Run effective meetings
A clear, workable agenda is key to a successful meeting.
USJE has created an AGM agenda template that can be used for AGMs and modified for other meetings.
Here are some tips on creating a good agenda:
- When sending the meeting invitation to members, send a request for agenda topics. You may send a draft agenda with your message if you have one available.
- Begin the agenda with a welcome and introductions (and/or the sharing of a sign-in sheet).
- The next item of business should be a vote to approve the agenda and then a vote to approve the minutes.
- Following this, the USJE Statement on Harassment should be read. Always designate one trusted member of the meeting to hear any harassment complaints.
- Include the names of people who will introduce or present each item, if possible.
- Order agenda items strategically, ensuring you get to the key items of the meeting early.
- You may want to set a time limit for each item. Some facilitators prefer to do this, while others just keep their eye on the clock to ensure that all key items are addressed and that the meeting ends on time.
- Schedule breaks if the meeting will be long.
- Include an item at the end for new business.
Best practice: Send your meeting invitation and draft agenda out at least a week in advance. You can still make changes to the agenda and present the new one at the start of the meeting.
AGM agenda template: usje-sesj.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Notice-of-AGM-with-Agenda_EN.docx
USJE Statement on Harassment: usje-sesj.com/en/local-officer-toolbox/harassment/harassment-in-the-union/
All USJE Local meetings require a quorum — a minimum number of voting members who must be in attendance — for business to be conducted and decisions taken. You can run an informational meeting to discuss issues without a quorum so long as no decisions are taken.
Your Local’s quorum is found in your Local bylaws.
If your Local bylaws do not identify the number you require for a quorum, the Local must pass an amendment identifying a number.
If your Local needs any assistance with writing an amendment on a quorum, please contact your RVP.
Local bylaws: If your Local President does not have a copy of your Local bylaws, they can contact the National Office Finance and Administration Team at USJEfinanceSESJ@psac-afpc.com.
The President ordinarily chairs Local meetings, with a Vice-President chairing if the President is not present. However, the job of chairing a meeting can fall to any Officer in the rare case that the President and Vice- President are absent. In addition, if the chair is presenting an item, another Local Officer takes the chair for that item.
Your meeting should follow PSAC Rules of Order. For any procedural question not covered by PSAC Rules, follow Bourinot’s Rules of Order.
Best practice: Have a meeting sign-in sheet that includes space for attendees to sign, print their names and give their current home email addresses. This sign-in sheet will give you a full list of members to show quorum for any resolutions passed or decisions taken.
PSAC Rules of Order: psacunion.ca/rules-order-psac-meetings
Bourinot’s Rules of Order: usje-sesj.com/local-officer-handbook/bourinots-rules-of-order
Local Officers are expected to follow USJE Guiding Principles at all times. As you carry out your duties, remember to:
- Act with honesty and integrity
- Respect all members
- Be a champion of the Duty to Accommodate and the Duty of Fair Representation (DFR). For a definition of DFR, please see page 49 in the Local Officer Handbook
- Do not gossip or take a side in a conflict
- Remember that you represent all members
USJE Guiding Principles: usje-sesj.com/principles
Statement on Harassment
It is important to identify a trusted person to be the point of contact for anyone who has a harassment complaint related to a Local meeting. This could be your RVP if they are at the meeting or another trusted member.
Make sure to read the USJE Statement on Harassment at the start of your meetings and ensure the person handling complaints is announced.
Most provinces and territories in Canada have adopted strong antiharassment and anti-bullying laws. We encourage you to conduct yourself responsibly.
Inappropriate behavior ranges from offensive remarks to physical violence, and can include name-calling, distasteful jokes and demeaning characterizations of other members or work colleagues with whom you disagree. None of these behaviours is acceptable, and engaging in any of them will diminish your legitimacy and that of the Union. All debate should be conducted with dignity, decorum and respect for the opinions of others.
Bullying, name-calling and other aggressive behaviours are never to be tolerated.
USJE Statement on Harassment: usje-sesj.com/local-officer-toolbox/harassment/harassment-in-theunion
Minutes provide a record of decisions, actions, participation and other useful information from your meeting. Ask someone to take meeting minutes, preferably in advance of the meeting. Try to send out meeting minutes as soon as possible after the meeting.
The minutes should follow the order of the agenda and include:
- Names of attendees (you can attach the sign-in sheet from the meeting)
- Name of Local
- Date of meeting
- Adoption of previous meeting’s minutes
- Name of the chair, minute-taker and Local Officers in attendance
- Brief summaries of each agenda item and any decisions made
- All motions – names of movers and seconders, whether motion carried or defeated
- All follow-up actions, person(s) delegated and deadline for completion
Make your minutes as brief as possible while covering all the information above.