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I. Joint Council

Joint Council shall be a body consisting of the members of the Provincial Executive Council and Branch Presidents all of whom have equal voting rights and responsibilities. [Feb/19-20/98] [JC Feb/98]

1. Authority

Joint Council shall function as an advisory body to Provincial Executive Council but shall have decision-making authority in the following areas:

a) Whether a negotiated collective bargaining package will be recommended to the membership to be accepted or rejected, or whether it shall be accompanied by no recommendation.

b) The wording of the ballot to be used in voting on a proposed collective agreement.

c) Approval of amendments to NLTA policy proposed by the Provincial Executive.

d) Approval of expenditures from the Emergency or Reserve Funds outside of those areas specifically identified in the Association’s current policy on these funds.

e) Approval of:

  1.  expenditures from the Association’s budget beyond the total amount budgeted within a program area, and
  2.  any substantial changes in program area expenditures.

f) In the event the Association incurs any indebtedness as a result of a job action, imposing a special levy on the membership in such amount(s) or for such period and/or such terms as Joint Council deems necessary, to repay some or all of such indebtedness; such levy not to be used for any other purpose than repayment of such job action indebtedness. (By-Law XIV.J.) [2003 BGM]

2. Regular Meetings

a) A minimum of two regular Joint Council meetings will be scheduled in each year. The first meeting will be held not later than November 30th. In a Convention year, the second meeting will be held not later than one month prior to Easter. In a non-Convention year, the second meeting will be held not later than mid-April. The scheduled dates and locations for these two meetings will be decided by the Provincial Executive and will be communicated to all branch presidents prior to September 15. [Jan/14-15/05][2005 BGM] [Sept/22/06] [JC Nov/06] [2007 BGM] [Nov/27/08] [JC Feb/09] [2009 BGM]

b) Each Joint Council meeting will usually involve a full-day Friday business session and a Saturday business session. However, when necessary business sessions may be held on Friday evening. [Nov/27/08] [JC Feb/09] [2009 BGM]

c) The most recent Financial Statement of the Association will be provided to Joint Council members at each Joint Council meeting.

3. Special Meetings

a)  In addition to the two regularly scheduled Joint Council meetings, other special Joint Council meetings may be called by the Executive as the need arises.

  1. If the purpose of a special meeting is to provide information to branch presidents or to consult with branch presidents without, or prior to, a membership consultation, then notification of the meeting is at the discretion of the Provincial Executive.
  2. The circumstances of negotiations can often require that Executive seek branch presidents’ advice and make decisions in a short period of time. However, whenever possible, if the purpose of the special meeting requires branch presidents to ascertain the views of their branch membership on an issue(s), then a minimum of seven days’ notification of the meeting and of the issue(s) to be discussed shall be given.

b) When branch presidents are requested to ascertain branch members’ views, Provincial Executive shall provide a concise definition(s) of the issue(s) on which the consultation is to be made and shall provide a concise question(s) which can be clearly answered by branch presidents and their membership. Preferably questions would require a yes/no response.

c) At special Joint Council meetings which follow such a consultation process, branch presidents will be expected, in a timed session, to provide to the meeting a report of the views of branch membership. Such report may include the manner in which the views were obtained.

d) All special consultation meetings on contract/negotiations issues shall be held prior to any final recommendations or decisions being made by Provincial Executive with regard to these issues.

e) Prior to any final recommendations to the membership regarding the acceptance/rejection of a negotiated collective bargaining package, a special meeting of the Joint Council shall be held.

f) Prior to a membership vote on a proposed collective agreement, a special meeting of the Joint Council shall be held. A committee of the President and an equal number of branch presidents and provincial executive members will be formed to prepare a proposed wording for the ballot to be used in voting on the proposed contract. The wording of the ballot must always include at least the right of the voting member to accept and the right to reject. (Also see policy on Collective Bargaining, Section IV.A. for additional regulations re membership votes.)

4. Format and Agenda

a) For regular Joint Council meetings, a list of suggested agenda topics will be sent to branch presidents at least one month prior to the meeting date. An accompanying letter will ask for topics which branch presidents wish to have included in the agenda for the meeting unless another means of dealing with the topic can be identified to the satisfaction of the branch president who has suggested the topic. Issues which can be dealt with in other forums or through other contacts, particularly those of an individual nature, should not appear on the Joint Council agenda.

b) Prior to a regular Joint Council meeting, branch presidents shall inform their branch executive and school representatives of items already included in the agenda for the meeting and, where possible, obtain their views on same, and request any additional suggestions for the agenda.

c) Where possible, background materials and the finalized agenda for the Joint Council meeting will be forwarded to Joint Council members prior to the meeting.

d) While it is desirable to have an agenda balanced among professional development, benefits and economic services, and other issues of concern to the Association, it is recognized that there will be times when issues of the day will have to take precedence.

e) A steering committee, consisting of the President and equal numbers of branch presidents and Provincial Executive members, will be formed to control the actual agenda at the meeting and to ensure that sufficient time is provided for discussion of issues. The committee will be named a week in advance of the Joint Council meeting, unless it has been necessary to give shorter notice for a special meeting, and the President will meet with the committee prior to the commencement of the meeting to review the finalized agenda and to deal with requests for additions to the agenda. The steering committee shall be empowered, when circumstances require, to propose, by a vote of the assembly, that the meeting be extended beyond the adjournment time assumed in the circulated agenda.

f) Joint Council meetings should be chaired by the President, the Vice-President or a member of Table Officers with other Joint Council members designated by the President to chair individual sessions where appropriate. [Nov/27/08] [JC Feb/09] [2009 BGM]

g) Mechanisms which encourage and maximize opportunities for discussion among, and input from, Joint Council members will be utilized for discussion of topics at Joint Council meetings.

h) Following a regular Joint Council meeting, branch presidents shall inform their membership about the issues discussed at the meeting.

i) It is expected that all members of the Joint Council will be in attendance for the completion of the agenda, and members are to make travel arrangements which will permit them to be in attendance for the entire meeting. Any member who, for personal reasons, is unable to attend the entire meeting shall notify the President regarding these reasons.

j) Branch presidents must inform the NLTA office in advance if they are unable to attend the Joint Council meeting, and the branch is to be represented at the meeting by a named designate.

5. Parliamentary Procedures

a) All meetings of Joint Council will be governed by Advice on the Conduct of Meetings, published by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, supplemented by Robert’s Rules of Order.

b) During the first Joint Council meeting of the year, a session on parliamentary procedures and the authority of Joint Council will be provided to members. [Nov/27/08] [JC Feb/09] [2009 BGM]

c) Except as specified in 5.d) below, all voting at Joint Council meetings will be as per a show of voting cards which will be provided to the members.

d) The vote on a motion concerning the recommendation on a negotiated collective bargaining package or the wording of the ballot on a proposed contract will be by recorded vote with only branch presidents, or named designate, and members of Provincial Executive eligible to participate. [Jan/10-11/97] [1997 AGM]

6. Communication with the Membership

a) Joint Council members are obligated to communicate to the membership the decisions, and the rationale for the decisions, made by Joint Council.

b) The format of a branch meeting called to present a recommendation of Joint Council to the membership will be determined at the local level. Opportunity should be provided for the presentation and discussion of all pertinent information regarding the issue.

c) i. Members of Joint Council have a right to express dissenting views on any Association issue in accordance with the NLTA By-Laws and Code of Ethics but not when acting in their official capacity as a Joint Council member.

ii. A Joint Council member who wishes to express a personal dissenting view of a decision of Joint Council shall not make the presentation of the Joint Council decision at their branch meeting where such decision is being relayed to the membership. Such presentation shall be made by the branch’s Provincial Executive contact person or designate.

d) Communications between branches re Joint Council decisions shall be made at the branch president level and not through individual schools. [Feb/19-20/98] [JC Feb/98]