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UAW Constitution -- Trials of Members

ARTICLE 31

Section 1. A charge by a member or members in good standing that a member or members have violated this Constitution or engaged in conduct unbecoming a member of the Union must be specifically set forth in writing and signed by the member or members making the charges. The charges must state the exact nature of the alleged offense or offenses and, if possible, the period of time during which the offense or offenses allegedly took place. Two (2) or more members may be jointly charged with having participated in the same act or acts charged as an offense or with having acted jointly in commission of such an offense and may be jointly tried.

Section 2. Charges must be submitted to the Recording Secretary of the Local Union or of the Unit Workplace Organization, as the case may be, within sixty (60) days of the time the complainant first be came aware, or reasonably should have been aware, of the alleged offense; provided, that if the charges are against the Recording Secretary, they shall be submitted to the President of the Local Union or the chief executive officer of the Unit Workplace Organization, as the case may be, and provided further, that charges preferred against one for acts or conduct detrimental to the interest of the Union or its members, committed while s/he was out of the Union on withdrawal card, shall be submitted within sixty (60) days from the time of the deposit of her/his withdrawal card.

Section 3. Upon charges being submitted, it is mandatory that a trial be held unless the charges are withdrawn by the accuser or considered by the Union to be improper under this Article.

Prior to the notification to a member that charges have been filed against her/him, the Local Union Executive Board or, in the case of an Amalgamated Local Union, the Unit Workplace Organization of which s/he is a member, shall review the charges and consider them improper if:

(a) The charges do not state the exact nature of the alleged offense as required by Section 1 of this Article;

(b) The charges are untimely under Section 2 of this Article;

(c) The act complained of does not sustain a charge of a violation of the Constitution or conduct unbecoming a member of the Union;

(d) The charges involve a question which should be decided by the membership at a membership meeting and not by the trial procedure.

(e) In all cases, an otherwise proper charge(s) must be supported by substantial direct evidence, as well as the evidence of at least one (1) corroborating witness, which, if not rebutted, would establish all elements of the charge(s).

Both the accused and the accuser shall be notified in writing of the Executive Board's or Unit Workplace Organization's determination and either the accused or the accuser may appeal from such determination, pursuant to Article 33, Section 3(d). Such an appeal must be limited to the question of whether the charges are proper or improper under items (a), (b), (c), (d) or (e) of this Section.

If a trial is ordered by the Local Union Executive Board and this order is appealed, no such trial shall be held until the matter has been submitted to, and an order thereon received, from the International President.

Section 4. A member against whom proper charges have been filed shall be notified of such charges by receipted registered or certified mail within seven (7) days after the charges have been reviewed, as provided in Section 3 of this Article, by the Local Union Executive Board or, in the case of an Amalgamated Local Union, by the Unit Workplace Organization of which s/he is a member.

Section 5. A member preferring charges, and a member against whom charges are preferred, shall be permitted representation by counsel of the member's own choice; such counsel, however, shall be required to abide by the Trial Procedure as established by the Trial Committee and as outlined in this Constitution.

Section 6. A member against whom charges have been filed may be suspended from any elective or appointive office or position s/he may hold in her/his Local Union or Unit, as the case may be, pending trial, by a two-thirds (2/3) vote at such Local Union or Unit membership meeting.

Section 7. The accused member shall be tried by a Trial Committee selected by drawing names from the members attending the first Local Union or Amalgamated Local Union unit meeting which is held at least five (5) days after the notification to the member charged. The presiding officer at the meeting shall cause uniform cards bearing the names of each member in attendance at that meeting (with the exception of the presiding officer, the presiding officer's designee to draw the cards, the charging member, the charged member, and any representatives designated by either of them as counsel), to be placed in a container. A list of the names of members appearing on those cards shall be kept in the order in which they are drawn.

(a) In Local Unions or units of Amalgamated Local Unions with a membership of five hundred (500) or more, a total of nineteen (19) names shall be so drawn. The names shall be read off in the order in which drawn. It shall be an obligation of the membership for any member whose name has been drawn to serve on the Trial Committee; provided that any such member who feels that s/he cannot serve for good and sufficient reasons may state those reasons to the meeting and withdraw. If any of the nineteen (19) named members shall so withdraw, additional names shall be drawn so that the list shall again total nineteen (19). The charging member and charged member, or their designated counsel, shall each have the right to strike as many as five (5) names without stating any grounds or reasons, it being intended that each side be limited to five (5) challenges even though more than one (1) charged or charging party is involved. The Trial Committee shall consist of the seven (7) members whose names were first drawn, and neither withdrawn nor stricken, and the next two (2) members in order of drawing who have not been withdrawn nor stricken shall serve as alternates.

(b) In Local Unions authorized under Article 37, Section 4, to hold annual general membership meetings with monthly meetings of a workplace council, Trial Committees may be selected at the monthly meetings of the plant or workplace council.

(c) In Local Unions or units of Amalgamated Local Unions with a membership of more than two hundred (200) but less than five hundred (500), the same procedure shall be followed except that the total names drawn shall be twelve (12). The Trial Committee shall consist of five (5) members and one (1) alternate, and the parties shall be limited to three (3) challenges.

(d) In Local Unions or units of Amalgamated Local Unions with a membership of two hundred (200) or less, the same procedure shall be followed except that the total names drawn shall be eight (8). The Trial Committee shall consist of three (3) members and one (1) alternate, and the parties shall be limited to two (2) challenges.

(e) If the size of a unit of an Amalgamated Local Union is such as to make application of Subsection (d) above impractical, the delegate body, or the membership of the Amalgamated Local Union if no delegate body exists shall be substituted for the unit membership as the body from which the Trial Committee is to be selected.

Section 8. Within seven (7) days after the Trial Committee has been selected, the accused member shall be notified of the time and place of the trial which shall be held not less than fifteen (15) days nor more than thirty (30) days from the date of the member's receipt of such notification. The Trial Committee shall submit its findings to the Local Union not later than sixty (60) days from the time such committee was selected.

All of the time periods provided herein may be extended by the International President where, in her/his judgment, justice will be served by such an extension.

Section 9. Any Officer, Executive Board Member or Joint Council delegate, where such council exists, if charged with a violation of the Amalgamated Local Union Bylaws or International Constitution or if charged with being derelict in performing her/his duties as a Local Union officer or failure to carry out the union obligation which s/he accepted, shall be tried by a Trial Committee selected either from the delegate body of such Amalgamated Local Union, where such delegate body exists, or from a general membership meeting where no delegate body exists. Any disciplinary action taken by said Trial Committee against such Officer, Executive Board Member, or Joint Council delegate shall be limited to her/his membership in the Joint Council or governing body of the Amalgamated Local Union.

Section 10. The Trial Committee, upon completion of the hearing on the evidence and arguments, shall go into closed session to determine the verdict and penalty. A two-thirds (2/3) vote shall be required to find the accused guilty. In case the accused is found guilty, the Trial Committee may:

(a) By a majority vote, reprimand the accused; or

(b) It may, by a two-thirds (2/3) vote, suspend or remove the accused from office or suspend or expel her/him from membership in the International Union.

The Trial Committee may not apply more than one (1) of the above two (2) penalties against the accused.

Section 11. The Trial Committee shall thereupon report its verdict and judgment to the body from which it was selected at the membership meeting of that body next following the determination of the verdict and judgment of the Trial Committee, after giving the accused written notification of its verdict and judgment and of said membership meeting. In case of a verdict of acquittal, such verdict and judgment shall become final upon being reported at said membership meeting and no further action may be taken, except as provided in Section 17 of this Article. In case of a verdict of guilty, such verdict and judgment shall become effective upon approval by a majority vote taken by secret ballot at the membership meeting. In case of a verdict of guilty, the membership meeting may, by a majority vote taken by secret ballot, modify the verdict or order a new trial. The vote shall first be upon the verdict of guilty. If such verdict is not approved by such majority vote, the accused shall stand acquitted. If the verdict of guilty is approved by such majority vote, the vote shall then be upon the penalty recommended by the Trial Committee. This vote shall be conducted by first voting by secret ballot upon the penalty recommended by the Trial Committee. If a majority vote supports the recommended penalty, it shall be considered approved. If a majority vote rejects the recommended penalty, the membership shall then decide upon an appropriate penalty by majority vote by secret ballot. The Recording Secretary shall notify the accused member in writing of the verdict and judgment resulting from that meeting.

Section 12. A member who is under suspension from membership, including a temporary suspension, shall be required to pay all dues during the period of suspension. Suspended members shall not be entitled to "Out-of-Work" credits. In the case of a workplace in which Union membership is a condition of employment, suspension from membership, including temporary suspension, shall not require removal from the job; provided that in cases of extreme emergency, removal from the job may be required by two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Local Union or unit membership suspending the member or approving the member's suspension. In the case of a workplace in which Union membership is a condition of employment, expulsion from membership shall require removal from the job. Application of this Section shall in all cases, however, be limited by applicable state or federal laws, and no provision of this Section shall be applied in any situation where the application would violate any controlling state or federal law. 

Section 13. In case the Trial Committee finds the accused obviously innocent, it may determine the honest or malicious intent of the accuser. Should the Trial Committee tentatively conclude that the accuser was guilty of obvious malice, it shall so notify her/him in writing and afford the accuser an opportunity for a hearing. If, as a result of such hearing, it finds the accuser guilty of obvious malice in filing the charges, it may assess a penalty against the accuser in accordance with Section 10 of this Article. The procedures of Sections 10 and 11 of this Article shall be followed.

Section 14. In the event the charged party is acquitted on her/his trial, the Trial Committee may determine whether the accuser should be reprimanded be cause the charge was frivolous or insubstantial. Should the Trial Committee tentatively conclude that the charge was frivolous or insubstantial, it shall so notify the accuser in writing and afford the accuser an opportunity for a hearing. If, as a result of such hearing, it finds that the charge was frivolous or insubstantial, it shall submit to the membership of the body from which it was selected, a recommendation that the accuser who filed the frivolous or insubstantial charges, be assessed a penalty in accordance with Section 10 of this Article. Such verdict and penalty in relation to the accuser shall become effective only upon approval of that membership. The procedures of Sections 10 and 11 of this Article shall be followed.

Section 15. Any higher body to which an appeal from the decision of the Trial Committee is made shall have the authority not only to accept or reject the verdict, but may modify such a verdict or order a new trial.

Section 16. Where a member against whom charges have been filed has been duly suspended in compliance with the provisions of Section 6 of this Article and has been found guilty by the Trial Committee, s/he shall have the right to attend the meeting of the Unit Workplace Organization or of the Local Union, as the case may be, in which any verdict and judgment is presented for approval, and shall be afforded full opportunity to present to the meeting her/his position on all matters bearing upon the trial, verdict and judgment.

Section 17. In any case in which a member shall have been tried upon charges alleging one or more of the following offenses:

(a) Illegally seeking or holding office or position in violation of Section 9 of Article 10;
(b) Misappropriation or embezzlement of Union funds;
(c) Fraud in a Local Union election as defined in Article 49;
(d) Any other offense concerning which the International Executive Board has the present authority to act under the emergency provisions of Article 31, Section 20; an acquittal by the Trial Committee or by the Local Union, if appealed, shall be reviewed directly by the International Executive Board pursuant to the procedures of Article 33, Section 3. Such appeal must be taken within thirty (30) days by any member of the Local Union or the Regional Director.

In case of a conviction, the penalty may be reviewed by the International Executive Board upon an appeal taken within thirty (30) days by any member of the Local Union or the Regional Director on the ground that the penalty imposed is grossly disproportionate to the gravity of the offense.

Section 18. Upon appeal from an acquittal, the International Executive Board shall review the record of the trial and subsequent proceedings in the Local Union and such other matters relevant to the charges and the appeal as it feels necessary in order to assure justice. The Board shall be empowered, if it finds that the verdict was against the great weight of the evidence, to set it aside and to order a new trial by an International Union Trial Committee in accordance with Sections 22 and 23 of this Article.

Upon appeal from a penalty, the International Executive Board may refer the penalty to an International Union Trial committee selected in accordance with Sections 22 and 23 of this Article. The International Union Trial Committee may in any such case prescribe any penalty provided by this Constitution but without reviewing the verdict of guilt.

Any decision by the International Executive Board pursuant to this Section shall be appealable through the normal procedures of Article 33, Section 3, but the action of any subsequent appellant body regardless of any other provisions of this Constitution shall be confined within the area of relief permitted by this Section.

Section 19. Any member expelled or suspended from membership for more than two (2) years may be reinstated to full membership or to membership without right to hold office or appointive position at any time after two (2) years following the final action which effected the member's expulsion or suspension. Such reinstatement may be ordered only by a majority vote of the body which initiated the action resulting in the member's expulsion or suspension; provided that if that body is subordinate to the International Executive Board, the reinstatement shall be effective only if and when it is approved by a majority vote of the International Executive Board. If the body initially passing on the petition for reinstatement denies that petition in whole or in part, it shall be subject to the normal appeal procedure provided in Article 33 of this Constitution; provided that if the initial expulsion or suspension was approved by either a Convention of the International Union or the Public Review Board, any appeal from the decision of the International Executive Board in connection with the petition for reinstatement may be appealed only to whichever of  the two (2) bodies (the Convention or the Public Review Board) passed on the initial expulsion or suspension.

Section 20. In cases of extreme emergency and when it appears to the International Executive Board that irreparable injury may result to the International Union or to a subordinate body from offenses punishable under this Constitution recently committed or being committed by any member or members unless the Board shall intervene; and, without regard to the existence of a present emergency, in any case in which it shall appear to the Board that two (2) or more members have engaged at any time since the original adoption of this Section at the Twelfth Constitutional Convention in a conspiracy to commit an offense against the Union; the Board may, if two-thirds (2/3) of its members concur, prefer charges against such member or members for the violation of this Constitution or for conduct unbecoming a member of the Union, which charges shall be specifically set forth in writing and signed by the Secretary-Treasurer of the International Union. At the same session at which any such charges are voted, the Board shall select one (1) of its members who shall serve as the representative for the Board in the trial of the charges.

Section 21. If it shall be charged by the International Executive Board that two (2) or more members have participated in the same act or acts charged as an offense or having acted jointly in the commission of an offense, or have engaged in a conspiracy to commit an offense punishable under this Constitution, any such members may be jointly tried.

Section 22. Charges preferred against a member or members by the International Executive Board shall be tried by an International Union Trial Committee chosen in the manner provided for the selection of such a committee in Article 30, Sections 5 through 12 inclusive, except that the accused and the representative for the International Executive Board shall each be entitled to strike only five (5) names from the panel. In cases where two (2) or more members are charged jointly, the panel drawn by the Secretary-Treasurer shall consist of a number of names equal of fifty (50), plus ten (10) times the number by which the number of accused exceeds one (1); so that if there are two (2) accused, sixty (60) names shall be drawn; if three (3) are accused seventy (70) names shall be drawn, and so on. Each of the accused shall be entitled to strike five (5) names and the representative for the International Executive Board shall be entitled to strike a number equal to five (5) times the number of accused. The accused shall proceed in striking names from the panel in the alphabetical order of their names and in the manner provided in Article 30, Section 7.

Section 23.  Upon completion of the trial, the International Union Trial Committee shall go into closed session to determine the verdict and penalty. A two- thirds (2/3) vote shall be required to find the accused guilty. In the event the accused is found guilty, the International Union Trial Committee may impose the penalties provided by Section 10 of this Article. In the event the International Union Trial Committee finds the accused guilty, the accused may appeal the decision to the Convention Appeals Committee or the Public Review Board in the same way as provided in Article 33 for an appeal from a decision of the International Executive Board. In the event the International Union Trial Committee finds the accused not guilty the decision shall be final.

Section 24. Whenever it is charged that a member is affirmatively engaged in the promotion, implementation, furtherance or support of any other union or collective bargaining group with the purpose or intent of supplanting the International Union, or any subordinate body thereof, as the recognized collective bargaining agent, or if the member is affirmatively engaged in efforts to decertify the International Union or any subordinate body thereof as the recognized collective bargaining agent, such charge will be filed with the International Executive Board and a copy shall be sent to such member. The member shall be subject to suspension or expulsion by the International Executive Board after hearing on such charges, with the Board designating a special committee to conduct a hearing and make recommendations in a manner similar to that provided for the operation of International Executive Board Appeals Committees under Article 33 of this Constitution.

The special committee shall make recommendations to the International Executive Board which recommendations shall be processed by the International Executive Board in the same manner that it processes recommendations of said Appeals Committees; provided that if the special committee recommends that the charged member be suspended or expelled, it shall have the authority to temporarily suspend the charged member until the International Executive Board has taken action on the recommendations. The International Executive Board, if it finds the member guilty of the offense charged by a two-thirds (2/3) vote, may suspend or expel the member. Any member suspended or expelled under this Section shall have the right to appeal such suspension or expulsion either to the Public Review Board or the Convention Appeals Committee as provided in Article 33 of this Constitution. The procedure provided for in this Section shall be in addition to and exclusive of, any other action which may be taken against such member.