The “job” of all union leaders is to advance their members’ interests. Well-run union locals solve workplace problems and represent their members by negotiating collective agreements. They ensure that employers live up to contract commitments and legal responsibilities that affect members at work.
The local executive coordinates membership activities, providing members with information, advice, funds, knowledge and support to effectively deal with their workplace concerns.
Executive members play a key role in reaching out to involve all the members of the local, taking particular care to involve young workers, workers of colour and Aboriginal members, and members from other equity seeking groups.
They may also represent the local membership in broader community coalitions, at the district labour council and to the public.
The elected president is responsible for the local union’s administration, for diagnosing problems and for working out ways to deal with them. A president must communicate with all members and know how they feel about issues to effectively lead and represent the membership’s interests when dealing with the employer.
A president’s job includes: talking with members, chairing meetings, reporting on local union activities, assigning tasks and setting deadlines, sitting on committees, observing CUPE’s constitution and by-laws, and working with the CUPE representative and area office. As well, the president may serve as the local’s spokesperson at conventions or news conferences.
The elected vice-president performs duties delegated by the president and takes over the president’s responsibilities when the president is absent.
The elected recording secretary is responsible for the local’s record keeping and written communication. A recording secretary keeps members informed on issues of concern to the local and union activities. Duties include: maintain records and local’s files, take meeting minutes, ensure internal communication among the executive and members, handle external communication including forwarding contracts to CUPE National, and order office supplies.
The elected secretary-treasurer is responsible for the local union’s money. The secretary-treasurer sees that the local’s spending priorities reflect the members’ goals. As the person responsible for the union’s finances, she or he develops the budget, ensures there is approval for all expenditures, prepares the necessary cheques and paperwork and keeps financial records up-to-date. The secretary-treasurer also ensure the per capita is paid to CUPE National in a timely manner.