Convention Comments Number 3

March 16, 2017

The Convention Resolution

The convention resolution is the vehicle whereby members recommend certain specific principles or policies for the guidance of Union activities.  These recommendations (resolutions) are debated and voted upon by convention delegates and, once adopted, constitute a membership mandate binding on the elected officers of the Union.

A resolution dealing with PSAC operations or policy or matters of service-wide impact will, upon adoption by our convention, be forwarded to the PSAC convention for consideration by the delegates to that convention, and must be adopted by that convention before it can be regarded as a membership mandate.

Resolutions are placed before our convention by two bodies only:  Locals and the Executive Council.  In the local, a resolution may be proposed by any member, officer, committee, etc., for consideration at a general meeting.  At the Executive Council level, only members of the Council are permitted to propose resolutions.  In all cases, each proposed resolution must receive the majority approval of a meeting of the body concerned in order for it to be forwarded for inclusion in the convention agenda.

A resolution should only deal with one subject and should concern itself with general policies designed to point the union in a desired direction as opposed to pre-determining or providing specific instructions on the method and means of achieving the objective.  For example, a resolution which seeks a major change in an employee benefit and directs that "this shall be achieved by labour-management consultation" is potentially self-defeating.  Time and circumstances could either render the consultation method inappropriate or present a more expedient method for dealing with the matter.  A resolution should therefore only concern itself with the end product and not the means by which to achieve it.

A resolution generally includes a preamble, "WHEREAS".  This is intended to provide background information and does not form part of the resolution proper.  When used, the preamble should provide a better understanding of the resolution.

To avoid complicated and confusing debates and to ensure a better understanding and acceptance of its intent, a resolution should not contain more than one objective "BE IT RESOLVED".  If two objectives appear to be necessary or desirable, the submitting body should consider the possibility of two separate resolutions.

In considering a resolution which proposes two or more objectives, it is often the case that a convention will not agree with such a resolution in its entirety and, as likely as not, might inadvertently veto the acceptable parts along with the unacceptable.  A resolution can, of course, be referred back to committee for further study and report, but this simply delays the decision and extends the debate.  It is much more expedient if, in the first instance, the submitting body limits a resolution to one objective, i.e., one "BE IT RESOLVED".

Two sample resolutions are outlined hereunder.  Example 1 shows the use of the preamble (WHEREAS), and example 2 illustrates a resolution with two objectives:

Example 1:

WHEREAS delegates need to be allowed to make informed decisions on the impact of membership dues prior to the convention; and

WHEREAS PSAC resolutions are brought forth with no costing attached; and

WHEREAS the convention committee should know the costing prior to the convention.

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the PSAC provide costing of all PSAC resolutions that result in a dues increase.

Example 2:

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Public Service Superannuation Fund be administered by a body representative of the employer and the certified bargaining agents; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the interest rate payable to the fund be comparable to the rate paid on Long Term Government Bonds.

NOTE:  Two objectives are cited in example 2, therefore they should have been submitted as two separate resolutions.  However sometimes it is necessary to include two objectives in a resolution if one is contingent upon the other.  For example:

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Public Service Superannuation Fund be administered by a body representative of the employer and certified bargaining agents; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT this body shall be empowered to review the PSLR Regulations and effect whatever amendments it deems appropriate.