Constitution for the International Association of Labour Museums (Worklab)
Section I: Name and legal seat.
In order to develop co-operation, in every respect, between museums and similar institutions or organizations concerned with the history of workers and industry, a non-profit making association is hereby established under the name: International Association of Labour Museums, abbreviated Worklab.
The objective of the association is to represent the association’s members and their common interests both in matters concerning international organizations and within international organizations (EU, ICOM, IALHI, TICCIH etc.).
The association shall have its legal seat in the town where the chairperson has his/her office.
Section II: Definition of a labour museum.
The association shall recognize as a labour museum any permanent institution which
1. meets the requirements of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) 1, and
2. is wholly or has at least one department devoted to one or more subjects in the fields of history of workers, labour and industrial work.
Section III: Aims and methods of the association.
The association shall endeavour to co-ordinate the member museums’ international interests both internally and with third parties.
The aims of Worklab are to:
– (i) promote the collection, research and interpretation of labour and workers’ culture.
– (ii) provide a forum for communication, co-operation and exchange of information between museums and others concerned with workers’ history.
– (iii) co-operate with the national committees and regional organizations of ICOM and with other international committees and affiliated organizations.
– (iv) publish a newsletter “Worklab” twice a year, edited by the board.
Notice of the general assembly shall be sent out at least four months in advance. The agenda of the meeting shall be communicated to the members in writing at least one month before the assembly.
A member of the board may, if necessary, deputise for the chairperson or the vice-chairperson in presiding over a meeting.
Decisions shall be taken on a simple majority vote. In the event of parity, the chairperson shall have the casting vote.
Section IV: Members.
The association shall be composed of institutional members, individual members, supporting members and honorary members.
Every permanent institution which, subject to approval by the board, fulfils the requirements of article 3 may join the association as an institutional member.
Each has one vote at the general assembly and shall pay the subscription determined by the general assembly.
The following may be admitted as individual and supporting members, subject to approval by the board:
a) specialists or institutions working, by reason of their professional activities, in collaboration with the workers’ museums.
b) former representatives of institutional members;
c) distinguished persons who are associated with labour history.
They may attend the general assembly with the right to speak and to vote.
They shall pay a subscription determined by the general assembly.
The general assembly can nominate a limited number of honorary members from among persons who have rendered exceptionally distinguished services to the association. They may attend the general assembly with the right to speak and to vote and do not pay a subscription.
a) On the recommendation of the board, the general assembly may decide to cancel membership of the association of anyone who fails to renew the annual subscription following one standard reminder and a follow-up request sent by registered/recorded post, or for any other legitimate reason.
b) The board is authorized on request to fix a special subscription in individual cases.
Section V: The general assembly.
The general assembly shall be empowered to adopt any amendments to the statutes and rules. It shall
– adopt the programmes and budgets suggested by the board.
– adopt and approve the reports and the accounts of the years preceding the latest meeting of the general assembly.
– elect the members of the board.
– determine the subscription.
– nominate the honorary members.
The general assembly shall consist of all members of Worklab.
The general assembly shall meet every third year in ordinary session.
In addition, extraordinary meetings of the general assembly may take place:
a) at the request of the majority of the members of the board.
b) at the request of at least 25% of the members as defined by Articles 7-9, including proxies.
Requests shall be done in writing, indicating the items to be transacted.
Extraordinary general assemblies have the same rites as the general assembly.
The quorum of the general assembly shall be constituted by 20% of the members, including proxies.
Section VI: The board.
The board shall be concerned with the preparation and implementation of programmes and budgets.
Subject to ratification by the general assembly, the board may make any decisions on its behalf which may become necessary during the intervals between meetings of the Assembly. The board shall be authorized to organize sub-committees for special fields of interest or special working groups under the chairpersonship of one of its members.
The board shall be composed of six members, all representatives of institutional members, namely the chairperson, the vice-chairperson, the secretary, the treasurer and three ordinary members. Board members should be proposed by members of the association.
Immediately after the election in the general assembly the board has to constitute itself and appoint a chairperson, secretary/vice chairperson and treasurer.
The mandate of elected members of the board shall last three years. They are eligible for re-election.
When a member of the board retires from the institution he/she represents, this member shall also leave the board. The board has to decide if the vacant place is open until the next meeting of the general assembly.
The board shall meet in ordinary session:
a) immediately before and after the general assembly
b) in intervening years once a year.
In addition, an extraordinay session shall be constituted when three of its members call it. The quorum of the board is three members.
The chairperson and the secretary shall represent the association. The chairperson shall convene and preside over the meetings of the general assembly and the board and shall propose the agenda for these meetings. The secretary shall conduct and co-ordinate the business of the association under the supervision of the chairperson.
He/she shall, under the supervision of the chairperson, make the report.
The treasurer shall keep the accounts of the association under the supervision of the chairperson. He/she shall be responsible for ensuring that they are audited by an accountant.
Section VII: Rules, responsibility, business and fiscal year.
The association’s liabilities shall be limited to its funds; any personal liability of its members is excluded.
The business and fiscal year of the association is the calendar year.
Section VIII: Amendments to the constitution.
Resolutions concerning amendments of the statutes shall require a two-thirds majority of votes cast, for or against the amendments. Such amendments must be submitted to all members of the association at least two months prior to the meeting of the general assembly.
Section IX: Dissolution of the association.
A decision by the general assembly to dissolve the association shall require a three-quarter majority of all members.
If the association comes to be thus dissolved, any assets which it possesses at that time shall be transferred to the International Council of Museums.
Adopted at the founding meeting in Copenhagen 15th August 1997:
Director, The Workers’ Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark
Keeper of Collections, National Museum of Labour History, Manchester, Great Britain
Head of Department, The Department of Modern History, The National Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Information Manager, Museum of Work, Norrköping, Sweden
Dr. Jürgen Ellemeyer
Curator, Museum der Arbeit, Hamburg, Germany
Director, The Norwegian Industrial and Labour Museum, Rjukan, Norway.
1 “A museum is a non-profit making, permanent institution in the service of society and of its development, and open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits, for purposes of study, education and enjoyment, material evidence of people and their environment”.