UE is made up of geographical Regions covering different parts of the 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 beginning of our union.
The Work of the Regions
UE Regions—officially known as Regional 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.
Regional Council Meetings
The Council itself consists of elected delegates from every local in the Region, meeting twice 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 Regional Council meeting that local members and officers get to know each other, share experiences, and learn new strategies and tactics.
At Regional Council Meetings
Delegates hear news from all around the union. Locals report on their activities, while political action reports, educational workshops and guest speakers 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, Regional Council meetings are fun, educational gatherings.
Election of Officers
The Regional Officers, Executive Board and Trustees are elected at the spring Regional Council meeting. The president, vice president, secretary and five at-large members, elected at this meeting, serve on the National Union’s General Executive Board. Each Regional President also serves as a General Vice President of the National Union. The Trustees elected by each Region also serve as National Trustees, and are responsible for auditing the books and records of the regions and the national union three times a year, and safeguarding the property of the union. Any UE member in the Region in good standing is eligible to run for office, with a requirement of one year of membership to run for the Regional Officer, Trustee and General Executive Board positions.
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 the national constitution. Each Region approves a yearly budget to govern how the money is spent.
This structure means Regions are financed by the locals, not the National Union. This is an important distinction, because Regional officers are made directly responsible to the members who elected them and who finance the Region. In many other unions, district or regional 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 its locals, not the National Union.
This keeps UE Regional Officers responsible to their members.