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  5. Constitution ARTICLE 4: Code of ethics and democratic practices

Democratic Practices

  1. Unifor, its Officers, Directors, Staff and members shall be bound by the highest possible standards of ethics, democratic practice and personal conduct.
  2. Democratic practices require the regular convening of meetings and bodies where members can participate freely and openly. All decisions affecting the welfare of members, their collective agreements and other terms and conditions of employment should be made through the bodies set out in the Constitution in a manner allowing the fullest possible participation of members.
  3. The democratic standards of the union proceed from the rights of members as set out in the Constitution — including the right to participate in the governance and debates of the union, the right to free speech and the right to participate in a democratic environment free of harassment.
  4. Personal conduct in the union is a matter of democratic practice that shall be subject to an anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy.
  5. In all proceedings of the union, the Constitution and all By-Laws, rules or procedures will be applied consistently, reasonably and with fairness and all members shall be protected by due process and the principles of natural justice.
  6. The Office of the President, the National Executive Board, any appeal body and the Public Review Board established by this Constitution shall be guided by the Constitution and this Code of Ethics.

Safeguards of Democratic Practice

7. Democratic practice also requires that standards of accountability and safeguards are upheld at all levels of the union, from the National Executive Board to Local Unions and workplace committees. No corruption, discrimination or anti-democratic behaviour can be permitted.

8. No Officer, Staff, member or person mandated by the union with the responsibility to inquire, audit or otherwise safeguard the ethics or integrity of the union shall be impeded or constrained in their responsibilities. No violation of this Code shall be covered up from an appropriate investigation.

9. This Code of Ethics applies to all union activities and relationships, including participation in pension plans, health and welfare plans, insurance plans, and private or public bodies to which a union Officer or Representative may be appointed.

Conflict of Interest

10. The affairs of the union shall not be conducted in any manner which results in personal profit or advantage to any Officer, member of an Executive Board, bargaining committee or representative of the union, whether elected or appointed.

11. Any Officer or Representative of the membership has the responsibility to disclose significant personal interests that they may have with regard to a decision they are called upon to participate in or make. This may include personal relationships, expectation of profit, ownership or investments in a company, personal gifts, offers of employment or other personal gain. It is the responsibility of the Officer or Representative to disclose information related to a potential conflict, which may result in the exclusion of that person from debate and voting or other participation concerning the conflict. Conflict of interest does not include the benefits of collective bargaining that are received by members of a bargaining unit or benefits to union members generally as a result of the democratic decisions or activities of this union.

Financial Practices

12. The financial practices of the union shall at all times meet the highest available standard of accounting, investment, procurement and reporting. It is the responsibility of the Secretary Treasurer and the National Executive Board to ensure that all Local Unions, subordinate bodies and representatives of the union are informed of these standards and have opportunities for appropriate training.

13. The National Executive Board, Local Unions and subordinate bodies shall have clear policies governing the expenditure of funds by named Officers or Representatives, including accounting and oversight for personal expenses.

14. Procurements of the union generally shall require competitive bids and due diligence by the appropriate authorizing body.

15. The National Union, Local Unions or subordinate bodies shall not loan money to any member, Officer or Representative. This does not include advances or assistance which may be deemed appropriate to carry out the activities of the union.

National Officers, Regional Directors and Employees of the National Union

16. A National Officer or Regional Director shall have no other employment. They shall accept no other income for carrying out the duties of their office. This does not include compensation for personal expenses or reasonable per diems, nor does it preclude income and benefits from personal endeavours or achievements such as awards and prizes, royalties or personal investments.

17. Staff of the National Union shall not accept any other income for carrying out their duties or for participating in boards and public bodies as a representative of the union. This includes honorariums, retainers or stipends or major gifts, but does not include compensation for personal expenses or reasonable per diems.

Local Union and Subordinate Body Officers and Representatives

18. An Officer or an elected or appointed Representative to a bargaining committee, workplace committee, National Union committee or body, community board or serving in any other capacity on behalf of the Local Union shall disclose to the membership any compensation received from the union, an employer or any third party for the carrying out of their duties or assignments. This does not include compensation for personal expenses or reasonable per diems.

Enforcement of the Code of Ethics

19. The ethical and democratic practices in this Code must be well understood and enforced by the union at all levels. Even the appearance of any violation of these standards can be the basis for investigation and action under the Constitution.

20. If it is believed that a violation of this Code of Ethics has taken place or is taking place, a signed letter of complaint may be sent to the President with specific allegations describing how the Code of Ethics has been violated. This practice may be used when the person making the complaint does not wish to make a charge under this Constitution, or the circumstances of the matter give rise to concerns with respect to confidentiality.

21. The President shall deal promptly with any complaint alleging a violation of the Code of Ethics. Unless the complaint constitutes a charge under the Constitution, the President shall investigate the matter in a confidential manner that respects the rights of all parties, taking into account the principles of natural justice.

22. If the complaint is deemed by the President to be an acceptable charge as per Article 18 Section C the matter shall be considered a violation of the Constitution subject to the procedures and appeals in Article 18.

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