Unions are legally required to hold elections every few years. (The number of years varies depending on the type of union.) During these elections, the union's membership elects an executive board, also sometimes referred to as the executive council. This elected group of representatives who take care of the day-to-day responsibilities for the union mostly just approve budgets, run elections, and pay bills, but from time to time they will also discuss issues affecting the school and the membership, communicate information to the membership, and appoint committees to complete various tasks on the membership's behalf, among other things. Boards vary in size depending on the union, and some are as small as just two or three people.
The executive board of a union is legally bound to conduct business by following very specific procedures to ensure members are represented fairly and equally. Furthermore, no elected member of the board has more power than another. Even the president of a board gets only one vote and cannot override a decision of the board as a whole.
Each meeting of a board is supposed to follow an official order of business, or agenda, and there are specific rules and guidelines for how discussion takes place, how votes are cast, etc. You may think this is all rather stuffy and formal, but these rules serve to help prevent the board from being hijacked by members, or factions of members, with political agendas or more sinister machinations.
Ultimately, it's important to understand that our Local 434 Executive Board has a duty to act on behalf of the membership as a whole, and the power of our union—any union—always resides with the membership, not its executive board or any other elected member.
"[T]he power of our union—any union—always resides with the membership, not its executive board or any other elected member."
Proud alumnus, union member, and educator in District #201 since 2006.
Dr. Hentze is the author of High Finance with Hentze, a monthly blog that provides news about District 201's current financial state.