OPSEU Coalition of Racialized Workers

Workers of Colour Caucus Terms of Reference

Workers of Colour Caucus Terms of Reference


Article 1 – Name

1.1 The caucus will be known as the Workers of Colour Caucus (“WOCC”) of the Ontario Public Service Union (“OPSEU”).

Article 2 – Purpose

2.1       The WOCC represents all racialized workers within OPSEU.

2.2       The WOCC is guided by the following principles of “race” and racialization as adopted by the Ontario Human Rights Commission in its Policy and Guidelines on Racism and Racial Discrimination:

  1. “Race” is defined as a social construct specific to economic, political, geographic and cultural factors, and is the continuing impact of a historical legacy of racism,  such as the effect of colonialism and slavery;
  2. Racialization is ‘the process by which societies construct races as real, different and unequal in ways that matter to economic, political and social life.’

2.3       The specific purpose and objectives of the WOCC are:

  1. To organize, educate, support, and empower all racialized workers within OPSEU;
  2. To ensure racialized workers are adequately represented within OPSEU’s structures;
  3. To encourage the participation of racialized workers at local, regional and in all decision-making processes within OPSEU;
  4. To monitor the situation of racialized groups by promoting the collection and analysis of Code-consistent “race” based data;  
  5. To review policies, laws and regulations which create and perpetuate racial discrimination;
  6. To ensure systemic racial barriers in social, economic and political institutions are removed and corrective action taken;
  7. To work with equity-seeking groups to broaden and develop the goals of the caucus, and build coalitions within the community.
  8. The function of the caucus shall include assisting in establishing workers of colour caucuses and committees within the regions to develop and promote programs to encourage workers of colour to participate in Union activities and to increase the awareness and understanding of human rights (anti-racism) issues throughout the membership.

Article 3 – Membership

3.1 General

Membership in the WOCC requires the tangible expression of concern and participation in the purpose of the WOCC.  Membership is a deliberate act that encourages the active participation of racialized workers at OPSEU and others who support the purpose of the WOCC and its objectives as set out in in Article 2.            

3.2       The WOCC will not exceed ten (10) members.

3.3.      Terms will be two (2) years.  A member who has completed a term will be eligible for reconsideration under the same criteria as Article 3.6.

3.4       One (1) OPSEU Executive Board Member and one Officer from the Equity Unit may offer support to the Committee.  The Executive Board liaison and Equity Unit Officer may attend Committee meetings with voice but no vote.  . It is understood that participation of all others is by invitation only.

3.5 Rights of Members

WOCC members will have the following rights:

  1. To be eligible to be elected as a member of the WOCC Executive;
  2. To have access to the meeting agenda and minutes of the WOCC meetings;
  3. To resign in writing at any time;
  4. To have one (1) vote on each question arising at any meeting of the WOCC;
  5. Followed by approval of the Executive, to be informed promptly by the Secretary of their admission to WOCC membership.

3.6 Eligibility for Membership

Racialized members who subscribe to the purpose and objectives of the WOCC as defined will be considered eligible to hold membership. A member will be considered a member in good standing of the WOCC provided he/she meets the conditions of membership as outlined in Article 3.

3.7 Selection Process

  1. When a vacancy(ies) occur(s) applications will be sought from the OPSEU membership and such notice will be advertised broadly.
  2. The WOCC will select a sub-committee from the WOCC comprised of three (3) members. It is also recommended that the assigned Equity Unit Officer   participate in the sub-committee.  This sub-committee will be known as the Selection Committee. 
  3. Member applications will be forwarded to the Selection Committee for review.   The Selection Committee will present their recommendation(s) to the WOCC.  The WOCC will by formal resolution and vote make the final determination of the new Caucus member(s).
  4. The Selection Committee will apply the following criteria in their selection process:
  5. geographic balance of the regions with active racialized members;
  6. to the greatest extent possible, representation of the diverse racialized communities served by the Union (i.e. wide range of Black members, members from the Caribbean, Africa, North Africa, South Asian and South East Asian communities);
  7. mix of community and union activity including work on caucus events;
  8. gender balance;
  9. a demonstrated desire to network, advocate, educate, and increase equality for racialized members.

3.8 Termination of Membership

  1. Membership in the WOCC ceases to exist:
  1. Upon resignation or termination of the member;
  2. When a member’s term of membership expires and is not renewed;
  3. When the member ceases to be an OPSEU member, a retired member or otherwise in accordance with the OPSEU Constitution.
  1. The WOCC membership of any member will be deemed to have been abandoned by the member in their position if the member has failed to attend 3 consecutive WOCC meetings without a reason that is acceptable to the caucus.
  2. Any dispute regarding eligibility for or termination of membership will be decided by a majority vote of the WOCC, then referred to the President’s office for determination.

Article 4 – Structure

4.1       WOCC Executive Officers will be elected in accordance with OPSEU’s constitution. Such elections will be conducted by an Officer of the Equity Unit and recorded in meeting minutes that are forwarded to the Equity Unit.

4.2       A Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer will be elected from the members of the WOCC.

4.3       The Chair will be responsible for:

  1. setting the WOCC meeting agenda;
  2. delegating and implementing tasks and projects of the WOCC;
  3. attending or designating someone to attend OPSEU Equity Chairs meetings;
  4. in conjunction with the Treasurer, maintaining the budget approved by Convention and ensuring that expenses stay within the approved budget.

4.4       The Vice-Chair will be responsible for:

  1. delegating and implementing the tasks and projects of the WOCC as assigned by the Chair;
  2. In the absence of the Chair, assuming all the responsibilities and duties of the Chair.

4.5       The Treasurer will be responsible for, in conjunction with the Chair:

  1. maintaining the budget approved by Convention;
  2. ensuring that expenses stay within the approved budget;  
  3. providing regular financial reports to the caucus.

4.6       The Secretary will be responsible for:  

  1. annual convention report;
  2. assisting with the yearly work plan;
  3. generating and distributing minutes of the WOCC meetings within thirty (30) days of each meeting.

Article 5 – Finance

5.1       The activities of the WOCC will be funded centrally through the Union, as approved by the budget by the Annual Convention.

5.2       The WOCC will have a bank account to handle donations from members.   All cheques will require two (2) signatories, one of whom will be the Treasurer.  The Chair, Vice-Chair and Treasurer will have signing authority.

5.3       A quarterly budget of actual expenses compared to the approved budget will   be provided to the Chair and Treasurer of the WOCC by the assigned Officer of the Equity Unit.

5.4       To support the WOCC budget submission, an annual report will be provided to the Executive Board by the Chair.

Article 6 – Meetings

6.1       The WOCC will meet a minimum of four (4) times a year.  One of the four annual meetings will be a two-day meeting for budgeting purposes.  At least two (2) of the four (4) annual meetings will be held by video or teleconference.

6.2      Quorum for meetings will be a simple majority of WOCC members.

    6.3      The order of meeting business will be consistent with OPSEU constitution.

      6.4 Where possible, decisions will be made by consensus. Where consensus cannot be reached, a vote will be called. A vote will be carried by a majority of WOCC members.  Minority concerns will be noted for the record.

        6.5 The Chair will have the power to call a meeting at any time. No public notice will be required. However, notice of the time and place of meetings will be given to each member by sending a notice via e-mail fourteen (14) days before the time fixed for the meeting.  This notice period can be shortened in the event of an urgent issue requiring a speedy decision.

          6.6 Where a meeting of the Committee is deemed by the Chair to be impractical or unnecessary, the members may be polled by e-mail or telephone.  Confirmation of any decisions made in this manner will be done at the next meeting.

            6.7 Members may attend meetings electronically or via teleconference upon approval of the Chair.

              Article 7 – Approval and amendment of the Terms of Reference

              7.1 The terms of reference will be approved by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote at a meeting of the WOCC.

                7.2 Any subsequent amendments will be approved by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote at a meeting of the WOCC.

                  Article 8 – Tangible assets, physical property of OPSEU

                  8.1       Tangible assets are for WOCC use. Tangible assets may be requested by a WOCC member from the Chair or Vice-Chair by written notice.

                  8.2       In the event a member is no longer a member of the WOCC, all physical property will be returned to the Caucus.