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UAW Constitution -- UAW Ethical Practices Codes

Approved by the 35th Constitutional Convention
June, 2010

The UAW is proud of its democratic heritage. Its Constitution is carefully designed to insure each member her/his full democratic right, both as an individual and through her/his elected representatives, to express her/himself freely and to participate at all levels in the decisions governing the Union. Moreover, individual rights as a UAW member are protected against infringement or abuse, for a member may appeal complaints concerning the administration of the Union, to the Local Union, the International Executive Board and the Constitutional Convention; and has the right to submit her/his appeal to the UAW Public Review Board, comprised of citizens with national reputations outside the labor movement, whose decisions are final and binding.

The democratic principles which have always governed the International Union, UAW, and its Local Unions are:

1. Each member shall be entitled to a full share in Union self-government. Each member shall have full freedom of speech and the right to participate in the democratic decisions of the Union. Subject to reasonable rules and regulations, each member shall have the right to run for office, to nominate and to vote in free, fair and honest elections. In a democratic union, as in a democratic society, every member has certain rights but s/he also must accept certain corresponding obligations. Each member shall have the right freely to criticize the policies and personalities of Union officials; however, this does not include the right to undermine the Union as an institution; to vilify other members of the Union and its elected officials or to carry on activities with complete disregard of the rights of other members and the interests of the Union; to subvert the Union in collective bargaining or to advocate or engage in dual unionism.

2. Membership meetings shall be held regularly, with proper notice of time and place and shall be conducted in an atmosphere of fairness.

3. All Union rules and laws must be fairly and uniformly applied and disciplinary procedures, including adequate notice, full rights of the accused and the right to appeal, shall be fair and afford full due process to each member.

4. Each Local Union shall maintain adequate safeguards so that all of its operations shall be conducted in a  democratic and fair manner. No corruption, discrimination or anti-democratic procedure shall ever be permitted under any circumstances.

Financial Practices

Union funds are held in sacred trust for the benefit of the membership. The membership is entitled to assurance that Union funds are not dissipated and are spent for proper purposes. The membership is also entitled to be reasonably informed as to how Union funds are invested or used.

1. The International Union and its Local Unions shall conduct their proprietary functions, including all contracts for purchase or sale or for rendering housekeeping services in accordance with the practice of well-run institutions, including the securing of competitive bids for major contracts.

2. The International Union and its Local Unions shall not permit any of their funds to be invested in a manner which results in the personal profit or advantage of any officer or representative of the Union.

3. There shall be no contracts of purchase or sale or for rendering services which will result in the personal profit or advantage of any officer or representative of the Union. Nor shall any officer, representative or employee of the International Union or any Local Union accept personal profit or special advantage from a business with which the Union bargains collectively.

4. Neither the International Union nor any of its Local Unions shall make loans to its officers, representatives, employees or members, or members of their families, for the purpose of financing the private business of such persons.

Health, Welfare and Retirement Funds

1. No official, representative or employee of the International Union or a Local Union shall receive fees or salaries of any kind from a fund established for the provision of health, welfare or retirement benefits, except for reasonable reimbursement provided for in a collective bargaining agreement and expressly approved by the International Executive Board.

2. No official, employee or other person acting as agent or representative of the International Union or a Local Union, who exercises responsibilities or influence in the administration of health, welfare and retirement programs or the placement of insurance contracts, shall have any compromising personal ties, direct or indirect, with outside agencies such as insurance carriers, brokers, or consultants doing business with the health, welfare and retirement plans.

3. Complete records of the financial operations of all UAW health, welfare and retirement funds and programs shall be maintained in accordance with the best accounting practice. Each such fund shall be audited regularly.

4. All such audit reports shall be available to the members of the Union covered by the fund.

5. The trustees or administrators of such funds shall make a full disclosure and report to the members covered by the fund at least once each year.

Business and Financial Activities of Union Officials

Any person who represents the UAW and its members, whether elected or appointed, has a sacred trust to serve the best interests of the members and their families. Therefore, every officer and representative must avoid any outside transaction which even gives the appearance of a conflict of interest. The special fiduciary nature of Union office requires the highest loyalty to the duties of the office.

1. The mailing lists of the Union are valuable assets. In order to protect the interests of our entire membership, Union officers and representatives shall not, under any circumstances, turn over a Union mailing list to an outsider for use in the promotion or sale of any goods or services that benefit an individual or a private concern. Mailing lists are to be used only to promote the necessary legitimate functions of the Local Union and for no other purpose. It is improper for any official or representative of either the International Union or Local Union to permit the use of any mailing list by any third party to promote the sale of furniture, appliances, automobiles, insurance, eyeglasses or any other item, or to enable professionals to solicit the membership.

2. No officer or representative shall have a personal financial interest which conflicts with her/his Union duties.

3. No officer or representative shall have any substantial financial interest (even in the publicly-traded, widely-held stock of a corporation except for stock- purchase plans, profit sharing or nominal amounts of such stock), in any business with which the UAW bargains. An officer or representative shall not have any substantial interest in a business with which the UAW bargains collectively.

4. No officer or representative shall accept "kickbacks," under-the-table payments, valuable gifts, lavish entertainment or any personal payment of any kind, other than regular pay and benefits for work performed as an employee from an employer with which the Union bargains or from a business or professional enterprise with which the Union does business.

5. The principles of this Code, of course, apply to investments and activities of third parties, where they amount to a subterfuge to conceal the financial interests of such officials or representatives.