Bylaws of the Union Street Professionals
Union Street Professionals is a non-competitive, professional relationship and referral networking group. The purpose of this group is to assist the members in growing and supporting their business, and reinforcing each other’s reputations. Only one membership per category is allowed in the group.
To be in good standing, members must understand and follow the following bylaws:
Referrals are the lifeblood of belonging to a referral networking group. Members are expected to give at least four (4) solid referrals in a 12-month period. Referrals may be given to the person/business in any form, but MUST be reported to the designated group data collector in a timely manner, so that reports can be created, and requirements can be recorded as met.
What makes a solid referral:
- You have spoken to the client about the person/business you are referring.
- The client is expecting contact from the person/business you are referring.
- The client has confirmed a need for the person’s/business’s services.
What is NOT a good referral:
- You think the client could use the person’s/business’s services, but have not confirmed.
- You don’t know the client, have not spoken to them about person/business.
- You force the client/business to take a card/email/introduction because you think they need it.
Members must report closed business to the group data collector in a timely manner. There is a page on the website to submit closed business.
Regular meeting attendance is required. As membership is at no charge, regular, consistent, on-time attendance is mandatory. Attendance is inclusive of arriving on time to each meeting, and staying until the meeting ends (8.30am). Meeting time is 7:00-8:30am (7:00-7:15 for member business meeting, 7:15-8:30 general meeting). A member is required to send a substitute to represent their business if they are unable to attend. In the event of an emergency that forces a member to miss a meeting, an email must be sent to the group (through the website communication portal) to notify the entire group of the situation prior to the meeting. (Note: Unless it is an extreme emergency, texting anyone in the group about your absence is not sufficient notice. In extreme circumstances, please care for yourself and your family first, and reach out to the group once the emergency has passed. Childcare issues, oversleeping, etc. are not emergencies.)
Attendance issues are taken seriously and will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the board of directors. All issues will be handled by the board in writing to the member. Any more than 1 missed meeting within 6 months without a sub or valid email explanation to the group may result in termination of membership. Further attendance issues such as perpetually arriving late or leaving early, could result in termination of membership from the group.
Guests and New Members
Members are welcome to bring guests through invitation. These guests should be appropriate candidates for membership and should not conflict or overlap a current member’s category.
Membership in the Union Street Professionals shall be extended by invitation only. A potential member must submit an application to be considered for membership. An interview panel, consisting of at least three group members will interview all applicants to inform the group who will make the final decision through a simple majority vote. Interviews are an expectation of membership and must take place within the ten (10) days from application receipt date. Interviews will be assigned on a rotating basis.
Applying to Union Street Professionals
Applications to the Union Street Professionals must include three (3) references from clients/customers, and no fewer than three (3) interviews by Union Street Professionals members in a timely fashion. Application will include a second visit to a regular group meeting, with 2-3 minutes to present the applicant’s business including addressing questions of fit and relevance.
Multi-level marketing members should represent their products and services, not the business opportunity element of their business.
Non-Competitive Membership Categories
Non-competitive membership categories form the foundation of the group. This means that only one person per business category will be accepted to avoid direct competition with other members. If a member’s business covers a broad scope (i.e. insurance agent may represent life, business, property and casualty, and health) the “primary” category of business will be obtained. If a new member joins the Union Street Professionals and their primary category overlaps an existing member’s “secondary” business – the new member now holding the seat for the “primary” business category will be the only allowed solicitor for that business. (Ex. Insurance agent – primary: P&C but also sells life insurance – if a member wants to join who is primarily life insurance you will need to stop talking about that category.) Any conflicts with business categories will be voted on and decided by the board during the application process.
Professional Dues, Expectations, and Meal Expenses
Membership in Union Street Professionals is at no charge. In addition to expectations already mentioned, members are expected to pay for their own breakfast and be sure to tip fairly.
The board consists of 5 members who are responsible for managing the membership process, communications, referral/business records, social gatherings, and running meetings. Each year there will be board elections the first week of December for the upcoming year.
The emphasis of the complaints procedure is on informality, with the object of solving problems quickly, simply, and fairly. It is hoped that the great majority of issues can be settled quickly and amicably. The following steps should be taken to resolve complaints:
- If possible, arrange a 1:1 with the person to discuss the grievance and seek resolution. If this is not possible, or a resolution is not met, proceed to step 2.
- Notify the board of the grievance in writing, through http://unionstreetprofessionals.com/usp-communication/
- The board will discuss the situation and take appropriate action(s) which may include any of the following:
- Board discussion with the member who is not acting in compliance with the bylaws with potential prescribed steps toward good standing or potential dismissal.
- Mediated discussion with the two parties and a board member (or members).
Leave of Absence/Suspension of Membership
Members may not miss more than four (4) consecutive meetings without an integral substitute from the member’s business. Missing more than four (4) consecutive meetings will result in termination of membership. In such situations a new application must be submitted, and the protocols for application for membership must be followed including references, interviews, and a vote by the existing membership. (Exceptions for extenuating circumstances will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the board.)
Termination of Membership
Any member may be expelled from Union Street Professionals for cause by three-fifths vote of the entire board of directors. This group shall remove members whose conduct has been deemed a violation of the Membership Code of Conduct, Bylaws, and/or unbecoming of the Unions Street Professionals.
Resignation of Membership
If you chose to resign from Union Street Professional, please notify the board in writing as soon as possible through http://unionstreetprofessionals.com/usp-communication/
Changing Jobs, Seats, Focus
Members are admitted to the group based on how their current job/employment/business fills a specified seat. Changes in job/employment/business does not guarantee continued membership in Union Street Professionals. In such situations a new application must be submitted, and the protocols for application for membership must be followed including references, interviews, and a vote by the existing membership.
Communication to Entire Membership
To ensure that communication to the current members of Union Street Professionals is sent to all current members, please use the communication portal found at http://unionstreetprofessionals.com/usp-communication/. Emailing the group by replying to old emails or group lists runs the risk of not including new members or including former members. Emails to the group should be for Union Street Professionals Business (i.e. notification about an absence, sub, etc.)
Union Street Professionals also employs the use of a secret Facebook Group for peer-to-peer communication. Use of this group may include notifications of outside networking opportunities, business/group events, congratulations, encouragement, etc. The group can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/unionstreetprofessionals/. This is a secret group so that we are not spammed by outside members, and our communication can only be seen by group members.
Communication to the Board
Members are asked to submit board communication through the communication portal found at http://unionstreetprofessionals.com/usp-communication/ to ensure that all current board members receive the communication.
Changes to the By-Laws
If any changes need to occur with the by-laws, the group will be notified 30 days prior to any changes taking effect. Changes must be recommended by no fewer than three board members, and approved by no less than a simple majority of the membership present at a vote during a regular meeting.
(Amended By-Laws approved September 2016 by Membership Majority)