How motions work

How to craft motions that get things done.

A motion is a statement, preferably in writing, that is submitted to the chair for the meeting to debate and either endorse or reject. It typically identifies:

i.  a problem,
ii. a desired resolution and
iii. calls on a specific person to
iv. to take a concrete action to achieve the desired resolution.

A motion can be as short or as long as necessary. However, ideally it will be as concise as possible.

Motions should be action-oriented – they achieve the collective agreement that is the first step in collective action.

The purpose of a motion

  • If an issue is controversial and/or complicated, a motion can help make sure there’s a shared understanding of what’s being discussed.
  • The role of motion is to get consensus around a course of action. All members have a right to debate a motion and when a motion is passed by a majority vote in favour, all members of the sub-branch should get behind it.
  • Endorsing a formal motion is a way of demonstrating the strength of feeling on an issue. Whether the sub-branch wants to communicate with the school leadership or the union leadership or anyone else, endorsing a motion demonstrates it’s the collective view of the sub-branch.
  • A sub-branch motion means that the sub-branch president or whoever else has carriage of the issue is not acting alone – they have the support of the sub-branch behind them.

Example 1

That X sub-branch requests X management to arrange for the installation of and effective cooling system for staff rooms and classrooms as soon as possible, and that priority be given to the hottest rooms.

Example 2

The Y sub-branch is concerned with the amount of additional time it takes to complete relief teacher booking due to the system’s lack of currency/ accuracy and the speed in which it loads. The additional time needed to complete this work significantly impacts on staff time to complete work of an educational nature and takes place outside normal work hours. We are asking for the ETD to work in consultation with school based teachers to undertake an overhaul of the current system to address these concerns.

Example 3

The Z sub-branch moves that students who are directed to attend Z School by EDT and who are students with a history that is likely to increase the risk to staff members and students, must be subject to a formal transition that includes communication of these risks to all staff prior to that student being placed in classes and that a formal Risk Management Plan is put in place for that student before being placed in any class.”

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