CAW Policy Letter #14: Local Union Election Procedure - Duty to Accommodate

May 28, 1991


LETTER NO. 14 May 28, 1991

Local Union Election Procedure - Duty to Accommodate

To: Local Union Presidents, Recording Secretaries - CAW-


At a regularly scheduled National Executive Board meeting on May 13, 1992, the following policy was adopted.

Recent human rights decisions indicate that increasingly governments, employers and others, including unions, must accommodate disadvantaged groups, such as on the grounds of disability and religion.

When it comes to the issue of voting, there is a growing trend to require accommodation so that all have a fair chance to vote. With union votes this would apply to such voting as strike votes, ratifications, elections, etc.

The policy of the CAW is that election committees must make every effort to accommodate so that all members can exercise their democratic rights.

We must accommodate for members with a disability. There must be full access to the voting area or hall, including for those using a wheelchair. Signs should indicate clearly from the parking area where the wheelchair accessible entrance is located. Other measures such as signing for the hearing impaired will depend on the needs of the membership.

If the timing of the vote might conflict with the practice of religious beliefs, then the local election committee must ask members to come forward if they wish to seek accommodation. For example, the notice of the election would include the following: "If this procedure conflicts with the practice of your religious beliefs, contact your local union election committee chairperson for alternate arrangements."

The alternate arrangements need not be complex. For example, for some religions, activities must be restricted between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday. For someone unable on religious grounds to attend a Saturday morning vote, accommodation might just mean having ballot boxes available for two hours before sundown on the Friday.

Accommodation is not only increasingly required by law, but is also just good democratic practice within our organization. In general, we should make every effort to ensure that all members have fair access to voting procedures.

I urge you to treat this matter seriously and to implement the recommended changes without delay.

In solidarity,

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