CFT to conduct Virtual Convention
Whereas, the members of the CFT are the essence of our union, and those members exercise their rights to elect their statewide leaders and to consider constitutional amendments, and policy resolutions, biennially as our constitution requires through election of delegates who meet in convention; and
Whereas, the CFT is a state labor organization governed by Title IV of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA) and elects its national leadership pursuant to the act; and
Whereas, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the world’s public health and economies, leaving with it a devastating loss of life; a paused economy; and a continuing threat to the health, safety and economic well-being of the people we represent and the people we serve; and
Whereas, almost a full year has passed and COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket and much of the nation continues to combat this virus, and will do so for an indeterminate period of time; and
Whereas, the arc of the pandemic is such that communities across America, including the city of San Francisco and surrounding counties, will still be operating on some physical distancing guidance in the months to come, including among other things sheltering in place, or limiting or prohibiting the physical gathering of large numbers of delegates in one place that would be necessary to hold a traditional in-person CFT Convention; and
Whereas, the CFT Executive Council intends to carry out the mandates set forth in its governing documents regarding its biennial convention, including: Constitution Article VI, § 1a (“The Executive Council shall implement the policies of the Convention…”); Constitution Article IV, § 1a (“Officers shall be elected in odd-numbered years by the biennial convention for a term of two years.”); Constitution Article IV, § 1e (“The delegates to the conventions of the California Labor federation, AFL-CIO and American Federation of Teachers must be elected at the CFT convention.”); and Bylaws Article I, § 1 (“A state convention shall be held each odd-numbered year at a time and place to be designated by the Executive Council.”); and
Whereas, many members, even with vaccination opportunities available, are concerned about their and their families’ safety and still may not feel comfortable traveling; and
Whereas, the CFT places the highest priority on ensuring the safety and health of our members, leaders, delegates, invitees and staff; and
Whereas, the safety and health concerns arising from the COVID-19 pandemic make it impossible to plan for and undertake a traditional in-person convention; and
Whereas, CFT members and leaders have now become very familiar with participation in virtual meetings utilizing computer-based video conferencing;
Therefore be it resolved, that in order to address the ongoing safety and health concerns arising from COVID-19, as well as with national, state and local public health guidance, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations concerning social distancing, the CFT will modify its adopted plan for the 2021 Convention; and
Be it further resolved, that the CFT will plan for a fully virtual convention where delegates will attend via the internet and where delegates will consider duly noticed constitutional and by-law changes as well as resolutions; and
Be it further resolved, that the CFT will hold an election for AFT officers among convention delegates via U.S. mail, following LMRDA-compliant procedures with ballots to be returned and received within 30 days from the commencement of the election. In the event a runoff election is necessary, an additional 30-day voting period for ballots to be returned and received will be provided from the time of the certification of results from the first round of voting; and
Be it further resolved, if there is a contested election, the convention will be extended until the election is certified by the Nominations and Elections Committee.
Be it further resolved, that the CFT Executive Council will develop a modified convention agenda and set of procedures that are suitable to an entirely virtual format, and ensure the right of duly elected delegates to meaningfully participate in their state union’s convention.
- Passed by CFT Executive Council on January 28, 2021.