Constitution of the McMaster University Academic Librarians’ Association


1.1 This organization shall be known as THE MCMASTER UNIVERSITY ACADEMIC LIBRARIANS’ ASSOCIATION and hereinafter shall be referred to as the “Association”. McMaster University shall be referred to as the “University”.


2.1 The purpose of the Association is to:

  1. promote the welfare of the academic librarians employed at the University;
  2. bargain collectively terms and conditions of employment, including remuneration and working conditions on behalf of academic librarians at the University;
  3. protect academic freedom while advancing the professional pursuits of academic librarians at the University;
  4. facilitate the exchange of ideas between the Association and the broader University community, as well as with the general public;
  5. encourage co-operation with other elements of the academic staff of this University as well as with the academic staff of other Universities;
  6. advance the interests of the Association and its affiliates.


3.1 The Association shall be a member of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, also known as CAUT, upon approval of the Association as a member by CAUT.

3.2 The Association may affiliate with other organizations whose objectives are broadly consistent with its own.


4.1 Full Membership in the Association is open to all academic librarians employed by the University, excepting those excluded by the definition set out in Section One (3) of the Ontario Labour Relations Act as amended from time to time.1

4.2 Any employee of the University eligible for membership in the Association shall be admitted to membership upon signing an application for membership.

4.3 Membership shall continue until a change of status results in ineligibility for membership in the Association. Members on recognized leave from the University are eligible to maintain their membership in the Association during the period of leave.

4.4. Once a contract employee has signed a membership form, he/she shall not have to renew that form again, even if there is an interruption of her/his contracts. For the purposes of participating in Association activities and governance, contract employees shall be considered members of the Association for one calendar year from the contract start date of their last employment contract at the University or the expiration of any seniority rights they may have accrued, whichever comes last. Notwithstanding the above, for purposes of representing a member in resolving a grievance matter arising from their employment at the University, the Association shall continue to support said member until the matter is dropped by the member or resolved to the Association’s satisfaction.

4.5. Any member may withdraw from membership upon written notice to the Secretary of the Association.


5.1 Dues will be determined by the members in a duly constituted meeting. Proposed changes to the level of dues are to be made by the Executive, with notice of the proposed change circulated to the members of the Association in writing at least 10 days before the meeting. 50% plus one of those voting at the meeting shall be sufficient to approve a change.


6.1 The Executive Committee of the Association shall consist of:

  1. President
  2. Vice President (President-Elect)
  3. Secretary
  4. Treasurer
  5. MUALA Member-at-Large (x2)
  6. Past-President (non-voting)
  7. Chief Negotiating Officer (non-voting, ex officio)
  8. Chief Grievance Officer (non-voting, ex officio)

6.2 The Executive Committee’s voting officers (Vice President (President-Elect), Secretary, Treasurer, and Members-at-Large) shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting, as required. The position of Vice-President (President-Elect) is elected for a one year term, to be immediately followed by a one year term as President, and finally, a one year term as Past-President. Terms in office for all other positions shall generally be for two years and shall commence on July 1 following the elections in the spring term. Executive Committee officers are eligible for re-election.

6.3 Any member in good standing may be nominated to stand for election to the Executive Committee’s unrestricted officer positions (Vice President (President-Elect), Secretary, Treasurer, and Members-at-Large).  Nominations submitted to the Secretary more than 10 days in advance of the Annual General Meeting shall be circulated to the membership prior to the meeting. Nominations may also be made by a motion from the floor at the Annual General Meeting.

6.4 Elections shall be conducted by secret ballot following the close of nominations for each position. Elections shall generally proceed in the following order:  Vice President (President-Elect), Secretary, Treasurer, Members-at-Large.  The candidate receiving the greatest number of votes shall be elected to office. Only members of the Association in good standing shall be entitled to vote.

6.5 In the event that an office becomes vacant, the vacancy can be temporarily filled by the Executive Committee, consistent with the eligibility requirements described in 6.3 above, until an individual is elected into the vacant office by action of the membership at the next general meeting.

6.6 The Chief Grievance Officer shall be appointed by the voting members of the Executive Committee for a one year term.

6.7 The Chief Negotiator shall be appointed by the voting members of the Executive Committee.

6.8 Of the Executive Committee’s voting officers (President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer), at least one must be filled by a member in good standing from the University Library and at least one must be filled by a member in good standing from the Health Sciences Library.


7.1 The President shall:

  1. preside at all meetings of the Association and at meetings of the Executive Committee;
  2. enforce the Association’s Constitution and By-Laws, be responsible for the smooth and efficient operation of the Association;
  3. co-sign all cheques with the Treasurer and sign all contracts approved by the Executive Committee;
  4. set the agenda for meetings of the Association and Executive Committee;
  5. represent the Association in its dealings with affiliated organizations, or designate another to serve in this capacity;
  6. be the official spokesperson of the Association or designate another to serve in this capacity.

7.2 The Vice President shall:

  1. perform the duties of the President in his/her absence or disability or refusal to act. In cases of vacancy, the Vice President shall succeed to the office of President until the election of a new President;
  2. fulfill the duties assigned by either the President or the Executive Committee;
  3. oversee the communications activities of the Association.
7.3 The Past President shall:
  1. fulfill the duties of the president or vice president in their absence and perform such duties as may from time to time be determined by the Executive Committee. If the immediate past president is not available to serve, the Executive Committee may appoint a previous past president.
  2. assume responsibility for coordinating the Association’s efforts to express support and solidarity for other unions and related groups, as deemed appropriate by the Executive Committee.
  3. offer advice and guidance to the President and Executive Committee, as required.

7.4 The Secretary shall:

  1. issue notices for meetings of the Association and the Executive Committee;
  2. maintain all records, documents and correspondence of the Association;
  3. keep the minutes of Association and Executive Committee meetings.

7.5 The Treasurer shall:

  1. be responsible for the care and custody of the funds and assets of the Association according to accepted practice;
  2. present an account of the Association’s finances at each General Meeting;
  3. maintain books of account and make these available for inspection to the members of the Association on request;
  4. arrange for audits of the Association accounts, as necessary;
  5. co-sign all cheques with the President.

7.6 Members-at-Large shall

  1. Participate in meetings of the MUALA Executive Committee
  2. Support project-based work of the MUALA Executive Committee
  3. Manage all MUALA social media accounts
  4. Take a lead role in liaising with other McMaster unions and labour-related groups

7.7 The Chief Negotiator shall

  1. Chair the Negotiation Committee;
  2. Serve as Association’s primary spokesperson in collective bargaining with the employer.

7.8 The Chief Grievance Officer shall

  1. Ensure that grievances brought to the Association’s attention are dealt with in an appropriate and expeditious fashion;
  2. Represent members in grievance meetings with the employer;
  3. Train and prepare other members to serve as grievance representatives, as needed.

7.9 The Executive Committee shall:

  1. administer the affairs of the Association between general meetings of the membership;
  2. make or cause to be made for the Association, in its name, any kind of contract which the Association may lawfully enter into;
  3. determine the charge for, and appoint members to, the standing and ad hoc committees of the Association;
  4. develop general collective bargaining policy, and ensure that the membership is appropriately consulted and informed at all stages of the collective bargaining process;
  5. develop the Association’s internal grievance procedures, and ensure that members’ rights and the Association’s interests are adequately protected;
  6. determine if a grievance should proceed to arbitration.


8.1 There shall be a Standing Committee on Negotiations. Other Standing Committees may only be established or abolished by a two-thirds majority vote at a general meeting of the Association, following no fewer than 10 days’ notice of motion.

8.2 The Negotiations Committee shall represent the Association in negotiations with the University. The Chief Negotiator shall chair this committee.

8.3 The Chairperson of each standing committee, or his/her designate, shall report to the Executive Committee as requested and to the general membership on activities of the committee at least once a year at the Annual General Meeting.

8.4 Ad hoc committees may be established or abolished by a majority vote at any Executive Committee or general meeting of the Association.

8.5 Committees of the Association shall generally have no fewer than 2 members in addition to the chairperson. Committee appointments shall be for two years and are renewable. Standing Committee members shall be appointed by the Executive Committee in consultation with the appointed Chair of that committee. Each Standing Committee shall meet at the call of its Chair or at the call of any two of its members.


9.1. The Annual General Meeting of the Association will be held between May 1 and June 30 of each year.

9.2 A second General Meeting of the Association shall be held at least once each year, generally in the fall semester. At least 10 days notice in writing of all meetings shall be given to members of the Association. Adequate but shorter notice in writing may be necessary in cases of emergency meetings.

9.3 Special meetings of the Association and meetings of the Executive Committee shall be held at the call of the President.

9.4 The President shall call a meeting of the Association within 21 days of the receipt of a written request of 30% of the members of the Association, or any three members of the Executive Committee.

9.5 Failure of a member to receive notification of meeting will not invalidate any proceedings taken thereat.


10.1 Quorum for a meeting of the Association shall be 8 members or 30% of the membership, whichever is less. If, at a duly advertised meeting, it is established that there is no quorum, at the next meeting a quorum will be deemed to exist no matter how many attend.

10.2 At Executive Committee meetings, four members of the Committee shall constitute a quorum, provided that, at least three of those present are voting members.

10.3 At Committee meetings, a majority of the serving members of the committee shall constitute a quorum.


11.1 The Chairperson of a meeting of the Association shall not vote, except to create or break a tie. In the case of a tie vote, the motion shall be held to fail.

11.2 The Chairperson of a meeting of the Executive Committee shall have a regular vote, provided that he/she is a voting member of the Executive Committee. In the case of a tie vote, the motion shall be held to fail.

11.3 The Chairperson of an ad hoc or standing committee of the Association shall have a regular vote. In the case of a tie vote, the motion shall be held to fail.

11.4 Robert’s Rules of Order (Newly Revised) shall govern the Association in any matters wherein they are not superseded by this Constitution, special rules of order, and such other policies as may be approved by the membership at a meeting of the Association.


12.1 Amendments to this Constitution may be approved by the membership at any meeting of the Association. Proposed amendments must be forwarded to the Secretary in time for them to be circulated to the members, at least 10 days before the meeting at which the amendments shall be considered. Constitutional changes must be ratified by a two-third vote of the members attending said meeting.


13.1 Every member of the Executive Committee who has, directly or indirectly, any interest in a contract or transaction to which the Association is, or is to be, a party, other than as a member of the Association, shall declare his/her interest in such contract or transaction.

13.2 Except for reasonable expenses, release time, or course buyouts, Officers, committee members, and other members volunteering their time shall not generally be remunerated for their activities on behalf of the Association.

13.3 Every officer or other person undertaking any action or liability on behalf of the Association, either within the scope of his/her office or with the express authority of the Association shall be indemnified and saved harmless out of the funds of the Association from and against:

  1. any and all costs, charges, and expenses sustained or incurred in relation to the affairs of the Association, and
  2. any and all costs, charges, damages, and expenses sustained or incurred with respect to any action, suit, or proceeding brought against her/him for any act or thing done or permitted by him/her in the execution of her/his duties, unless such costs, charges, damages, or expenses are occasioned by her/his own willful neglect or default.

13.4 The property and assets of the Association shall belong to the Association as an entity; shall not constitute the property of any individual, and no member shall have any claim upon the property and assets of the Association on ceasing to be a member or at any time thereafter.

13.5 In the event of the dissolution or wind-up of the Association, all assets shall be assigned to a successor organization of academic staff at the University. Should a successor organization not exist at the time of dissolution or wind-up, the assets shall be transferred to a person or corporation designated by the Executive Committee as trustee. The trustee shall pay all liabilities and hold all remaining assets on terms and conditions established by the Executive Committee pending the establishment of a successor organization. Should no successor organization be established within two years of wind-up of the Association, any remaining assets of the Association shall be turned over to the Harry Crowe Foundation to advance the collective defense of academic freedom.