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UNION elections are the main nerve centers of union democracy, for it is through the officers that the will of the members is translated into effective action. The basic governing body of the international union is the convention, itself a delegate body of elected representatives. It meets only briefly every two, three or four years; can at best decide only immediate issues or map broad policies; and must in turn place major governing responsibility in the international officers. Local unions must also rely heavily on representative government-"town meeting" democracy has limited usefulness. Many contain hundreds or even thousands of members, often scattered over a wide geographical area; meetings are infrequent and fragmentary; and the day by day decisions which fill out the body of union policy must be made by the officers.

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