Constitution

of the Dominica Association of Teachers

A REGISTERED TRADE UNION
(18TH DECEMBER, 1990)
IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF DOMINICA

Title

    1. The Organization shall be called the Dominica Association of Teachers hereinafter referred to as the ‘Association’. Its motto is “To Uphold True Professionalism”.
    2. The registered office of the Association shall be situated in the city of Roseau or such other place as may be decided upon by the National Executive of the Association.

    Objectives

  1. The objectives of the Association shall be:
    1. To organize and unite the Teachers of Dominica working within and without established educational institutions of the country.
    2. To represent and defend the interests of Teachers by ensuring the payment of fair wages and the provision of proper working conditions and terms of employment, by monitoring Trade Union legislation to see that the right of Teachers are not violated; by rendering advice, assistance and protection to financial members.
    3. To take such measures as may be deemed necessary for the progress and development of the Association including:
      1. To purchase, acquire, lease and hold real property and to sell, lease, mortgage or transfer the same.
      2. To borrow money from any person or corporation and to give security for any money so borrowed on any of the real and personal property of the Association by way of mortgage or other-wise.
      3. To accept all gifts, legacies and bequeaths which may be given to the Association.
      4. To create institutions that will ensure the social welfare and cultural development of members.
    4. To maintain a high standard of academic and professional performance by monitoring the professional conduct of teachers, providing for the all round development of teachers, establishing professional bodies within the Association.
    5. To establish and strengthen relations with Teachers’ Organizations the world over.
    6. To provide means for the co-operation of teachers and for expression of their collective opinion upon matters affecting the interest of Education and of the profession; to participate in the educational decision making ~
    7. To work resolutely towards the establishment and maintenance of a relevant productive and democratic Educational System allowing for the maximum development of individual potential and of national resources.
    8. To work towards the total elimination of illiteracy in the country.
    9. To monitor new educational developments and seek to introduce them guided by considerations of their relevance and applicability to the local situation.
    10. To recognize and safeguard the rights of all students in educational institutions, and to assist in the organization of student bodies.
    11. To work closely with the wider community involving in educational processes and promoting the involvement of parents.
    12. To establish and maintain relations with other workers’ organizations local, regional and international; and seek to advance the Trade Union Movement.
    13. To instil in Teachers and Students a strong sense of patriotism and national unity.
    14. To seek to exert the influence of teachers on all matters of national importance.
    15. To promote and support all efforts attained at uniting the people of the Caribbean.
    16. To defend all fundamental rights and freedoms as have universal acceptance, and to work towards the removal of injustices and inequalities in society.
    17. To support efforts against oppression and exploitation, and to promote and maintain international peace.

    Membership And Subscription

    1. Membership in the Association is open to all persons in Dominica in the Teaching Profession at any level in any recognized educational institution, and to any other persons recognized by the Association of Teachers.
    2. Membership will be in three classes: (i)Full (ii)Associate, and (iii)Honorary
      1. A Full member is a member in good financial standing. A full member is entitled to all rights and benefits accruing to all full members, including the right to vote and to hold office.
      2. An Associate member shall not be entitled to all the rights and benefits of full members. He/she shall not be entitled to hold office but shall be permitted to attend National and Branch General Meetings. Retired Dominican Teachers, teachers abroad and foreign teachers in Dominica shall be eligible for associate membership. However other than retired Dominican teachers all associate members shall be required to pay fifty percent (50%) of the subscription fee. The National Executive retains the right to reject an application for associate membership and to define the activities in which associate members may participate.
      3. An Honorary member is a person so elected by the National Executive or by any higher body of the Association for having made some outstanding contribution to Education and or Trade Unionism. An Honorary member shall not pay subscriptions and shall not be eligible to vote or hold office.
      4. No member. except an Honorary member shall be a member of another trade union.
    3. A person becomes a full financial member by paying and continuing to pay monthly subscription as decided by the Biennial Convention or National General Meeting.
    4. To become a Full member of the Association, a person shall fill out the appropriate Membership and Subscription Deduction Forms and submit them to the General Secretary who will make the required arrangements.
    5. In addition to the above subscription, the Association may request of members to make further contributions from time to time as circumstances may require e.g. humanitarian, disaster.
    6. Each Full member is entitled to a membership-card and a copy of THE RULES OF THE DOMINICA ASSOCIATION OF TEACHERS.
    7. The subscription fee of the Association shall be determined by the Biennial Convention or National General Meeting provided that at least one month of notice is given via the Association Bulletin or any other means. All financial members shall be bound by the decision.

    Finance

    1. The financial year shall end 31st December of each year.
    2. The Bankers of the Association shall be the Roseau Credit Union or any other bank as may be decided upon by the Executive.
    3. The Bank Account shall be operated by the Treasurer, President, General Secretary and two (2) other Trustees. The signatures of any two of those signatories shall be valid for the purpose of withdrawal.
    4. All monies shall be the property of the Association and shall be deposited with the Bankers. However, the General Secretary and Treasurer may retain in their possession such an amount of petty cash as the Executive shall decide.
    5. Travelling allowances of such sums or rate as shall be determined by the Executive shall be paid to the officers of the Association.
      1. All subscriptions to the Association shall, except otherwise provided, be paid through the Treasury by means of salary deduction.
      2. A non-financial member is one who has been in arrears for more than three months. To become a financial member a reinstatement fee to be decided by the National Executive shall be paid.
      3. After the non-payment of dues for three consecutive months membership in the Association shall cease.
    6. The Executive shall appoint Public Auditors to audit and report annually on the account of the Association. The Treasurer shall supply the Auditor with all books, records and other documents which in the Auditor’s opinion relate to the work of the Association.
    7. The funds and the property of the Association shall be vested in the name of the Association and such funds and such property shall be under the control and at the disposal of the Executive for the respective purpose to which the various funds are devoted.

    Constitution

  2. The Association shall consist of the following levels of operation:
    1. The Biennial Convention
    2. National General Meeting
    3. National Executive
    4. Secretariat
    5. Branches

    Biennial Convention

    1. The supreme authority of the Association shall be vested in the Biennial Convention which shall be held every two years during the school vacation in the month of April The Biennial Convention shall be open to all members of the Association (Full, Associate, Honorary) but only Full members shall be permitted to vote and hold office. A quorum for the Convention will be one quarter of financial member-ship.
    2. Notice of the Biennial Convention along with the Convention’s agenda and procedure which shall be determined by the National Executive, shall be given at least six weeks prior to the commencement of the Convention in the Association’s Bulletin or by any other means in writing.
    3. The purpose of the Biennial Convention shall be to receive reports from the National Executive and Branch Presidents or Branch representatives to review the work of the Association over the past two years, to decide on a programme for drafts of which shall be submitted to the National Executive for the upcoming two years and to consider resolutions, circulation at least six weeks before the Convention, and to deal with all matter included on the Convention’s Agenda.
    4. The Biennial Convention is empowered to amend the RULES OF THE ASSOCIATION by a simple majority of financial members present.
    5. Elections of officers to the National Executive shall take place at the Biennial Convention. Any Full member shall be entitled to vote and to hold office of the Association.
    6. Voting
      1. The manner for voting at National and Branch levels for the election of officers shall be by ballot only.
      2. All candidates nominated for office at the National Executive must be delegates from the branches.
      3. There shall be no proxy voting for officers at the National Executive.
      4. Each representative or delegate shall have one vote, save and except the President who shall have a casting vote.
      5. Questions except those dealing with changes in the Constitution shall be resolved by means of a majority vote.
    7. The election procedure shall be decided on by the National Executive. and be circulated to the Branches at least six weeks before the Convention. The National Executive shall name a returning officer.

    National General Meeting

    1. The National General Meeting shall be the supreme authority between Biennial Conventions and shall take place at least one per school year. National General meetings shall be open to all members (Full, Associate, Honorary) but only Full members are eligible to vote. The quorum for a National General Meeting is one twelfth of the financial membership. Decisions shall be made on the basis of a simple majority.
    2. The National General Meeting shall examine the execution of decisions made by the Biennial Convention and the implementation of the Convention’s programme, shall examine reports from the National and Branch Executives, and shall make major decisions on the Association’s business.
    3. Notice of the National General Meetings, as well as the agenda to be reported by the National Executive, shall be given in the Association’s Bulletin or any other means at least one month prior to the date of the meeting.

      Extraordinary General Meeting

    4. An Extraordinary National General Meeting may be summoned by the National Executive or by petition from fifty (50) Full Financial Member. The matters to be discussed shall be clearly outlined in the petition submitted to the General Secretary. Such a meeting shall be called within twenty-one days of receipt of the petition.

      Emergency General Meeting

    5. An Emergency National General Meeting may be summoned by the National Executive for the purpose of dealing with urgent matters.

    National Executive

    1. The National Executive shall consist of nine officers elected at the Biennial Convention, and the Immediate Past President. The officers of the National Executive are: President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, General Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, Public Relations Officer and two (2) Trustees. Any member in good financial standing shall be eligible to hold office on the National Executive and shall be eligible for reelection at the end of that term of office.
    2. The term of office of the National Executive shall be two years.
    3. A member of the National Executive may be removed from office by a National General Meeting. Vacancies on the National Executive caused by resignation, expulsion. prolonged illness, or death shall be filled at any regular National General Meeting.
    4. Business meetings of the National Executive shall be held at least once every month.
    5. If any member of the National Executive fails to at-tend three (3) consecutive Business Meetings without reasonable excuse, his/her) seat shall automatically become vacant.
    6. The National Executive shall ensure implementation of decisions and programmes made at the Biennial Convention, and at the National General Meeting, monitor all developments in the Association; and take steps necessary for the realization of the objectives of the Association.
    7. The National Executive is empowered to make supplementary regulations, to be endorsed by the National General meeting, that are deemed necessary for the proper functioning of the Association and shall interpret any areas of the rules of the Association that may be unclear.
    8. The National Executive shall have power to co-opt other members in the interest of the Association. and to appoint Standing Committees. Such Standing Committees shall consider such matters as are referred to them by the National Executive and shall make recommendations.
    9. Members of the National Executive have the right to be present and participate in any meeting of any committee or branch of the Association.

    National Secretariat

    1. The National Secretariat of the Association shall comprise the President, General Secretary, Treasurer of the National Executive, and any other officer named by the National Executive. The only full time paid officer shall be the Secretary.
    2. The National Secretariat shall be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Association ensuring the full implementation of decisions and programmes
    3. The National Secretariat shall be empowered to summon Extraordinary or Emergency Meetings of the National Executive as need arises as well as meetings with delegates from the various branches.
    4. The National Secretariat shall he responsible for supervising the National Office which shall have an office staff to be decided upon by the National Executive and paid for from the funds of the Association.

    Branches

    1. Members of the Association shall form themselves into Branches for the purposes of carrying out the objectives of the Association. The formation of such Branches shall be subject to the approval of the Biennial Convention.
    2. The number of Branches and the boundaries of Branches shall he decided by the Biennial Convention. New Branches shall be decided on by the Biennial Convention. Branches shall cover specific geographic areas of the country, the name of the Branch shall he decided on by the members of that Branch and ratified by the National Executive.
    3. Branches shall make decisions in their interests operating within the rules of the Association, and within the framework of the decisions of the Biennial Convention, National General Meetings and the National Executive.
    4. No member of the Association shall belong to more than one Branch at the same time Any question arising as to the Branch to which any member of the Association shall belong shall be settled by the National Executive of the Association. That decision shall be final.
    5. Each Branch shall draft its own by-laws providing that they do not in any way conflict the rules of the Association. A copy of such by-laws shall be registered with the General Secretary for ratification by the National Executive.
    6. Each Branch of the Association shall be empowered to raise local funds to defray expenses of the Branch. A percentage of monthly subscriptions based on the number of financial members of the Branch shall be allocated to the Branch. This percentage shall be decided by the Biennial Convention.
    7. Supreme authority of the Branch shall be vested in the Branch General Branch Meeting, to be held at least once per term. One of the Branch General Meetings shall be the Annual Branch General Meeting to be held during the month of October at which Branch Executive reports shall be given and the election of officers held.
    8. The Branch General Meeting shall make amendments to the Branch’s by-laws. define tasks of the Branch Executive and monitor the performance of Branch Executive members.
    9. Branch General Meetings shall be open to all members of the Association but only Full Members of the Branch shall be eligible to vote or hold office.
    10. At least two weeks notice of the Branch General Meetings including the agenda to be prepared by the Branch Executive, shall be given.
    11. The Branch Executive shall be the supreme authority of the Branch between Branch General Meetings, and shall meet at least once per month with a copy of the official minutes of each Executive meeting submitted to the National General Secretary within a week of such meeting.
    12. The Branch Executive shall ensure full implementation of decisions made at Branch General Meeting, National Executive, National General Meeting and Biennial Congress, and shall co-opt any member of the general body of the Branch to assist in the Executive’s work.
    13. Decisions of the Branch Executive shall be on the basis of a simple majority, with the Branch President having an original and casting vote.
    14. The Branch Secretariat comprising the President, Secretary, Treasurer, and any other officer(s) decided on by the Branch Executive, shall conduct the business of the Branch between Executive meetings.
    15. The Branch shall be empowered to establish a Branch Office with a staff paid from the funds of the Branch.
    16. When a Branch ceases to function or it’s functioning poorly, the National Executive retains the right to take steps necessary for re-activating it.

    Duties of Officers

  3. The President
    1. Shall preside over all National Meetings of the Association and shall be responsible for the proper conduct of business at all such meetings. He/she shall have both an original and a casting vote.
    2. Shall sign and date the minutes of every meeting at which he/she presides at the time they are confirmed.
    3. Shall convene all meetings through the General Secretary.
    4. Shall be a signatory along with the other members of the National Secretariat and the Trusts, to the bank, and shall endorse expenditure of the Association.
    5. Shall, along with the National Secretariat, ensure that proper administration of the affairs of the Association according to the Constitution and orders of the Association and shall be directly responsible for the proper working of the Association.
    6. Shall act generally on behalf of the Association with the consent of the National Executive.
    7. Shall be responsible for all official releases of the Association within the Association and to the public and press~
  4. The National First Vice-President
    1. Shall act in the absence of the President and shall assist him/her generally.
    2. Shall, in the event of a vacancy occurring in the office of the President assume the duties and authorities of that office until the next National General Meeting.
    3. Shall execute any other duties and hold any other office determined by the National Executive or any higher body of the Association.
  5. The National Second Vice-President
    1. Shall act in the absence of the President and of the First Vice-President and shall assist him/her generally.
    2. Shall. in the event of vacancies occurring in the office of both the President and the First Vice-President, assume the duties and authorities of the President until the next National General Meeting.
    3. Shall execute any other duties and hold any other of-floe determined by the National Executive or any higher body of the Association
  6. The National General Secretary
    1. Shall carry out the instructions of the National Executive and shall conduct the correspondence of the Association.
    2. Shall he fully responsible for the records of the Association.
    3. Shall, as part of the National Secretariat, be responsible for the proper management of the Association’s affairs.
    4. Shall he a signatory, along with the other members of the National Secretariat and Trustees, to the bank.
    5. Shall keep an accurate and up-to-date register of all members of the Association.
    6. Shall. in conjunction with the President, sign documents of the Association forwarded to Government or other bodies. Such co-signing shall be directed by the National Executive.
    7. Shall be responsible for the preparation and notification of all meetings including the circulation of the agenda, and for the preparation of all National Executive reports to the National General meeting and the Biennial Convention, shall forward to all Branch Executives a copy of the confirmed minutes of each business meeting of the National Executive within one week of confirmation.
    8. Shall execute any other duties defined by the National Executive or higher body of the Association.
  7. The Assistant General Secretary
    1. Shall assist the General Secretary in all his/her duties and shall deputize for him in his/her absence.
    2. Shall be responsible for taking and preparing the minutes of all meetings and for presenting them at the next meeting.
    3. Shall execute any other duties defined by the National Executive or a higher body.
  8. National Treasurer
    1. Shall be responsible for the banking of all Association funds within seventy-two (72) hours of receipt.
    2. Shall keep accounts of all monies received and disbursed by him/her and shall submit the same for audit when called upon by the National Executive.
    3. Shall he responsible for the safe keeping of the Bank-book and shall see that the Bank-book is brought up to date in time for each regular business meeting of the National Executive.
    4. Shall keep the accounts of the Association and present them at a regular business meeting of the National Executive a monthly financial statement of the receipts and expenditure.
    5. Shall prepare and submit a financial report to each regular National General Meeting.
    6. Shall, at least one month before the date fixed for the Biennial Convention of the Association present to the National Executive a report for the preceding financial two years, an income and expenditure account and a Balance Sheet as at the end of the period.
    7. Shall prepare and submit a draft budget to the National Executive in time for consideration at the Biennial Convention.
    8. Shall be signatory. along with other members of the National Secretariat and the Trustees to the bank.
    9. Shall perform any other duties assigned by the National Executive.
  9. National Assistant Treasurer
    1. Shall assist the National Treasurer in his/her duties and shall deputize for him/her in his/her absence.
    2. Shall execute any other duties defined by the National Executive or any higher body
  10. National Public Relations Officer
    1. Shall be responsible for promoting the public image of the Association and for general publicity.
    2. Shall in conjunction with the President, be responsible for press releases information and promotion of the Association and for setting up press conferences.
    3. Shall execute any other duties assigned by the National Executive.
  11. National Trustees
    1. There shall be two Trustees.
    2. The two Trees shall have invested in them all property whatever belonging to the Union, and shall deal with it in such a way as the National Executive shall direct.
    3. The Trustees shall execute any other duties or hold any other office determined by the National Executive or any higher level of the Association.
  12. School Stewards
    1. There shall be in each educational institution a School Steward and an assistant Steward. Where an institution has two physically distinct sections, each section may have a Steward and Assistant Steward. School Stewards and Assistants shall be under the immediate supervision of the Branch Executive.
    2. The duties of the Steward shall be to encourage new members of school staff to join the Association, inform and educate members on matters pertaining to the Association, explain decisions at National and Branch levels, handle grievances at the school level and generally represent the Association.
    3. The Steward and Assistant Steward shall work in close consultation with Branch or National Executive members working in that institution.

    Audit

    1. The fiscal year of the Association shall be from January 1st through to the last day of December.
    2. The National Executive shall appoint an auditor to audit the accounts of the Association. The audited account must be submitted to the National Executive not later than 21st March for presentation at the Annual General Meeting in April.
    3. Branches shall have the power to appoint auditors to audit their accounts. They shall submit copies of the audited account to the National Executive.
    4. Copies of all audited reports shall be made available to any financial member upon request.

    Interpretation

    1. In the event of any question arising as to the interpretation of any of the rules of the Association, the question shall be refereed to the National Executive, whose decision shall be conclusive and binding upon members unless overruled by a National General Meeting.

    Amendments

    1. The rules may be added to, amended or repealed by a majority number of not less than two-thirds of the financial members present at an Extraordinary General Meeting summoned for that purpose by the National Executive. At least three (3) weeks notice of such a meeting along with the proposed amendment(s) must be circulated to all Branches and publicized in the Bulletin.

    Discipline

    1. The conduct of teachers and members shall be guided by a code of ethics endorsed by the Biennial Convention or a National General Meeting.
    2. The National Executive shall cause to be set up a special committee comprising five (5) Full Members of the Association to deal with complaints of unprofessional conduct or of non-compliance with the rules of the Association. Such a committee shall enquire into the alleged offence and shall make recommendations to the National Executive.
    3. Any member so disciplined shall have the right to appeal the decision at the National General Meeting immediately following the decision. The ruling of the National General Meeting shall be final.

    General

    1. The Union shall have a Seal and a Stamp upon which its name is engraved. The Seal/Stamp shall be kept in the custody of the General Secretary.
    2. All members of the Association on the Association business local or overseas, shall be entitled to such travelling and other expenses as may be approved by the National Executive.
    3. The Association shall obtain the services of one or more legal retainees or any other advisory personnel as deemed necessary by the National Executive.

    Affiliation And Dissolution

    1. AFFILIATION
      1. Affiliation to any other organ~on shall be decided by a majority vote at the Biennial Convention or a National General Meeting.
    2. DISSOLUTION
      1. The Association shall not be dissolved and its fund divided except with the consent of not less than five-sixths of the financial members of the Association voting by secret ballot at a meeting specially summoned for this purpose
      2. In the event of the Association being dissolved as provided in (I) above, all debts and liabilities legally incurred on behalf of the Association shall be fully settled and the remaining funds divided up among the financial membership in equal proportions.

THEME SONG: WE WILL STRIVE

  1. Day after day we serve
    Those whom we dearly love,
    We have a goal; it’s in our souls;
    Here’s what we always sing:We will strive every day
    In our hearts we shall say
    The state needs you,
    It needs me too
    In this our great profession.
  2. Teachers with gifts untold
    Lead kids to heights of goal;
    those who aspire; will never retire;
    They will rejoice and sing:May we achieve our aim,
    Not even for wealth or fame
    We’ve got the call once and for all;
    We’ll all unite and shout