board. Each Region President also serves as a General Vice President of the National Union.
Funding the Regions
Each UE Local contributes a monthly per capita payment to the Region from its dues money. The per capita amount is set by a vote of the Region Council delegates and then must be ratified by a majority of the locals to take effect.
This structure means Regions are financed directly by their members, not the National Union. This is an important distinction, because Region officers are made directly responsible to the members who elected them and who finance the Region. In many other unions, Regional (or District) offices are funded by their national union—which can sharply limit accountability to the membership.
UE's bottom-up structure is evident in how Regions are funded—by their locals, not the National Union. This keeps UE Region Officers responsible to their members.