What Is the Purpose of Union Bylaws?


Quick Answer

Union bylaws serve as the constitution of the union and lay out the rights and responsibilities of union members, according to the Holden Leadership Center. Bylaws cover union membership, elections, dues and the power of elected union officials.

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Full Answer

In the United States, the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act requires that all union bylaws be filed with the Department of Labor, as reported by the American Postal Workers Union. Submitting bylaws to the federal government ensures that they are openly available to all parties, and that their method of adoption is transparent.

Union bylaws govern the operations of each local union and how that union interacts with the national body. Bylaws establish membership regulations, such as requirements to join, how a worker can be expelled, and what fees and dues can be collected from members. They also establish the rights of union members, and which responsibilities members owe to the union, as outlined by the Holden Leadership Center.

Union bylaws also govern union elections, regulating who may run for office, and how the election is conducted, as described by the Teamsters for a Democratic Union. Bylaws also clearly lay out the power and responsibilities of the various elected offices in the union. Bylaws also describe how union members may alter the union's constitution.

Union bylaws also help to establish the culture and tone of the workplace and local union hall, explain New Unionism. Bylaws often contain guidelines for resolving disputes with fellow workers or with management. Bylaws also help to establish ethical codes for workers, and provide a mechanism for workers to serve their communities.

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