The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has ordered its locals all across the country to modernize their bylaws. The changes, which were adopted at the IBT’s convention went into effect January 1.

The locals were ordered to tell their members that they cannot discriminate against a fellow worker based on “mental disability” and “gender identity.” Under the old bylaws, members had to swear an oath that they wouldn’t “discriminate against a fellow worker on account of race, color, religion, sex, age, physical disability, national origin, or sexual orientation.” Under the new rules, they can’t discriminate against “any other legally protected group” either.

And to smooth the transition of power, the new rules require that when a new leader of the local is elected, the old leader now will be required to meet – or at least send a designee to meet – the new leader “between the date of the election and the end of the term of office to review pending grievances, open contract negotiations, and the local’s financial records.”

Trustees, meanwhile, no longer will be allowed to sign “blank reports” when reviewing the local’s financial ledgers.

And under the amended bylaws, the local’s chief executive officer will no longer be limited to calling the executive board to action “by telegraphing, writing, or telephoning,” but can now do so by “electronic mailing,” as well. Western Union, however, remains an option.