Chapter Chair Role in UTLA Elections
What is the role of chapter chairs in citywide elections?
Unlike voting for contract ratification and other UTLA policy changes that take place at worksites, the Citywide UTLA elections are conducted by ballots mailed to members’ homes. Chapter Chairs play a vital role in ensuring that the UTLA elections are conducted in a manner that is fair and encourages the full and informed participation of all the UTLA members at their school. The Elections Committee requests that Chapter Chairs explain the UTLA election process to their staff and allow all candidates the opportunity to speak with their staff at a Chapter Meeting. Throughout the campaign, we ask that Chapter Chairs distribute all candidates’ written materials and encourage all members to vote. During the pandemic we request that Chapter Chairs forward flyers and other written materials via email to their chapter members and allow candidates to speak at their Virtual Chapter Meetings.
The chapter chair’s role is especially important in the post-Janus era. UTLA must make every effort to protect member information. As a result, candidates will not be able to purchase member lists with addresses and phone numbers. Qualified candidates will be given the Chapter Chair and Area Director Contact Information for their Area or Citywide lists for Citywide offices. The information will include the chapter chair’s name, school, email, and phone number. Candidates will be contacting chapter chairs to request an opportunity to speak with their staff.
Chapter chairs have the following rights:
Chapter chairs have the right to endorse or to refrain from endorsing any candidate for UTLA office and the right to inform other members of their endorsement, provided that they do not use any UTLA resources to do so.
Chapter chairs have the right to approve or deny permission for candidates to campaign at their worksite. However, it is their duty to base their decision on reasonable grounds—such as scheduling issues or logistical concerns—rather than on partisan considerations.
Chapter chairs have the following duties:
It is their duty to ensure that all candidates have a reasonable and equal opportunity to communicate with the members at their school, regardless of their personal decision to endorse or oppose any particular candidate(s). For example, if a chapter chair puts one candidate’s flyers in teacher mailboxes, they need to do the same for all candidates. (During the pandemic, we are asking Chapter Chairs to email all candidate flyers to their members.)
During the pandemic UTLA is not publishing the United Teacher so Chapter Chairs have an even more important role making sure all their site members are informed. To help ensure an informed membership, chapter chairs should encourage candidates (or their representatives) to visit during Virtual Chapter Meetings. Chapter chairs should also encourage their members to view the candidate statements, photo and flyers at utlaelections.org . In addition to flyers and statements, candidates also have the option to post social media links on the utlaelections.org website. Chapter Chairs might consider navigating through the utlaelections.org website during a chapter meeting so they can point out where members can learn more about the candidates and the election process. There is an Orientation for Voters on the website under Members. Offer to help any member who has problems with online voting or who does not receive their ballot and please have them email email@example.com if they still are unable to vote.
In order to engage members in the election process, you might discuss what your chapter expects from the EEC Director. What questions would the chapter like candidates to answer? Chapter Chairs may email those questions to candidates and request answers via email or a visit. Chapter Chairs may consider adding positive reminders in emails they send to their chapter members telling them the number of days left to vote. If members want to use the paper ballot, encourage them to mail it at least a week before the January 11th deadline. Throughout this process it is important that Chapter Chairs do not interfere with member privacy and ballot choices.
Please contact us with any questions or concerns.
The UTLA Elections Committee