Use your democratic rights in the union elections
The Industrial Union is a democratic union. This means that power comes from the members and members are the ones who elect delegates to the union Congress, the highest decision-making body of the union.
The Congress meets every fifth year, and the next one will be held in Tampere 22–24 May 2023. It decides union strategy and deals with all the motions made by the local branches and the union Board.
Other tasks of the Congress are to elect the union Council, that leads the union between the congresses, union President, Vice Presidents and other members of the union Board. The size of the Council depends on the number of members. Just now, the Council has 83 members.
In a big union, several electoral districts are needed to run the elections. Those who are working under collective agreements covering the technology industry or technical service and maintenance, are so many that they will vote in 13 regional electoral districts. These are the same as electoral districts in the parliamentary elections.
All other union members vote in some of the 21 national level electoral districts, depending on their collective agreement. For instance, if you are working in the rubber industry, you vote in the electoral district of the rubber industry.
Who can vote? All union members who are available for working life, according to the union statutes.
Who can vote? All union members who are available for working life, according to the union statutes. This includes all working or unemployed members aged 15–68 years old, entrepreneur members and those on a part-time pension. Those receiving old age pension or disability pension do not have the right to vote, which is logical in a trade union focusing on working life issues.
You also have the right to become a candidate for the elections. A minimum of ten members with the right to vote can join and set up their own candidate. These groups can join together to form an electoral alliance.
At the moment, there are two electoral alliances, Yhteistyön Tekijät – formed by the Social Democrats and those who are politically independent – and Teollisuuden Vaikuttajat – formed by the Left Alliance and those who are politically independent.
For every 300 members one Congress delegate is elected. This means that the total number of Congress delegates in Tampere is 442.
Voting is possible either electronically or by mail. Both take place 10–31 March 2023.
The right to become a candidate is reserved for those, who are paid-up members by 31 October 2022. Those joining latest by 10 December 2022 will have the right to vote.
So, what is to be done? Discuss at your workplace who would or might be good candidates, or even become one yourself. And in any case, vote. If you don’t, you will regret not doing so for five long years.
The Industrial Union website in English: www.teollisuusliitto.fi/en.