CAW Policy Letter #6: Ratification Procedure - Skilled Trades

March 24, 1988


LETTER NO. 6 March 24, 1988

Ratification Procedure for Local Unions with Skilled Trades "Granted Separate Ratification" Under Article 19, Section 3 of the CAW Constitution

To: All CAW Local Union Presidents, Recording Secretaries,
Skilled Trades Chairpersons, Unit Chairpersons &
National Staff


After a lengthy discussion at its meeting on March 24, 1988, the National Executive Board decided not to change a procedure that has served our skilled trades and production workers well over the years, but rather saw the need to clarify the way it must be implemented to achieve uniformity within our local unions and spell out the procedure in policy letter form.

The basic principle is for the skilled trades to be able to vote on the General Agreement and the issues specifically related to them, and to be assured the specific skilled trades items are identified in a ratification vote.

The use of a coloured ballot and a separate meeting was formulated to identify whether or not the skilled trades membership had accepted the offer or not and if rejected, to provide for the bargaining committee to meet with the skilled trades membership and review the reasons for their rejection.

Ratification Procedure

In order to achieve this principle, the following procedure must be established:

  1. 1. When called to a general ratification meeting of a tentative agreement, the skilled trades membership in that local or unit of an amalgamated local who has been granted separate ratification will be given a different coloured ballot than production workers. Skilled Trades will have the complete tentative agreement reported out to them along with the production workers. Upon the conclusion of this meeting, they may then attend the skilled trades ratification meeting and be given a full report of skilled trades issues.
  2. 2. Local unions who provide that the skilled trades do not attend the general membership ratification meeting but have a separate meeting for the skilled trades members may continue the practice as long as the principle of separate ratification is maintained whereby the skilled trades will have a different coloured ballot than production and the tentative agreement will be fully explained to them including the specific skilled trades issues. 
Skilled Trades Membership Rejection

When the bargaining committee has reviewed with the skilled trades the reasons for their rejection, the procedure is:

  1. 1. If the issues detailed to the bargaining committee are determined not to be specifically related to skilled trades and affect the complete bargaining unit, the skilled trades membership ballots will then be combined with the production ballots on a yes or no majority vote for acceptance or rejection of the total agreement.
  2. 2. If the issues detailed to the bargaining committee are determined to specifically relate to the skilled trades membership, the bargaining committee will instruct the total membership and the company there is no acceptance of the tentative agreement and prepare to meet with the company again in bargaining to attempt to resolve the skilled trades issues. When these bargaining sessions are concluded a second meeting is held with the skilled trades membership and a second vote is held.

The National Union through the President's office will monitor the negotiations with the bargaining committee after a reasonable time period to determine whether to authorize a strike or continue the strike if one is in effect.

Fraternally yours,

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