The following principles and procedures were adopted by the UE General Executive Board on January 23-25, 2019, after being approved by regions during their Fall 2018 council meetings. They apply to UE National Conventions and Regional Council meetings.
Building rank-and-file democracy and solidarity demands that we prioritize respect for each other so that all may fully participate in meetings, union activities, and the broader struggle.
All members, officers, and staff have the right to participate in the affairs of the union free of harassment and discrimination regardless of sex, gender identity, race, disability, age, religious views and any other status protected by state or federal law. Harassment within our union demoralizes and weakens the solidarity necessary among members and workers to collectively protect and defend ourselves against the organized forces of the system and employers that are against us. We all have an obligation to challenge and overcome behaviors that divide us as a working class. UE will not tolerate any forms of harassment, bullying, discrimination, or violence in any level of the union, and violations may result in actions being taken against members, officers, or staff.
It is all of our responsibility to create and preserve an environment of dignity and respect at all levels, and not to passively observe, nor encourage or participate in behavior which is unwelcome, unwanted, uninvited, inappropriate, or illegal. It is all of our responsibility not to partake in words or actions which humiliate, insult, or degrade any person. This may include, but is not limited to, unwanted comments, slurs, racist, sexist, transphobic, or homophobic jokes, offensive pictures or posters, bullying or intimidation, graffiti, non-consensual physical contact of any kind, inappropriate remarks about a person’s appearance or personal life, unwelcome sexual advances or demands, suggestive looks or gestures, mockery of religious practices or customs or desecration of religious imagery.
Ombuds and the national office anti-harassment coordinator(s) shall be voluntary positions, as selected in the manner prescribed below.
Ombuds shall work during national conventions and regional council meetings or other national or regional meetings. The national office anti-harassment coordinator shall assist with complaints made in between meetings and may be, also, called upon to assist those situations which occur during national or regional meetings.
Expenses and per diem shall be paid for this work in accordance with UE Constitution and policy for GEB members.
Each person who agrees to be in one of these positions will receive the training necessary in order that the approach and the tools necessary for the work are done are in a manner consistent with the UE Constitution and UE Anti-Harassment Principles and Responsibilities.
If someone believes they are being harassed during, or in between, UE regional or national meetings because of their race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression they should take the following action:
- If possible, make it clear verbally or in writing to the harasser that such inappropriate behavior is not welcome.
- If the inappropriate behavior persists the individual harassed may approach the designated ombud(s), or national office coordinator if in between meetings, who will investigate and attempt to resolve the matter informally. Request for assistance from an ombud or national office anti-harassment coordinator may be asked for right away if the complainant is unwilling to approach the harasser directly.
- Each incident will be handled confidentially and quickly. Where the safety of any individual is compromised or a criminal act is alleged to have occured, the appropriate authorities will be contacted.
- When the matter cannot be resolved informally the person harassed may file a written complaint with the national office anti-harassment coordinator, who will issue a recommendation to the National Officers and/or the GEB to resolve the issue. In the event that an individual disagrees with the ombudsperson or anti-harassment coordinator’s determination of a matter, they may request a hearing which will be conducted in accordance with the principles described in Article 24, Section B. of the UE’s Constitution and By-Laws. Staff may use the grievance procedure available to them to dispute disciplinary action taken against them by the officers.
Reprimands, suspensions, or expulsions from union office or membership, or in the case of UE staff discipline and discharge, in accordance with the procedures outlined in the collective bargaining agreement, may also be considered depending on the circumstances of the situation(s).
- The national office anti-harassment coordinator and ombuds for the national convention and meetings shall be appointed by the General President subject to approval by the GEB, and for Regional Council and other regional meetings by the Regional President subject to approval by the Regional Executive Board.
- The national union shall provide the designated ombuds with the training, forms and other material necessary to carry out this procedure. The ombudsperson or national office anti-harassment coordinator shall also provide those making a complaint with such forms and material.
- During regional and national meetings the designated ombud(s) will be announced at the start of the meeting and these Principles, Responsibilities, and Procedures distributed to each attendee.