HOW
TO CONDUCT YOUR
UNION
MEETING

 

Issued by the
CLEVELAND CENTRAL BRANCH METAL & MACHINERY WORKERS
INDUSTRIAL UNION 440
INDUSTRIAL WORKERS OF THE WORLD
311 Blackstone Bldg. 1426 West 3rd Street
Cleveland 13, Ohio


HOW TO CONDUCT IWW BUSINESS MEETINGS

How to conduct oneself in a business meeting as Chairman, Recording Secretary or as a member of the body is a necessity if the greatest effectiveness is to be obtained from our organization.

It is not the fault of only the Chairman if a meeting fails to run in an orderly style. Members of the body are equally resronsible for keening a meeting in order and

the discussion along the lines which should lost probably produce the most enlightenment on all phases of the problem with which the union meeting is dealing.

Equal opportunity for all to present their views is the one guarantee we have that the greatest amount of information upon which to base a decision will be available. Rule by which we guide ourselves depend somewhat on the kind of meeting being held. Therefore much of what is contained in Robert's Rules of Order and Cushings' Manual is unnecessary in union meetings.

NO RULE GOVERNING CONDUCT OF MEETINGS IS UNCHANGEABLE and the method of changing rules found elsewhere in this pamphlet.

CHAIRMAN

The duty of,the Chairman is to see that order is maintained according to the rules adopted by the body. The Chairman should not take the attitude that he should do all the talking and explaining. A good Chairman will try to lead the discussion by asking questions which he thinks will throw more light on the subject under discussion.

A Chairman cannot make motions but some times he can suggest what kind of motion is in order. This method will help kick the meeting engine off "dead center" and speed up matters.

A Chairman should remain impartial during debate on a motion. Should he wish to join in the discussion on the motion HE SHALL FIRST RELINQUISH HIS POSITION AS CHAIRMAN and until the motion is voted on THE RECORDING SECRETARY ACTS AS THE CHAIRMAN.

A new Chairman elected for each meeting is the best union practice. In this way more get the chance to gain experience in handling the Chair.

Everyone should accept this position when the opportunity affords so that there will be no "indispensable few" who run meetings as they see fit and whose presence is absolutely necessary before a meeting can be opened. Sometimes it is adviseable however to elect a Chairman for a period of time.

RECORDING SECRETARY

The Recording Secretary writes the minutes of the meeting and acts as Chairman when the Chairman joins the debate or absents himself for a short period with other duties.

MINUTES

Minutes should record all Main Motions (if not withdrawn) Appeals from Decisions of the Chair (whether lost or sustained), all other motions not withdrawn hour of meetings, time of adjournment and Roll Call votes.

SAMPLE SET OF MINUTES

Minutes of Nonesuch Job Branch Meeting Cleveland, Ohio, November 17, 1949.

Called to order by Delegate Blank, 4:OOpm (If permanent Chairman is elected, he calls meeting to order.)

Nominations opened for Chairman (this is not necessary if permanent Chairman has been elected.)

Nominated: F.W. Doe, John Brown, F. Wortleberry

John Brown elected Chairman

J. Schultze appointed Card Conductor

Nominations opened for Recording Secretary.

Nominated: C. Edwards

C. Edwards elected Recording Secretary.

Card Conductor reported 20 members in good standing.

Moved, seconded, and carried (M/S/C) that the card conductor's report be accepted.

Reading of Minutes

M/S/C that minutes of previous meeting be accepted as read.

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

M/S/C that report of Shop Committee be accepted as progress.

M/S/C that report of Grievance Committee be accepted.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Note all motions under this head whether lost or carried.

NEW BUSINESS

Only record motions that have carried.

NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS

Nominations, name committee, and those elected.

GOOD AND WELFARE

Who spoke and a few words on what they said.

M/S/C that we adjourn.

adjourned at 5:15pm

C. Edwards Card No. . . . John Brown Card No. . . .
Recording Secretary Chairman

ORDER OF BUSINESS FOR MEETING

1. Opening and calling meeting to order.

2. Reading of minutes

3. Reading of applications for membership.

4. Reports of Committees, standing and special.

5. Reports of Delegates and Officers.

6. Reading of communications and bills.

7. Monthly Report of Financial Secretary

8. Unfinished Business.

9. New Business.

10. Nominations and Elections.

11. Good and Welfare.

12. Adjournment.

(Note: some of these can be eliminated.)

CONDUCT OF MEETING

To make a motion a member must ask for the Permission of speaking by getting recognition from the Chair by standing up, raising up his hand or raising his voice. When the Chairman informs you it is in order to speak.

A motion must be seconded before the Chair man states it.

After the Chairman states or repeats the motion discussion is in order.

The maker of the motion has first chance to speak on a motion. He is also permitted the last talk before discussion is closed and the vote taken.

The seconder of a motion has second chance to speak on a motion.

For simple motion the routine is:

1. Motion made.

2. Motion seconded.

3. Discussion.

4. Vote:

5. Statement of Chairman whether or not the motion carried.

Discussion shall be confined to the subject of the motion.

Point of Order may be called by a member of the Chairman if they think that the discussion is wandering.

The Chairman shall decide Points of Order.

*  *  *

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

During the discussion of a motion it may be seen that something else should be done. Maybe it is unwise for such a motion to appear in the minutes, someone may wish to add something to the motion or amend it, or elect a committee to look after the matter. Following (in large letters) are a number of things one may want to do and (in small letters) the ways in which these things can be done:

INTRODUCE BUSINESS

Make a motion

CHANGE OR MODIFY

Make a motion to amend by substitution, adding or striking out.

DELAY ACTION

Make a motion to (a) postpone to set time, (b) to make a special order of business for special or following meeting, and (c) to table (undebateable)

LET A FEW ATTEND TO THE MATTER

Move that a committee look after it.

PREVENT MOTION BEING VOTED ON OR APPEARING IN THE MINUTES

Move that motion be withdrawn (undebateable)

SUPPRESS A QUESTION

Move objection to consideration before any debate has gone on (undebateable, no second)

Move to postpone indefinitely

Move to table (is only temporary)

FIX TIME TO ATTEND TO MATTER

Move to postpone to set time.

LIMIT DEBATE

Move to limit debate.

STOP FURTHER DEBATE

Move the previous question (this orders immediate vote, undebateable)

DO SOMETHING CONTRARY TO RULES

Move to suspend rules.

Note: These motions have priority [...] as in order of the following list, the first taking precedence over those underneath:

Fix time to which to adjourn

To committee

Adjourn or recess Amend
Points of order Postpone indefinitely
Table or take from table Main Motion

Previous question

It is not in order to vote on the Main Question so long as any of the motions above it are before the body:

Example :

X moves that the membership go on strike for on increase in wages. Y seconds his motion. To test out the feeling for such action Z moves that it be postponed indefinitely. W seconds this motion. Before the Main Motion (to go on strike) can be voted on the motion to postpone indefinitely must be voted on. If it carries further discussion about the strike is out of order for the rest of the meeting. But if it doesn't carry further discussion is in order.

Then perhaps T is in favor of a strike providing certain conditions prevail. He makes a motion to amend the Main Motion. He gets a second. Again the amendment must be voted on before a vote is taken on the Main Motion. If the Amendment loses a vote is still in order on the Main Motion. But if the amendment carries, it carries the Motion with it. Always the Motion above must be disposed first before the one lower down is voted on. A motion higher in the list always "holds over" those lower down and are in order according to their priority on the list.

POINTS OF ORDER OR INFORMATION are always in order.

APPEALS FROM THE DECISION OF CHAIR

When a member thinks the decision of the Chairman is incorrect, or biased, he can appeal to the body. The member appealing upon gaining the floor states "I appeal from the decision of the Chair." The Chairman then relinquished the Chair and the Recording Secretary-takes the gavel. The Chairman gives the reasons he ruled as he did and the appealer states why he thinks the ruling incorrect. it vote is taken of the body to decide who is correct. If the Chair-man is sustained his ruling stands, if he is not sustained his ruling is not valid. The Chairman then resumes the chair. Sometimes to relieve him-self of the responsibility of making the decision the chairman welcomes an appeal. The responsibility then is thrown on the assembly.

RESCIND action of former meeting. This is. a Main Motion. Only one who has voted in favor of an action can move to rescind.

RECONSIDER a question has the object of coming to another decision in view of new or further information.

WITHDRAW A MOTION A member may withdraw a motion before the Chairman has stated it. Once the chairman has stated the motion a motion can be made (requiring no second) to withdraw the motion and without debate a vote is called for. If a motion to withdraw is carried the motion is not written in the minutes.

OPEN DISCUSSION When just what action take on a subject is doubtful it is a practice to make a notion "to open the floor for discussion on so and so." During the discussion perhaps any action sill be seen to be undesirable, perhaps the best action to take will be discovered. When discussion is exhausted on a subject a motion is in order "to close discussion."

OBJECTION TO CONSIDERATION

Questions that are introduced that are not in accord with the aims and objects of the organization, or are irrelevant, should be ruled out of order by the Chair. An "appeal" may be taken from this ruling.

If the Chair wishes, he may ask for an appeal to be taken from his ruling, thus protecting himself from the responsibility of a decision.

The Chair can put a motion "all those who object to consideration" on his own responsibility.

If a member moves a "no consideration" motion, no second is required and it is undebateable and unamendable.

It must be made before there is any debate, or before a subsidiary motion is stated.

A motion ruled objectionable by the Chair or by a vote of the assembly cannot be introduced during a session again except by unanimous consent.


Transcribed by J. D. Crutchfield from a photocopy of a mimeographed document, kindly provided by F. W. Robert Rush.

Last updated 6 March 2005