H. NLTA Branches
1. Organization and Operation
- Section 5(1)(d) of the NLTA Act, 1974, states: “The Association may establish local and regional branches.”
- Formation, Operation or Disbandment
i. The formation, operation or disbandment of a branch shall be in accordance with By-Law IX of the NLTA By-Laws and with the policies outlined below. [Feb 21- 23/07] [2007 BGM]
ii. In the event that a branch ceases to be active, namely, that the branch disbands, amalgamates, ceases to exist because of a drop-in membership below the required minimum, fails to form an executive or does not meet viability guidelines, the assets of the branch shall become the property of the Association. [Feb 21-23/07] [2007 BGM]
- Changes to Branch Boundaries
i. Changes to branch boundaries shall take place only as a result of consultation between the members concerned and Provincial Executive. The initiative for such a change may originate with the members concerned, with the Provincial Executive or with the committee responsible for branch operations through the application of the branch viability guidelines as outlined in d) below.
ii. If the initiative does not originate with the committee responsible for branch operations, then the committee will initiate the review by first applying the branch viability guidelines
as outlined in d) below.
iii. Any changes to branch boundaries must receive the prior approval of the Provincial Executive as per By-Law IX.A. [Feb 21-23/07] [2007 BGM]
- Branch Viability Guidelines
i. Branches are required to submit a completed viability profile to the NLTA Head Office prior to the end of each school year in which the Association’s Biennial General Meeting is held.
ii. If the profile is not submitted or if, in the opinion of the committee responsible for branch operations, the branch does not meet the viability criteria, the committee will initiate a consultative process with the branch to determine the branch’s continued viability.
iii. This consultative process will consist of a review of the branch by the committee responsible for branch operations. Such review may include branch/school submissions, briefs, branch/school meetings, input from the assigned branch contact person and input from the branch executive members and school representatives. The Committee may take into account any and all factors affecting the viability of the branch. During this stage, supports and assistance will also be offered to help the branch meet the viability guidelines, including but not limited to:
• scheduled visits to the school(s) in the branch by the NLTA President;
• a survey of all branch members regarding the continuation of the branch;
• school visitations by NLTA staff and/or Executive members to discuss the branch situation and options with teachers. [May/29/09] [JC Nov/09] [2011 BGM]
iv. Following completion of the consultative process, the committee responsible for branch operations will present its report and recommendations to the Provincial Executive and to the members of the branch. The Provincial Executive will then consult with branch members in determining the future status of the branch. [Feb/ 21-23/07] [2007 BGM]
- Membership Registration
Branches should conduct registration for substitute teachers who work at least once by December 31st of that school year. All substitute teachers should register either with the branch where they reside or with the branch where they normally do the most substituting, not both.
- In accordance with By-Law XX of the Association’s By-Laws, the financial arrangements for NLTA branches shall be determined by the Executive and approved by the Convention in its budget. Other resources may be sought and expended without reference to the Executive, except that no branch may incur any indebtedness through such things as borrowing or use of credit cards without prior approval of Executive.
- Rebates to Branches
i. Registration Rebate
Each branch will be provided with a registration rebate, the amount to be as specified in the Association’s budget. Two hundred dollars of this rebate will be forwarded to the branch treasurer by the end of the second week of September after the NLTA office has received the completed pre-registration form for the branch. The remainder of the registration rebate will be forwarded to the branch treasurer upon completion of the official branch registration from the branch, which must be received at the NLTA office by November 1. [Mar/4-5/94] [1994 AGM] [Feb/21-23/07] [2007 BGM]
ii. Membership Rebates
• The branch will receive a rebate amount per member as specified in the Association’s budget for the year. In determining the number of members, branches should use the total of all regular full-time and part-time teachers. Additionally, when computing membership totals for rebate, branches may use either the number of replacement teachers or the number of teachers on leave, but not both. The number of members per each school or board office should be recorded on the branch registration form. [Mar/5-6/92] [1993 AGM]
• This rebate will be sent to the branch treasurer but must be claimed before December 31 of the school year and will be paid only upon receipt of the complete audit for the previous year as per Association policy on the auditing of branch accounts.
• The rebate for substitute teachers will be an amount equal to the current membership rebate and will be paid for all substitute teachers who have worked at least once by December 31 of that school year. Rebate requests must be received at the NLTA office by January 15. [Feb/12-13/97] [1997 AGM]
iii. Use of Branch Registration and Membership Rebates
These amounts constitute the normal branch operating funds and are to be used by the branch to fund its day-to-day operations and normal administrative costs, including:
• regular expenses associated with branch meetings;
• normal administrative costs such as postage, photocopying, faxing, telephone, stationery, etc.;
• after-meeting socials;
• travel rebates to members, if applicable;
• contributions to additional branch projects such as professional development activity, Education Week, branch newsletter, etc. (depending on the size of the branch and finances available.)
• the provision of child-care at branch general and executive meetings, when required. [Feb/2-3/89] [1989 AGM] [Nov/27/08] [JC Feb/09] [2009 BGM]
- Additional Funding
i. Requests from branches for additional funds for teacher-oriented activities will be considered provided that approval is obtained in advance and an itemized breakdown of the amount requested is included. Requests should be made on the official request form located in the Branch Operations Manual. Projects such as Education Week, branch newsletter, etc. may also be submitted for consideration.
ii. Financing of the regular branch program may be considered for extra funding when it is recognized that in a particular case the amount of branch rebate is insufficient to fund the branch’s normal administrative operations.
iii. The Association will give consideration to requests for additional financing from smaller branches who have less ability to contribute to such activities from their general branch funds.
iv. Projects will be judged on merit, financial conditions, geographical location and size of requesting branch.
v. Speakers/presenters who do not charge a set fee for their services may be provided with a moderately priced gift rather than a monetary honoraria. [Nov/5- 6/98]
vi. Branches that expend regular funds on such things as Education Week activities, children’s parties, public speaking contests, branch scholarships, etc., and intend to apply for additional funding for such expenditures, should be aware of the limited funds available in the overall Association Budget. Despite the fact that such activities are very worthwhile and commendable, branches must be sure they can fund such activities and, at the same time, carry on the regular branch program.
vii. Branches having a travel rebate policy for members attending meetings should develop stringent guidelines for paying such rebates based on the availability of branch funds.
viii. Assistance for Exceptional Travel
Special funds shall be allocated to branches which have transportation difficulties. In order to qualify for this assistance, a branch must have a transportation rebate policy which has been approved at a branch meeting. Such branches must declare on the request form the following information: the nature of the special transportation problem (i.e. travel by water, excessive distance by road, etc.); a detailed description of the anticipated solution (i.e. boat charter, snowmobile, transportation by air, etc.); and a realistic cost estimate of the proposed solution based upon prevailing transportation conditions.
ix. Retirement Dinners
As per NLTA guidelines, the branch will be reimbursed for the actual cost of the meal provided for the retiree(s), spouse/guest and two branch executive members upon receipt of proof of expenditure from the branch. [Nov/24-25/94] [1995 AGM] [Feb/18-19/15] [2015 BGM]
x. School Board-Teacher Liaison Committees
• The expenses of the teacher representatives on these committees will be paid by the Association as per current Association policy on the payment of expenses.
• The branch may pay the expenses of its representative(s), as per current Association policy, and upon receipt of expenses claim forms and receipts, then forward such to NLTA office for reimbursement. If branch funds are insufficient to meet such expenses, the expense claims, with receipts, may be forwarded directly to the NLTA office for payment.
• Payment shall be made only upon receipt of a report on the liaison meeting or a copy of the minutes of the meeting.
xi. Branch Political Action
Additional funding for political action will be provided only for approved activities. [Nov/27/08] [JC Feb/09] [2009 BGM]
xii. Program Funding
All branches are encouraged to plan their total year’s program early in the branch year and to make requests for additional funding towards planned activities under the appropriate categories noted above. [Jan/9/87]
xiii. Limitations on Spending of Branch Funds
• No branch funds or branch assets may be used to support the campaign of a candidate for NLTA provincial office. [Feb/8-9/90] [1990 AGM]
• With the exception of the Convention host branch, no branch funds or branch assets may be used to establish a suite or hospitality room at the Convention. [Feb/8-9/90] [1990 AGM]
xiv. Review of Branch Funding
• The branch funding system and the amounts budgeted for particular aspects of that funding will be evaluated annually by the Executive Assistant, Governance, at the NLTA office during the budget preparation process with specific recommendations, if any, being presented to Executive for consideration during the budgetary process. [Aug/31-Sept/2/87]
• Future increases in the branch rebate system will consider as a first priority increases in the registration rebate or weighted increases in the membership rebate (e.g. a larger rebate for the first 100 members) to ensure that all branches, including those with a small number of members, are receiving sufficient rebate amounts to fund normal administrative and other costs.
• The NLTA will establish a maximum amount of funds that any branch can have in their account and that “maximum amount” be based upon the calculation of (Branch Registration + Rebate per Member) x 2. Effective for the 2020-21 school year. [2019 BGM]
- Auditing of Branch Accounts
Branch accounts shall be audited at the end of each branch year by at least two members of the branch other than branch executive officers. The results of this audit shall be registered with the NLTA office on the form provided, together with any written report by the auditors. To facilitate the auditing process, the branch treasurer shall complete the audit form and submit it to the branch auditors along with the branch financial records for the year. [Feb/13-14/87]
3. Branch By-Laws
a. All branch by-laws shall be in accordance with the model branch by-laws as approved by Executive. The following details shall be built into any proposed by-laws:
- Authority and name of branch.
- Definition of branch boundaries.
- Membership eligibility.
- Objectives and activities of the branch.
- The Executive of the branch.
- Election of Executive and term of officers.
- Duties and powers of Executive.
- Specific duties of each Executive officer.
- Provision for appointment of school representatives.
- Duties of the council members.
- Meetings of the council.
- Quorum at meetings.
- Number of meetings.
- Notice of meetings.
- Agenda of meetings.
- Suggested order of business at meetings.
- Emergency meetings.
- Business to be conducted at general meetings only. (See NLTA By-Law IX.D.)
- Method of removal or replacement of officers.
- Committees of the branch.
- Financial procedures of the branch.
- Rules of procedure.
- Amendments to by-laws. [June/8-9/84] [1986 AGM]
b. All branch by-laws, and amendments thereto, must be submitted to the Executive Assistant, Governance, at the NLTA office.
c. It is recommended that branch executives be elected for a two-year term of office. [1995 AGM]
4. Quorum at Meetings
- In establishing a quorum for branch meetings, each branch shall aim for a workable number, combined with certain underlying principles to ensure that branch members have an equal opportunity of being involved in the decision-making process.
- Such factors as communicating adequate notice of meetings, announcement of the agenda items to be considered at the meeting, and an assurance that such communications reach the members may be considered as constituting quorum requirements in lieu of any fixed number. [Mar/3-4&6/83]
5. Branch Representation at NLTA Functions
No branch representative(s) will be invited to attend, or be reimbursed for attending, any Joint Council meeting, Convention, or Special General Meeting, or any seminar or workshop called or approved by the Provincial Executive unless the branch has been duly registered, including the submission of an approved audit for the previous school year by the deadline noted
in Section 2.b) of this policy, and the representative(s) selected in accordance with the approved by-laws of the branch. [Feb 21-23/07] [2007 BGM]
6. Branch Responsibilities for Communications During Negotiations
(See Section IV.A.6 – Communication with the Membership under the policy on Collective Bargaining of this handbook.)
7. Voting Procedures on Provincial Package
a. Prior To Conducting a Vote
- On matters of utmost urgency, where the Provincial Executive requests that all teachers be called upon to debate and/or vote on a critical issue, the Provincial Executive will also suggest dates for all branch meetings.
- During the voting process on any issue, all pertinent information is to be correctly supplied to the voting body with appropriate time being made available to ensure that the membership can make a realistic decision.
- Each branch shall maintain a membership list for each school and board office within its boundaries.
- The branch executive shall ensure that the school representative (or designate) is fully aware of the duties involved in conducting the vote. [Apr/2-3&5/08] [JC Apr/08] [2009 BGM]
b. Eligibility to Vote
All NLTA members who satisfy the requirements of active membership in the Association, in accordance with By-Law III.A. shall be eligible to vote, including substitute teachers who have taught for at least one day during the school year. [Jan/27/06] [JC Feb/17/06] [2007 BGM]
c. Distribution of Ballots
- Ballots will be distributed by the NLTA office to school representatives (or designates) in each school and board office in numbers sufficient for each teacher in that school and allowing extra ballots for substitute teachers, teachers on leave, teachers from other schools or branches, and spoiled ballots. The package shall also include the appropriate forms
as supplied by the NLTA office, any background materials needed and a voting instructions sheet. [Apr/2-3&5/08] [JC Apr/08] [2009 BGM]
- A record of the total number of all ballots issued to each school shall be maintained by the NLTA office.
- School representatives (or designates) shall complete the acknowledgement of receipt of ballots form included in the package and fax it to the NLTA office as soon as the package is received. [Jan/27/06] [JC Feb/17/06] [2007 BGM]
- Each member must have the opportunity to vote in secret, and every effort shall be made by the branch executive to ensure confidentiality at an individual, school, and branch level.
- Voting by proxy is not permitted.
- A faxed ballot is permissible if it is not possible for a member to be physically present in any branch on voting day, provided that the completed ballot which is returned by facsimile is accompanied by a signed statement from the member in question stating that the ballot was indeed cast personally by him/her. Such vote will be administered by the NLTA and the completed ballot received only at the NLTA head office.
- The branch executive will ensure that the organizational structure is in place within the branch and each school so that the vote can be conducted in accordance with this policy and voting instructions outlined by the Association on the designated date. Voting should take place on the date designated by the NLTA office, unless special circumstances at a school require the vote being conducted at another time. With the approval of the NLTA office, a vote may be conducted on a date other than the designated date only if required by conditions of geography, weather, school closure, etc.
- A voter who has inadvertently dealt with the ballot delivered to him/her in a manner that it cannot properly be used shall return it to the school representative (or designate) who shall destroy the ballot and provide another ballot to the voter.
- A voting station will be provided at the NLTA office so that teachers on leave will have the opportunity to vote.
- All regulations governing the voting procedure are to be strictly followed.
- Special Instructions for Coastal Labrador South, Nutak Labradorimi Branches and other isolated schools as designated by the NLTA office.
• The person designated to conduct the vote in each school will, with a witness, count the ballots, record the results, and telephone or fax the results to the branch president on the day of the count. All materials to be returned, as specified under f) iv) below, shall be sent directly by the school representative (or designate) to the NLTA office in the envelope provided. [Apr/2-3&5/08] [JC Apr/08] [2009 BGM]
• Any other variations from the regulations for the province will be made in consultation with the NLTA office. [Jan/27/06] [JC Feb/17/06] [2007 BGM]
e. Collection of Ballots
- Each voter shall deposit his/her completed ballot into the envelope provided to the school representative (or designate) by the NLTA office. [Apr/2-3&5/08] [JC Apr/08] [2009 BGM]
- After the voting has been completed:
• The school representative (or designate) and a witness shall ensure that the number of ballots used corresponds with the number of teacher signatures on the “Registration of Voters” form. Should the number of completed ballots returned to the branch executive be more than or less than the number of signatures on the “Registration of Voters” form, the vote from that school will be nullified.[Apr/2-3&5/08] [JC Apr/08] [2009 BGM]
• The completed ballots (uncounted) and accompanying forms shall be delivered to the branch executive by the school representative (or designate) or collected by the branch executive. [Apr/2-3&5/08] [JC Apr/08] [2009 BGM]
- With the exception of schools in the Coastal Labrador South and Nutak Labradorimi branches and other isolated schools designated by the Association [See d) viii) above], ballots are not to be counted at the school but shall be counted by the branch executive in accordance with f) below. [Jan/27/06] [JC Feb/17/06] [2007 BGM] [Apr/2-3&5/08] [JC Apr/08] [2009 BGM]
f. Counting of Ballots
- On voting day, or the day following, all completed ballots from all schools, once verified by the branch executive in accordance with e) ii) above, will be placed together to ensure that a total branch count is achieved, and not a school-by-school breakdown.
- The counting of the ballots will be done at a time and place designated by the branch executive. Ballots must be counted by a committee of the branch executive, with the results recorded on the appropriate form(s) and telephoned or faxed to the NLTA office no later than 6:00 p.m. of the day following the voting day.
- In counting the ballots, the branch executive shall discard all ballots:
• that have not been marked for an option;
• on which votes have been cast for more than one (1) option;
• upon which there is writing or a mark or other means by which the voter could be identified; or
• on which the intention of the voter is not clear and evident. [Apr/2-3&5/08] [JC Apr/08] [2009 BGM]
- The branch executive will mail the ballots and all related forms to the NLTA office no later than the second day after voting day, in the envelope(s) provided, ensuring that all ballots are packaged in accordance with the voting instructions.
- The voting results of the branch are not released by the branch executive. All results of the vote which are released will be released by the NLTA office.
- The results of the ballot shall be communicated to the membership by the NLTA office.
- The NLTA shall issue a media release announcing the outcome of the vote but not containing the vote count. Every effort will be made to ensure that branches receive information regarding the results of the vote prior to the media release. [Jan/27/06] [JC Feb/17/06] [2007 BGM]
8. Guidelines for Branch Visitation/Contact
a. A member of the Provincial Executive shall be assigned as the contact person for each branch. [Mar/4-5/94] [1994 AGM]
b. When the Executive contact person is not available for regular or special branch visitations requiring extensive in-school-day travel, the President, Vice-President, or a staff person shall be assigned, upon request, to assist the branch president. [Aug/27/98]
c. Duties for Executive Contacts With Branches
- To inform the branch that you are the contact person for the year. This should be done as soon as possible after the first Executive meeting and should include a brief outline of your role as branch contact person. [Nov/27/08] [JC Feb/09] [2009 BGM]
- Where feasible, to visit the assigned branch at least once a year. [1996 AGM] [Aug/25-26/99] [JC Feb/18-19/00] [2001 BGM]
- To arrange to meet with the branch executive, before the regular branch meeting, on your official visit to clear up housekeeping and routine matters which may not be of specific interest or concern to the general membership.
- To serve branch officers further by being a phone/e-mail contact for instant information, clearing up difficulties, giving general advice, or interpreting Association policy. The branch contact person should contact each of his/her assigned branch presidents at least once per month. [Jan/9/87] [Nov/27/08] [JC Feb/09] [2009 BGM]
- To provide direct representation re the interest and wishes of the branch when requested by them at Executive meetings.
- To fill the role of special contact with delegate(s) from your assigned branch(es) at Convention by providing clarification, advice, etc., and by introducing them to your colleagues and others known to you.
- To provide specific assistance in the area of branch planning for professional development days as follows:
• The branch contact should ensure that he/she is informed of professional development days being planned for his/her area.
• The branch contact should ensure that the branch is made aware of the guidelines to be followed in organizing a professional development day. [Jan/9/87]
- To report on your visit and to alert the President’s office of any weaknesses detected or follow-up needed.
d. Duties for Branch Presidents Re Executive and Staff Contacts With Branches
- To ensure that the branch contact person is kept informed of meeting dates, and other aspects of the branch program. [Nov/27/08] [JC Feb/09] [2009 BGM]
- To ensure that the interests and concerns of the branch are conveyed to the branch contact person. [Mar/5-6/92] [1993 AGM]
e. Other Visits
- Additional visits by the contact person beyond the one official visit should be cleared with the President’s Office. [Apr/6-7/84] [Aug/25-26/99] [JC Feb/18-19/00] [2001 BGM]
- Visits by persons other than the assigned person must be cleared with the President’s office, which is responsible for branch operations, and may be authorized only if funds are available.
- The presentation of retirement scrolls/pins at a branch retirement function will normally be carried out by the branch president or his/her designate. However, an Executive member may be requested by the provincial President to represent him/her to carry out this function, upon request from the branch to the President’s office. [Nov/24-25/94] [1995 AGM] [Nov/28/08]
9. School Board-Teacher Liaison Committees
The Collective Agreement provides for the appointment and operation of school board-teacher liaison committees and for the selection of the teacher representatives by the NLTA Provincial Executive. The Membership Benefits and Services Committee is authorized to appoint all teacher representatives to the school board-teacher liaison committees on behalf of Executive.
The teacher representatives for each committee will be selected from the branch presidents (or designate) of the branches operating within the boundaries of the school board. [June/5-7/1998] [JC Nov/98]
10. Scrolls for Retiring School Board Management Staff
Upon request from a branch, and subject to the approval of the Executive Assistant, Governance, at the NLTA office, a branch may be permitted to honour retiring school board management staff, who have less than 20 years of teaching service in the aggregate, with the presentation of an honourable retirement scroll. [May/5-6/89] [1990 AGM] [Jun/13-14/14]
11. Past Presidents’ Pins
To recognize member involvement, an engraved past president’s pin is supplied to branches by the NLTA office for presentation to a president upon completion of the term of office.