This is a temporary constitution, pending revisions over the summer of 2019:

UPDATED 11/13/2017

Academic Labor United (ALU) exists in order to empower and represent the rank-and-file graduate workers of the University of Hawaiʻi and commits itself to union democracy, the fight for improved working conditions, the right to collective bargaining, the defense of academic freedom, and the pursuit of justice.

The name of this Union local shall be Academic Labor United (henceforth referred to as ‘the Union’ or ‘ALU’).

The goals of this union shall be as follows:

●        Organizing: To build solidarity among graduate workers and empower them in the workplace and the University community.

●        Collective Representation and Bargaining: To act as the legal Steward for graduate workers in negotiations with the University administration and any other relevant body over terms and conditions of employment and, when applicable, student status.

●        Education: To promote affordable and high quality instruction and research at the University, in accordance with its mission as a public land, sea, and space grant institution, to advocate for education access and opportunity for the people of Hawaiʻi, and to develop the University as an active center of Hawaiian learning.

●        Community and Solidarity: To foster a sense of community and solidarity among graduate workers at the University, within our local community, and with the Hawaiʻi labor movement.

●        Social Justice: To cooperate with other workers and social movements in order to promote social justice and equality.

The Association shall have all the power necessary and proper to take action for the attainment of these goals; all within the meaning of Section A- 501-C 5 of the Internal Revenue Code. Nothing in these Bylaws shall be construed to prevent the Union from pursuing objectives which are consistent with the stated goals of the Union.


Section 1        Membership

1.      There shall be two classes of membership in the Union:  Active and Reserve.

2.      Active membership shall be open to any graduate worker defined as within the Academic Labor United bargaining unit, pursuant to rules and guidelines within Article III.

a.       The bargaining unit is inclusive of graduate student employees including Graduate Assistants, Graduate Research Assistants, and Graduate Teaching Assistants.

3.      Reserve membership shall be open to those qualified Active members on leave of absence from their positions for a period of at least one semester but not more than three academic years.

4.      Any individual who is a member of a contract negotiating team representing the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa or the University of Hawaiʻi System shall be denied membership.

5.      At least one meeting (known as a General Membership meeting) of Active members will be called each semester with additional meetings called as required. Notice, time, pertinent meeting documents, and location of the meeting must be provided to members by e-mail and posted on the website at least fourteen calendar days prior to the meeting’s scheduled time.

6.      Quorum, as defined in Article VII, will be required for all motions to amend the bylaws or utilize other powers reserved to the membership at large.

a.       Meetings may proceed with discussion of items and adjournment without quorum, but cannot take action.

7.      Disclosure of all union documents will be provided at no cost to members upon request to the Steering Committee Recording and Corresponding Officer, with the exception of some material pertaining to personnel information, membership lists, grievances and legal matters.

Section 2        Rights and Responsibilities

1.      The Union shall not deny membership to individuals on the basis of race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, physical or mental ability, veteran status, military obligations, or marital status.

2.      The right to vote and to hold elective or appointive positions shall be limited to Active membership except as otherwise provided.

3.      All members shall be eligible to receive special services, to obtain assistance in the protection of professional and civil rights, and to receive reports and publications of the Union.

4.      Membership shall be continuous unless terminated for cause, as defined in the local or affiliate rules and bylaws.

5.      No member may be censured by, suspended, or expelled from the Union, without a due process hearing, which shall include an appropriate appellate procedure defined in Shop Stewards Council Standing Orders, administered by the Shop Stewards Council, and independent of the Steering Committee.

Section 3        Membership and Fiscal Year

1.      The membership year and fiscal year shall be from August 1 through July 31.

Section 4        Membership Dues

1.      Suggested changes in dues for the following membership year will be proposed by the Shop Stewards Council during the Spring semester, and submitted to a meeting of Active members for ratification by the membership. If there are no proposed changes, the dues structure in place may continue without action taken.

Section5        Property Interest of Members

1.      All rights, title, and interest, both legal and equitable, of a member in and to the property of the Union shall end upon the termination of membership.


Section 1        Composition

1.      The elected officers of the Union shall consist of two Co-Chairs, an Organizing Chair, a Communications Chair, a Diversity Chair, an International Student Chair, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. These officers will compose the Steering Committee.

Section 2        Role and Responsibilities

1.      The Steering Committee shall be the executive authority of the Union.  Within the policies established by the by-laws and Shop Stewards Council, the Steering Committee shall be responsible for the management of the Union, approve all expenditures, and carry out all policies of the Union.  It shall report its transactions and those of the Shop Stewards Council to the members and shall suggest policies for consideration by the Shop Stewards Council and/or membership.

Section 3        Meetings of the Steering Committee

1.      Regular meetings of the Steering Committee shall be scheduled at the beginning of each academic semester.  Special meetings of the Steering Committee can be requested by a Co-Chair and confirmed by a majority of the committee.

Section 4        Vacancies

1.      Vacancies in elected offices, except Co-Chairs, shall be filled by appointment of the Steering Committee.

Section 5        Duties and Power of the Steering Committee

1.      The Steering Committee functions as the executive body of the Union. Its duties, in addition to responsibilities enumerated elsewhere in the Bylaws, include nominating and voting upon chairpersons and members of standing committees, except the Nominations and Elections Committee.

2.      Co-Chairs.  Co-Chairs will be elected to one year terms, with one position open for election per academic year. The Co-Chairs shall divide the following responsibilities at their discretion: presiding over meetings of the Steering Committee and General Membership,  appointing special committees, serving as ex-officio member of all committees except Nominations and Elections Committee, and functioning as the executive officers of the Union. The Co-Chairs will have the authority to convene ad-hoc committees with the approval of a majority of the Steering Committee. The Co-Chairs shall perform the duties prescribed by these Bylaws and by the parliamentary authority adopted by the Union.

a.       The Co-Chairs shall convene and chair the session of the Shop Stewards Council.

3.      Communications Chair. The Communications Chair will update the website, maintain the newsletter, and handle all media, public relations, and communications for the Union. The Communications Chair will also maintain open lines of communication to other local associations, graduate student employee union locals,and other campus and community organizations as needed.

4.      Secretary.  The Secretary shall keep accurate minutes of all meetings of the Steering Committee, Shop Stewards Council, and any other Union business meetings, shall maintain official files, and shall assist the Co-Chairs with Union correspondence.

5.      Treasurer.  The Treasurer shall hold the funds of the Union and disburse them upon authorization of the Steering Committee.  The Treasurer shall be responsible for the collection of dues and shall follow any membership plan authorized by the Steering Committee and/or Membership Committee.  The Treasurer shall collect dues through the membership plan and transmit amounts due to the ALU bank account.  The Treasurer shall maintain a roll of the members, shall keep accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements, shall report to each meeting of the Shop Stewards Council, and shall prepare an annual financial statement for publication to members as directed by the Steering Committee. Monthly financial reports shall be given to the Steering Committee and the Shop Stewards Council.

a.       The Treasurer shall be bonded by the Union.

b.      The Treasurer shall assist the Budget Committee in the initial drafting of the annual budget and shall provide copies of financial statements upon request of the Budget Committee Chairperson.

6.      Organizing Chair. The Organizing Chair will be responsible for chairing a standing Organizing Committee, for internal and external organizing efforts at the direction of the Steering Committee, as well as communicating with elected workplace Stewards to address employee grievances.

a.       Organizing duties will include responsibility for organizing members of the bargaining unit into the union local, and coordinating approved organizing assistance to other unions or union drives.

7.      Diversity Chair. The Diversity Chair will be responsible for chairing a standing Diversity Committee, as well as coordinating with minoritized student groups, Steward bodies, and pertinent administrative and faculty committees to ensure that the union is adequately representing the interests of all members of the bargaining unit.

8.      International Student Chair. The International Student Chair will be responsible for communicating with international students and student groups, and for ensuring that the union adequately represents international students and their unique interests as non-resident students and employees.

Section 6        Qualifications for Officers

1.      All candidates for office shall be Active members of the Union. All officers must maintain membership in the Union while running for and holding office.



Section 1        Election Administration

1.      Elections will be administered by the Nominations and Elections Committee.

2.      No current or prospective member of the Steering Committee may be a member of the Nominations and Elections Committee.

3.      Criteria for chairship and composition of the Nominations and Elections Committee will be determined in the Standing Orders of the Shop Stewards Council. Criteria may not conflict with rules enumerated within the bylaws.

4.      The Nominations and Elections Committee will certify all election and recall results. In the case of a disputed result, their decision may be appealed to the Shop Stewards Council within five business days.

Section 2        Election of Officers

1.      Officers of the Union shall be elected for a one-year term beginning the date they take office and concluding when the following board takes office, as provided in subsection 5. Co-Chairs elected to replace an impeached, resigned, or recalled co-chair will serve the remainder of the original term.

2.      Co-Chairs will each be limited to two one-year terms as a Co-Chair. A Co-Chair who was elected to serve out the term of an impeached, resigned, or recalled Co-Chair shall be permitted to seek re-election for a second term if the remainder of the original term is one semester or less.

3.      Officers will be limited to three consecutive years serving in a position on the Steering Committee.

4.      Officers of the Union shall be elected by secret ballot through a plurality of total votes cast.

5.      Election of officers shall take place at the final General Membership business meeting of the Spring semester. Officers shall take office the first day of June; preceding officers will maintain and transfer appropriate documentation to assist in the transition.

6.      Rules for conducting elections shall be established by the Nominations and Elections Committee, and confirmed by the Shop Stewards Council.

7.      All elections shall be in accordance with the one-person, one-vote principle.

8.      The Union shall conduct all elections with open nominations and a secret ballot.

Section 3        Recall

1.      Elected officials of the Union shall be subject to a recall election.

2.      The recall election shall be held upon a petition of 40% of the Union membership. The petition’s validity will be certified by the Nominations and Elections Committee.

3.      The election shall be held at a meeting scheduled not less than thirty (30) nor more than sixty (60) days after receipt of a valid petition.

4.      Recall votes must be conducted through secret ballot.

5.      Results will be certified by the Nominations and Elections Committee. Disputed results may be appealed to the Shop Stewards Council within five business days.



Section 1        Purpose

1.      The legislative and policy making body of the Union shall be the Shop Stewards Council.

2.      Powers not delegated to the Steering Committee, the officers or other groups in the Union shall be vested in the Shop Stewards Council.

Section 2        Composition and Requirements

1.      All Stewards must be members within the bargaining unit.

2.      Each Department or Program with workers within the bargaining unit will have the right to nominate up to three (3) Stewards to the Shop Stewards Council.

3.      Represented units have the right to determine procedure for nominations, provided it accords to one person, one vote, and ensures that all Stewards have a plurality of voted support of members within their represented unit.

4.      Disputed representation may be appealed to the Shop Stewards Council, which will render a decision by majority vote. The disputed Steward, if already sitting, will not be eligible to vote.

5.      If it is unclear whether a Department or Program has the right to nominate a Steward, it will be deliberated and ruled upon by vote by the Shop Stewards Council.

Section 3        Steering Committee Membership

1.      Members of the Steering Committee shall be voting members of the Shop Stewards Council.

2.      Members of the Steering Committee vote in the Shop Stewards Council, but are not Stewards, and may not exercise the rights and duties of Stewards beyond exercise of parliamentary privileges including motions, debate, and voting.

3.      Members of the Steering Committee may not concurrently serve as Department or Program Stewards.

Section 4        Observer Status

1.      The Shop Stewards Council may grant non-voting observer seats as deemed appropriate, with the following conditions.

a.       Observer privileges will expire at the end of each academic year, and must be approved by majority vote.

b.      Observers cannot motion, second, or vote upon action items.

c.       The Graduate Student Organization (GSO) will be granted a permanent, non-voting observer in the Shop Stewards Council. Their privileges will not require renewal and cannot be revoked, except through amendment of the bylaws. All other provisions related to observers apply to the GSO observer.


In a General Membership business meeting, for which the membership has been properly notified, the quorum shall be least 5% of the active membership. In a Shop Stewards Council meeting, the quorum shall be a majority of the number who have registered as attending or who answered “attending” on roll call.



Section 1        Appointments and Confirmation

1.      The Negotiations Team shall be open to all members of the Union. Five (5) lead negotiators will be appointed by recommendation of the Steering Committee, and confirmation of the Shop Stewards Council, with a designated Chief Negotiator solely vested with the authority to speak for the Negotiations Team, unless delegated.

Section 2        Setting of Goals

1.      Negotiation goals will be set based upon survey of the entire membership, and recommendation of both the Shop Stewards Council and the Steering Committee.

Section 3        Authority

1.      The Negotiations Team shall have the authority to bargain in good faith, including the right to modify proposals and make concessions on behalf of the Union subject only to ratification of the entire contract by the membership. The Negotiations Team shall be responsible for representing the bargaining unit at the bargaining table and shall have the authority to reach on-the-spot tentative agreement on any or all items.

Section 4        Communication of Agreements

1.      The Negotiations Team shall refer the final tentative agreement package to the Shop Stewards Council.  The team does not have the authority to deal directly with the Union membership, except in collecting survey data to inform contract priorities.

Section 5        Negotiations Committee

1.      It shall be the responsibility of the Team to report to the Negotiations Committee and to meet with the Committee to receive direction and guidance.  The Team shall recommend positions and courses of action to the Negotiations Committee.  The Team shall meet periodically with the Steering Committee and the Chairperson of the Negotiations Committee.

2.      It shall be the responsibility of the Team to develop negotiation updates and reports for the general membership.


These Bylaws may be amended by majority vote at any general meeting of the membership. Copies must be distributed to the membership at least two calendar weeks in advance of the meeting in which the proposed amendments are considered.