Constitution & Bylaws

Coalition of Graduate Workers Constitution and Bylaws



The Coalition of Graduate Workers (CGW) exists in order to empower and represent the rank-and-file graduate workers of the University of Missouri and commits itself to union democracy, the fight for fair working conditions, the defense of academic freedom, and the pursuit of social justice.


The name of this Union local shall be the Coalition of Graduate Workers (henceforth referred to as ‘the Union’ or ‘CGW’), an affiliate of the Missouri National Education Association and the National Education Association (MNEA/NEA).


The goals of this union shall be as follows:

  • Organizing: To build solidarity among graduate workers and empower them in the workplace and the University community.
  • Collective Representation and Bargaining: To act as the legal representative for graduate workers in negotiations with the University administration and any other relevant body over terms and conditions of employment and, when applicable, student status.
  • Education: To promote affordable and high quality instruction and research at the University, in accordance with its mission as a public land grant institution, and to advocate for education access and opportunity for Missourians.
  • Community and Solidarity: To foster a sense of community and solidarity among graduate workers at the University, within our Mid-Missouri community, and with the Missouri labor movement.
  • Social Justice: To cooperate with other workers and social movements in order to promote social justice and equity.

The Association shall have all the power necessary and proper to take action for the attainment of these goals; all within the meaning of Section A- 501-C 5 of the Internal Revenue Code. Nothing in these Bylaws shall be construed to prevent the Union from pursuing objectives which are consistent with the stated goals of the Union.


Section 1       Membership

  1. There shall be three classes of membership in the Union:  Active, Reserve, and Alumnus.
  2. Active members will maintain membership in the Missouri National Education Association, and National Education Association.
  3. At least one meeting of Active members will be called each semester with additional meetings called as required. Notice, time, pertinent meeting documents, and location of the meeting must be provided to members by e-mail and posted on the website at least fourteen calendar days prior to the meeting’s scheduled time.
  4. Quorum, as defined in Bylaw 2, will be required for all motions to change member dues, amend the bylaws, or utilize other powers reserved to the membership at large.
    1. Meetings may proceed with discussion of items and adjournment without quorum, but cannot take action.
  5. Disclosure of all union documents will be provided at no cost to members upon request to the Coordinating Committee Recording and Corresponding Officer, with the exception of some material pertaining to personnel information, membership lists, grievances and legal matters.

Section 2       Property Interest of Members

  1. All rights, title, and interest, both legal and equitable, of a member in and to the property of the Union shall end upon the termination of membership.

Section 3       Membership and Fiscal Year

  1. The membership year and fiscal year shall be from September 1st through August 31.


Section 1       Composition

  1. The elected officers of the Union shall consist of two Co-Chairs, an Organizing and Grievance Officer, an Outreach Officer, a Diversity Officer, an International Student Affairs Officer, a Corresponding and Recording Officer, and a Financial Officer. These officers will compose the Coordinating Committee.

Section 2       Role and Responsibilities

  1. The Coordinating Committee shall be the executive authority of the Union.  Within the policies established by the Constitution and Bylaws and Representative Assembly, the Coordinating Committee shall be responsible for the management of the Union, approve all expenditures, and carry out all policies of the Union.  It shall report its transactions and those of the Representative Assembly to the members and shall suggest policies for consideration by the Representative Assembly and/or membership.

Section 3       Meetings of the Coordinating Committee

  1. Regular meetings of the Coordinating Committee shall be scheduled at the beginning of each academic semester.  Special meetings of the Coordinating Committee can be requested by a Co-Chair and confirmed by a majority of the committee.

Section 4       Vacancies

  1. Vacancies in elected offices, except Co-Chairs, shall be filled by appointment of the Coordinating Committee.

Section 5       Duties and Power of the Coordinating Committee

  1. The Coordinating Committee functions as the executive body of the Union. Its duties, in addition to responsibilities enumerated elsewhere in the Constitution and Bylaws, include nominating and voting upon chairpersons and members of standing committees, except the Nominations and Elections Committee.
  2. Co-Chairs. Co-Chairs will be elected to two year terms, with one position open for election per academic year. The Co-Chairs shall divide the following responsibilities at their discretion: presiding over meetings of the Coordinating Committee and General Membership, liaising with the Head Representative, appointing special committees, serving as ex-officio member of all committees except Nominations and Elections Committee, and functioning as the executive officers of the Union. The Co-Chairs will have the authority to convene ad-hoc committees with the approval of a majority of the Coordinating Committee. The Co-Chairs shall perform the duties prescribed by these Constitution and Bylaws and by the parliamentary authority adopted by the Union.
    1. The Co-Chairs shall convene and chair the session of the Representative Assembly until election of a Head Representative at the start of each academic year.
  3. Outreach Officer.The Outreach Officer will update the website, maintain the newsletter, and handle all media, public relations, and communications for the Union. The Outreach Officer will also maintain open lines of communication to other MNEA local associations, graduate student employee union locals, and other campus and community organizations as needed.
  4. Corresponding and Recording Officer.The Corresponding and Recording Officer shall keep accurate minutes of all meetings of the Coordinating Committee, Representative Assembly, and any other Union business meetings, shall maintain official files, and shall assist the Co-Chairs with Union correspondence.
  5. Financial Officer.The Financial Officer shall hold the funds of the Union and disburse them upon authorization of the Coordinating Committee.  The Financial Officer shall be responsible for the collection of dues and shall follow any membership plan authorized by the Coordinating Committee and/or Membership Committee.  The Financial Officer shall collect dues through the membership plan and transmit amounts due to the Missouri NEA.  The Financial Officer shall maintain a roll of the members, shall keep accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements, shall report to each meeting of the Representative Assembly, and shall prepare an annual financial statement for publication to members as directed by the Coordinating Committee. Monthly financial reports shall be given to the Coordinating Committee and the Representative Assembly.

a. The Financial Officer shall be bonded by the Union.

b. The Financial Officer shall assist the Budget Committee in the initial drafting of                   the annual budget and shall provide copies of financial statements upon request                 of the Budget Committee Chairperson.

       6. Organizing and Grievance Officer.The Organizing and Grievance Officer will be              responsible for chairing a standing Organizing Committee, for internal and                          external organizing efforts at the direction of the Coordinating Committee, as well              as liaising with elected workplace representatives to address employee                                  grievances.

a. Organizing duties will include responsibility for organizing members of the                          bargaining unit into the union local, and coordinating approved organizing                          assistance to other unions or union drives.

         7. Diversity Officer.The Diversity Officer will be responsible for chairing a                              standing Diversity Committee, as well as coordinating with minoritized student                  groups, representative bodies, and pertinent administrative and faculty                                committees to ensure that the union is adequately representing the interests of                    all members of the bargaining unit.

          8. International Student Affairs Officer.The International Student Affairs Officer                will be responsible for liaising with international students and student groups,                    and for ensuring that the union adequately represents international students                      and their unique interests as non-resident students and employees.

Section 6       Qualifications for Officers

  1. All candidates for office shall be Active members of the Union. All officers must maintain membership in the Union while running for and holding office.


SECTION 1              Purpose

  1. The legislative and policy making body of the Union shall be the Representative Assembly. The Representative Assembly shall have the powers not delegated to the Coordinating Committee, the officers or other groups in the Association.

SECTION 2              Composition and Requirements

  1. All Representatives must be dues-paying members within the bargaining unit.
  2. Each Department or Program with workers within the bargaining unit will have the right to nominate one Representative to the Representative Assembly.
  3. Members of the Coordinating Committee shall be voting members of the Representative Assembly.
  4. Members of the Coordinating Committee vote in the Representative Assembly, but are not Representatives, and may not exercise the rights and duties of Representatives beyond exercise of parliamentary privileges including motions, debate, and voting.
  5. Members of the Coordinating Committee may not concurrently serve as Department or Program Representatives.
  6. Members of the Coordinating Committee may not serve as Head Representative.

SECTION 3              Attendance

  1. Any member of the Union who is not a Representative to the Representative Assembly may attend the Representative Assembly, but shall sit apart from the voting body. Any member may receive permission from the chair to speak.
  2. Observer Status: The Representative Assembly may grant non-voting observer seats as deemed appropriate, with the following conditions.

a. Observer privileges will expire at the end of each academic year, and must be                       approved by majority vote.

b. Observers cannot motion, second, or vote upon action items.

c. The Graduate Professional Council (GPC) will be granted a permanent, non-                          voting observer in the Representative Assembly. Their privileges will not require                renewal and cannot be revoked, except through amendment of the bylaws. All                    other provisions related to observers apply to the GPC observer.

SECTION 4              Election of Representatives

  1. Represented units have the right to determine procedure for nominations, provided it accords to one person, one vote, and ensures that all Representatives have a plurality of voted support of dues paying members within their represented unit.
  2. Disputed representation may be appealed to the Representative Assembly, which will render a decision by majority vote. The disputed Representative, if already sitting, will not be eligible to vote.
  3. If it is unclear whether a Department or Program has the right to nominate a Representative, it will be deliberated and ruled upon by vote by the Representative Assembly.

Section 5       Head Representative and Standing Orders

  1. The Representative Assembly will vote upon a Head Representative and approve Standing Orders at the first meeting of each academic year.
  2. The Representative Assembly shall meet on a monthly basis, to be determined during each semester, but can schedule special meetings at the request of the Head Representative, the Co-Chairs, or upon written request of a majority of Representatives.
  3. The Head Representative shall serve as the chair of the Representative Assembly.


Section 1       Appointments and Confirmation

  1. The Negotiations Team shall be open to all members of the Union. Five (5) lead negotiators will be appointed by recommendation of the Coordinating Committee, and confirmation of the Representative Assembly, with a designated Chief Negotiator solely vested with the authority to speak for the Negotiations Team, unless delegated.

Section 2       Setting of Goals

  1. Negotiation goals will be set based upon survey of the entire membership, and recommendation of both the Representative Assembly and the Coordinating Committee.

Section 3       Authority

  1. The Negotiations Team shall have the authority to bargain in good faith, including the right to modify proposals and make concessions on behalf of the Union subject only to ratification of the entire contract by the dues-paying membership. The Negotiations Team shall be responsible for representing the bargaining unit at the bargaining table and shall have the authority to reach on-the-spot tentative agreement on any or all items.

Section 4       Communication of Agreements

  1. The Negotiations Team shall refer the final tentative agreement package to the Representative Assembly.  The team does not have the authority to deal directly with the Union membership, except in collecting survey data to inform contract priorities.

Section 5       Negotiations Committee

  1. It shall be the responsibility of the Team to report to the Negotiations Committee and to meet with the Committee to receive direction and guidance.  The Team shall recommend positions and courses of action to the Negotiations Committee.  The Team shall meet periodically with the Coordinating Committee and the Chairperson of the Negotiations Committee.
  2. It shall be the responsibility of the Team to develop negotiation updates and reports for the general membership.


Section 1       Affiliation to NEA

  1. The NEA shall enter into a reciprocal contractual agreement between the NEA Local and the National Education Association as stated in NEA Constitution Article VIII; Affiliates and Special Interest Groups, and Bylaws 8-13-17.

Section 2       Affiliation to MNEA

  1. The Coalition of Graduate Workers-NEA shall affiliate with the Missouri NEA as regulated in Article VIII of the Missouri NEA Constitution.

Section 3       Delegates to NEA Representative Assembly

  1. Delegates to the NEA Representative Assembly shall be elected in compliance with Article III of the NEA Constitution and Bylaw 3.

Section 4       Delegates to MNEA Representative Assembly

  1. Delegates to the Missouri NEA Representative Assembly shall be elected in compliance with Article III of the Missouri NEA Constitutions.
  2. Each Co-Chair will be an automatic delegate to the Missouri NEA Representative Assembly. In the event that a Co-Chair foregoes the right, a replacement delegate will be selected through the additional delegate voting process.  Additional delegates, whether voting or non-voting, will be nominated from and voted upon annually by the general membership before the Missouri NEA deadline for submission of delegate names.

Section 5       Ethnic Minority Representation

  1. The Union shall take such steps as are legally permissible to achieve ethnic minority representation at least proportionate to its ethnic minority membership on elective and appointive bodies.


Section 1       Election Administration

  1. Elections will be administered by the Nominations and Elections Committee.
  2. No current or prospective member of the Coordinating Committee may be a member of the Nominations and Elections Committee.
  3. Criteria for chairship and composition of the Nominations and Elections Committee will be determined in the Standing Orders of the Representative Assembly. Criteria may not conflict with rules enumerated within the constitution and bylaws.
  4. The Nominations and Elections Committee will certify all election and recall results. In the case of a disputed result, their decision may be appealed to the Representative Assembly within five business days.

Section 2       Election of Officers

  1. Officers of the Union shall be elected for a one-year term beginning the date they take office and concluding when the following board takes office, as provided in subsection 5. Co-Chairs elected to replace an impeached, resigned, or recalled co-chair will serve the remainder of the original term.
  2. Co-Chairs will each be limited to one two-year term as a Co-Chair. A Co-Chair who was elected to serve out the term of an impeached, resigned, or recalled Co-Chair shall be permitted to seek re-election for a second term if the remainder of the original term is one semester or less.
  3. Officers will be limited to three consecutive years serving in a position on the Coordinating Committee.
  4. Officers of the Union shall be elected by secret ballot through a plurality of total votes cast.
  5. Election of officers shall take place at the final General Membership business meeting of the Spring semester. Officers shall take office the first day of June; preceding officers will maintain and transfer appropriate documentation to assist in the transition.
  6. Rules for conducting elections shall be established by the Nominations and Elections Committee, and confirmed by the Representative Assembly.
  7. All elections shall be in accordance with the one-person, one-vote principle.
  8. The Union shall conduct all elections with open nominations and a secret ballot.

Section 3       Recall

  1. Elected officials of the Union shall be subject to a recall election.
  2. The recall election shall be held upon a petition of 40% of the dues-paying Union membership. The petition’s validity will be certified by the Nominations and Elections Committee.

a. This clause will remain in force until the 2018-2019 academic year, and must be                   re-authorized or amended by that time.

3. The election shall be held at a meeting scheduled not less than thirty (30) nor more            than sixty (60) days after receipt of a valid petition.

4. Recall votes must be conducted through secret ballot.

5. Results will be certified by the Nominations and Elections Committee. Disputed                  results may be appealed to the Representative Assembly within five business days.


SECTION 1              Voting Requirements

  1. The Constitution and Bylaws can be amended by a majority vote of the membership present in a properly scheduled meeting of the General Assembly with Quorum as defined in Bylaw 2.

SECTION 2              Procedures

  1. Proposed amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws may be submitted by petition signed by a majority of the membership, Bylaws and Rules Committee, or Coordinating Committee.
  2. Proposed amendments will be printed in a publication at least thirty (30) days prior to the meeting at which they will be considered.
  3. Proposed amendments shall be accompanied by a written rationale.

SECTION 3              Electronic Notification and Meetings

  1. Unless indicated otherwise in the Constitution and Bylaws, all communications, including meeting notices may be sent electronically. The membership, Officers, Committees and other ad hoc groups are authorized to meet by electronic means so long as all members may simultaneously communicate with each other and participate during the meeting, in adherence to Union policies.



Section 1       Membership

  1. Active membership shall be open to any graduate worker defined as within the Coalition of Graduate Workers bargaining unit, pursuant to rules and guidelines within Article III.

a. The bargaining unit is inclusive of graduate student employees including                              Graduate Assistants, Graduate Fellows, Graduate Instructors, Graduate Library                    Assistants, Graduate Research Assistants, and Graduate Teaching Assistants.

2. Reserve membership shall be open to any person (i) who is on a leave of absence               of at least three months from the employment that qualifies him or her for Active               membership or (ii) who has held Active membership in the Association but whose             employment status no longer qualifies that individual for such membership.

3. Alumnus membership shall be open to alumni of the University of Missouri who                were active members of CGW before graduating.

a. Alumnus members can attend meetings of the general membership with                              approval of both co-chairs. Alumnus members shall not make motions or vote.

4. Any individual who is a member of a contract negotiating team representing the                University of Missouri-Columbia or the University of Missouri System shall be                      denied all forms of membership.

Section 2       Rights and Responsibilities

  1. The Union shall not deny membership to individuals on the basis of race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, physical or mental ability, veteran status, military obligations, or marital status.
  2. The right to vote and to hold elective or appointive positions shall be limited to Active Membership except as otherwise provided.
  3. All members shall be eligible to receive special services, to obtain assistance in the protection of professional and civil rights, and to receive reports and publications of the Union.
  4. Membership shall be continuous unless terminated for cause, as defined in the local or affiliate rules and bylaws.
  5. No member may be censured by, suspended, or expelled from the Union, without a due process hearing, which shall include an appropriate appellate procedure defined in Representative Assembly Standing Orders, administered by the Representative Assembly, and independent of the Coordinating Committee.

Section 3       Membership Dues

  1. Suggested changes in dues for the following membership year will be proposed by the Representative Assembly during the Spring semester, and submitted to a meeting of Active Members for ratification by the membership. If there are no proposed changes, the dues structure in place may continue without action taken.

Section 4       Dues Transmittal and Enforcement Procedures

  1. The Union shall enter into a contract with the Missouri NEA governing the transmission of Union Missouri NEA dues and National Education Association dues to the Missouri NEA who will process them appropriately.
  2. The Union shall transmit dues to the Missouri NEA as stated in Bylaw 1, Section 5 of the Missouri NEA’s Bylaws.
  3. If the Union has failed to transmit dues in accordance with Missouri NEA Bylaws 1, Section 5, the Union shall have no right to participate in the Missouri NEA Representative Assembly other than to elect officers and vote on dues increases.

SECTION 5  Powers

  1. The legislative authority of the Union shall be vested in the membership.
  2. Powers not delegated by the bylaws shall be vested in the membership.


  1. In a General Membership business meeting, for which the membership has been properly notified, the quorum shall be at least 20% of the active membership. In a Representative Assembly meeting, the quorum shall be a majority of the number who has registered as attending or who answered “attending” on roll call.

REVISED: 09/15/2018

%d bloggers like this: