In the union movement, much of our written material is technical and complex. Our collective agreements, constitutions and training courses often use language which limits understanding and access by too many of our members. Convention resolutions are no exception. There is a better way: clear language.

Why use the clear language format for resolutions?

The traditional method of writing resolutions can be unfamiliar, especially to those who are new to how decisions are made at union conventions. Words and phrases like Whereas, Therefore be it resolved and Be it further resolved can sound awkward and strange because they are not part of the way we usually speak.

As part of an effort to promote more effective communications with our members, the Union of National Employees and several affiliated unions and federations of labour have adopted a clear language format as the preferred way to submit resolutions to convention.

How do I write a clear language resolution?

When writing your resolution, say:

  1. WHAT you want to see happen (what you want to change, who you want to do it, when you want it to happen, how you want to do it, where the change will be, etc.)

    And then list the reasons:

  2. WHY this is a good idea or necessary. (The impact the change will have, how it addresses certain problems, perhaps some history or context, etc.)

Try using the words will and because as in:

Are there other ways to make my resolution clear?

Here are some helpful hints to make your resolution clear and well understood:

What does the clear language format for resolutions look like?

Here is an example:

The Union of National Employees will encourage unions to submit resolutions to convention in a clear language format.

Because the actions proposed will be better understood by convention delegates.

Because clear language is a valuable way to help union members feel included by the labour movement.

Because the clear language format makes sense: we start with what we want, then we back it up with our reasons.

As you prepare your resolutions, we hope that you will join us in our efforts to make our programs and communications more inclusive and accessible to all union members.

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