Constitution

PREAMBLE

We, the unionized editorial workers of Pageant Media, US, believe in our collective responsibility of self-government. Our mission is to ensure for our union members dignity and a zealous, universal advocacy — individually and collectively — so that we may better our fellow workers, our workplace, and our company. We believe that a workplace is only as strong as its weakest link, and that we as a union have a duty to set an example for the company as a whole for what it can and should be. 

We prioritize diverse leadership that reflects, respects, and advocates for the totality of our office in solidarity and proactive anti-bigotry. Protecting diversity of gender and sex, race and ethnicity, religion, sexuality, nationality, class, ability, and other vulnerable demographics shall be always on the forefront of our common defense.

Our union is a democratic one, both structurally and culturally. We believe that union officers shall be accountable for performing their assigned functions. Accountability means that they shall encourage democratic participation of all union members in accomplishing their tasks, but the officers themselves shall be accountable for ensuring the tasks’ completion. There is no union member more important or powerful than another. 

The Pageant Media Workers’ Guild shall have, at a minimum, a unionwide meeting every month. The Stewards shall have, at a minimum, a meeting every month. The Unit Council shall also have, at a minimum, a meeting every week.

Article I: ELECTIONS

Elections shall take place annually using a neutral, secret process, with Steward elections taking place 10 working days after the Unit Council elections. This will allow people who did not win a place in Unit Council to run for a Stewardship position if they so choose. 

Election Guidelines

Unit Council: Each member of the union will have one vote each for the Unit Chair, the Vice Chair, and the Operations Chair. For each position, the candidate with the highest number of votes received will be the winner. No set majority is required. A person may only run for one position each.    

Stewards: Each member of the union will have one vote for each open position. Voters must use ALL available votes, but may not use more than one vote towards any candidate. Candidates receiving the highest number of votes corresponding to the number of available seats will win seats as Stewards. No set majority is required.      

Nominations must be submitted no fewer than seven working days before their election. Ballots must be finalized five working days before their election. Any person can anonymously nominate anyone else to be on the ballot, including themselves, and a person may refuse a nomination before the ballots are finalized. No person may hold more than one office, with the exception of the Bargaining Committee.

If there aren’t enough candidates interested in a Stewardship or a Unit Council position, the existing Unit Council shall recruit to fill the positions. It is incumbent on the union as a whole to ensure that there are enough candidates for Steward and Unit Council. 

Ballots shall include phrasing on the ballots that clearly and consistently explains the titles and responsibilities of the roles, as well as the following language: “PMWG seeks diverse and inclusive leadership that reflects the union we strive to be and sets an example for the company as a whole.”

Tiebreakers: Any ties shall result in successive runoff elections until a winner is chosen.

Challenge elections: Two-thirds of the unit must support any challenged election claim, in which case the challenged election shall be reheld.  

Term limits: No union member can serve on Unit Council for more than six years total, nor can any union member serve as Steward for more than six years, which means nobody will be able to serve for more than a total of 12 years.

Article II: UNIT COUNCIL

The Unit Chair shall be primarily accountable for wider NewsGuild coordination, and serve as primary contact for local officers and staff, PMWG Stewards, and Pageant management. The Unit Chair will also serve on the Bargaining Committee. The Unit Chair must be able to resolve any questions of law, procedure, or the collective bargaining agreement, or contact relevant people in the union to do so.

The Vice Chair shall be a secondary resource for wider NewsGuild coordination. The Vice Chair must also be able to answer questions of law, procedure, or the collective bargaining agreement. The Vice Chair shall be responsible for diversity and inclusion issues. The Vice Chair shall be accountable for organizing social events. The Vice Chair will automatically become Acting Unit Chair in the event of the Unit Chair’s departure.

Operations Chair shall be in charge of communications, responsible for scheduling meetings, taking notes and distributing them, and implementing social media that expresses the will of the union. The Operations Chair shall have bookkeeping oversight as it arises.

Article III: SHOP STEWARDS

Stewards shall be elected in a separate election 10 working days after the Unit Council elections. While nobody can hold multiple offices, members may run for Steward if they have lost a Unit Council election.

There shall be one Steward for every eight union members, meaning that, for example, an eight-member shop shall have one Steward and a nine-member shop shall have two. 

Stewards shall be the first line of defense for union members in handling potential violations of contract or law. Stewards shall also ensure that union member concerns are brought to the attention of the Unit Council. Stewards are capable of accompanying coworkers into meetings with management and initiating grievance procedures where appropriate. Stewards shall be responsible for knowing about the inner workings of every department in the unit, not just the one they happen to work in.

Article IV: BARGAINING COMMITTEE AND TABLE TEAM

The Bargaining Committee shall be composed of recruited and interested union members responsible for overseeing the collective bargaining process. The Bargaining Committee’s duty shall be to conduct any necessary research to ensure that members’ interests are protected. The committee should also be aware of member priorities and concerns and be prepared to update membership when appropriate. The Bargaining Committee must meet once a week, at a minimum, while bargaining is ongoing. 

The Table Team, which will attend all bargaining negotiation meetings, shall be composed of three members: the Unit Chair, and two others, who shall be elected by the Bargaining Committee. 

If the Unit Chair loses their position in an election, the new Unit Chair shall join the Table Team in their place. The departing Chair may remain on the Bargaining Committee at their own discretion and that of the Bargaining Committee. 

If the Operations Chair is not on the Table Team, the Table Team will appoint a minute-taker from within their number who will file reports with the Operations Chair. 

Article V: SUCCESSION, EARLY LEAVING, EXTENDED ABSENCE

If a Unit Council member other than Unit Chair leaves before their term expires, the combined Unit Council and Stewards shall elect a replacement from the pool of Stewards and Operations Chair to serve until the next election. Any remaining vacancies shall be appointed by the Unit Council. If the Unit Chair departs, the Vice Chair shall become the Acting Unit Chair and the combined councilors and Stewards shall elect a replacement Vice Chair from the remaining number. If the Operations Chair is elected as new Vice Chair, a replacement Operations Chair will be elected from the pool of Stewards.

Unit Council members taking extended absences for medical leave, family leave, or vacation beyond two weeks may appoint their temporary replacement from the pool of Stewards for the duration of their absence, and the Steward shall act in both roles temporarily.

If a Steward leaves before their term expires, or takes an extended absence for medical leave, family leave, or vacation beyond two weeks, the Unit Council must appoint a replacement, chosen from the workers’ unit, to serve the rest of their term or the duration of their extended absence.

If a Table Team member leaves permanently, there shall be a special election within the Bargaining Committee to pick their replacement. If a Table Team member has an extended temporary absence, such as for family or medical leave, it will be up to the discretion of the departing member and the Bargaining Committee whether the unit should find a replacement or wait for their return.

Article VI: HOLDING LEADERSHIP TO ACCOUNT

Vote of No Confidence:

A vote of no confidence requires one-third of the union members to openly raise a complaint about a Steward, Unit Council member, Committee member, or Table Team member calling for a vote of no confidence session. Complaints may include, but are not limited to: corruption, bad faith effort, adverse/disloyal interest, gross misconduct, intimidation or harassment. Cannot impeach based on policy or strategic reasons alone, as that is for elections. 

Once made public, the respondent shall have a right of reply in the no confidence session before the entire union votes on whether to remove the person from their office or committee appointment. Votes of no confidence should take place 10 working days after the public complaint. An officer is removed when more than two-thirds of the entire unit membership votes to remove them.

If a Steward or Unit Council member is removed, the Unit Council will appoint someone to fill their position for the remainder of their term. If a Table Team member is removed, there shall be a special election within the Bargaining Committee to pick their replacement.

Other complaints: 

If a union member seeks to redress a grievance without resorting to a vote of no confidence, they may do so by raising an issue with any shop Steward, any committee member, or any Unit Council member. The officer that receives the complaint shall owe a duty to the complaining union member to ensure its appropriate resolution. 

Amendments to the Constitution:

Amendments to the Constitution can be proposed by one-third of unit members in a monthly meeting forum. The entire union shall vote on whether to amend the constitution 10 working days after the public proposal in order to allow time for the matter to be debated. Amendments must be approved by more than two-thirds of the entire unit to take effect.