Petition statement to be delivered to President, National Association of Social Workers Board of Directors

Petition by Members of the National Association of Social Workers To Hold a Special Meeting of the Corporation to Clarify the Role of the Chapters in the NASW Bylaws and the Delegate Assembly in the NASW Articles of Incorporation

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Petition by Members of the National Association of Social Workers To Hold a Special Meeting of the Corporation to Clarify the Role of the Chapters in the NASW Bylaws and the Delegate Assembly in the NASW Articles of Incorporation

To be delivered to President, National Association of Social Workers Board of Directors

Petition Statement

IMPORTANT PREFACE: If you decide to sign this, remember that you must be a current NASW member, and if you are, please note after your signature, which Chapter you are part of, e.g. "John Smith CA" or "Jane Doe NYC".
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In June 2016 the national board of NASW voted to change our articles of incorporation to grant them sole authority over all decisions for our association. We petition a correction to this challenge to our democratic association.

In accordance with Article XI, Section B (Special Meetings) of the Bylaws of the National Association of Social Workers (“NASW”), the undersigned members of NASW call upon the National Board of Directors to convene a special meeting of the members of the NASW Corporation to be held within three months of submission of this petition to permit a full member vote on the following matters:


1. Repeal of Certain Bylaws Amendments. The undersigned members of NASW hereby request a member vote on whether the following Bylaws Amendments should be repealed in their entirety:
a. All amendments to NASW’s Bylaws passed since January 1, 2008 without a Delegate Assembly vote.

2. Bylaws Amendments. The undersigned members of NASW hereby request a member vote on the following amendments to NASW’s Bylaws:

a. NASW Bylaws, Article XII, subsection E, be amended as follows: The following text is inserted immediately following “The programs, policies, and actions taken by the chapter shall be consistent with the official position and policy of the association.”:

"It shall be the policy of NASW to maintain and enhance the autonomy of its Chapters. Chapter responsibilities shall include program planning; overseeing and evaluating their programs; managing financial and personnel matters; and all other relevant operational matters of the Chapter consistent with the general policies and guidelines established by National NASW and the Delegate Assembly. Furthermore, the National Board of Directors and the National executive officers (or any person, entity, or group acting pursuant to delegated authority from the National Board of Directors or the National executive officers) shall levy on its Chapters no fees or charges, including those for goods or services, nor appropriate Chapter funds, unless explicitly and voluntarily authorized by the Chapters affected."

b. NASW Bylaws, Article XV, Bylaws Amendments, be amended and restated as follows:

"The Delegate Assembly has sole authority to adopt, amend, and repeal these Bylaws. Amendments to the Bylaws shall be adopted by a majority vote of the Delegate Assembly members in attendance at a regularly scheduled meeting, provided that such Bylaws amendments have been published and distributed to members and chapters at least ninety (90) calendar days prior to the meeting."
c. NASW Bylaws, Article XVI, Dues and Other Income, be amended by adding subsection E, which shall provide as follows:

"E. The term “rebated” as used in this Article XVI, shall mean that the fifty (50) percent of the dues distributed to Chapters shall be provided for Chapters’ sole and exclusive use, and the National Board of Directors and the National executive officers (or any person, entity, or group acting pursuant to delegated authority from the National Board of Directors or the National executive officers) shall not be permitted to charge the Chapters any fees, expenses, or other charges whatsoever in a manner that reduces the fifty (50) percent of dues allocated to the Chapters."

d. NASW Bylaws, Article IV, Delegate Assembly, be amended by replacing subsection B.1 with the following:

"1. It shall take final action on all amendments to these Bylaws, as authorized in Article XV."

e. NASW Bylaws, Article IV, Delegate Assembly, be amended by adding subsections B.2.g and B.2.h, which shall provide as follows:

"g. Approval of any changes to Chapter employees’ status as employees of the Chapters.
h. Approval of all matters related to Chapters’ governing documents (including without limitation their bylaws and other constituent documents), legal status, and their ability to set local program goals, agendas, and programming."

f. NASW Bylaws, Article IV, Delegate Assembly, subsection G be amended and restated as follows:

"The Delegate Assembly shall have exclusive authority over the frequency and type of Delegate Assembly meetings, and their decision-making procedures."

g. NASW Bylaws, Article VI, Board of Directors, subsection A be amended and restated as follows:

"The Board of Directors of the association shall exercise all the powers of the association that are not expressly reserved to the Delegate Assembly or the Chapters in these Bylaws, and, except as to those matters reserved to the authority of the Delegate Assembly or the Chapters in these Bylaws, shall decide on policy and priorities, policy implementation, and the equitable allocation of financial resources under the broad policy and priority guidelines established by these Bylaws and the members of the association in the meetings of the Delegate Assembly."

h. NASW Bylaws, Article VI, Board of Directors, subsection E be amended as follows:

The introductory paragraph of Subsection E shall be amended and restated to provide: “In accordance with the broad policy and priority guidelines established by the Delegate Assembly, and except for those matters expressly reserved to the authority of the Delegate Assembly or the Chapters in these Bylaws, the Board of Directors shall be responsible for the following:”

i. NASW Bylaws, Article XIV, Budget and Finance, be amended and restated as follows:

"The Board of Directors shall annually determine the budget of the association and shall have overall responsibility for the association’s affairs, except for those powers expressly reserved to the Delegate Assembly or the Chapters in these Bylaws. Nothing in this Article XIV, however, shall be interpreted in a manner that (1) permits the National Board of Directors or the National executive officers (or any person, entity, or group acting pursuant to delegated authority from the National Board of Directors or the National executive officers) to impose any fees, expenses or other charges on the Chapters such that the Chapters do not receive fifty (50) percent of the member dues as provided in Article XVI, Dues and Other Income; or (2) that restricts Chapters’ ability to manage their own financial affairs, so long as Chapters do so in a manner that does not contravene these Bylaws, NASW’s Articles of Incorporation, applicable law, or any policies or procedures set by the Delegate Assembly."

3. Articles of Incorporation Amendment . The undersigned members of NASW hereby request a member vote on whether Article 12 of the NASW Articles of Incorporation should be amended as follows:

a. “The power to adopt, amend, and repeal bylaws of the Corporation, and to define the policies of the Corporation, shall reside exclusively in a Delegate Assembly composed of elected members of the Association. This Delegate Assembly shall have exclusive authority over the frequency and type of Delegate Assembly meetings, and their decision-making procedures.”

4. The Modernization Initiative. The undersigned members of NASW hereby request a member vote on whether the following actions of the National Board of Directors and the NASW executive officers should be repealed in their entirety:
a. That certain Modernization and Revitalization Work Group proposal dated as of June 2015 and adopted by the National Board of Directors on or about June 26, 2015 (the “Modernization Initiative”), and any and all actions, formal or informal, of the National Board of Directors or the NASW executive officers related to implementation of the Modernization Initiative.

As signers of this petition, we are attesting that we are all current members of NASW in good standing and are expressing our disagreement with the NASW Board of Directors which adopted on June 26, 2015 a reorganization plan that centralizes authority for the profession’s largest membership association into a small 15 member National Board of Directors and severely curtails the authority of chapter boards of directors.

We are also concerned about the adopted plan nationalizing all chapter staff, further reducing the autonomy of chapters, and the plan centralizing many administrative functions that will impede the capacity of chapters to function. We are also concerned that the plan will impose significant fees for services that chapters have not requested nor do they want.
There are currently 627 signatures. NEW goal - We need 750 signatures!

Petition Background

PETITION BACKGROUND
[NOTE: When you sign the petition, please include in the Comment field the name of your NASW Chapter.]

The Coalition of Concerned Members of NASW, who is initiating this petition, is committed to preventing the consolidation of the Association’s 55 Chapters into its National administrative apparatus. Legal consultation with leading corporate governance lawyers has supported the position of the Coalition that NASW's National Board has overstepped its authority, based on NASW Bylaws, to implement a sweeping reorganization of the Association referred to as "Modernization". Instead, it is the responsibility of the Association’s Delegate Assembly to decide on any such guiding policies of the Association. The Coalition believes that such a reorganization will create a more dysfunctional top-down organization, with far fewer democratic checks and balances, and will result in an Association much less responsive to members in each of its Chapters. It, therefore, rejects the decision of the Board to implement the ‘Modernization’ initiative, and insists that the Delegate Assembly, as representative of the members, is the legitimate body to decide on any such reorganization of the Association.

Furthermore, the Coalition recognizes the importance of enshrining the existence and functioning of the Delegate Assembly (DA) as the exclusive body entitled to set overarching policies of the association and create or revise bylaws. It is far more representative of the members than the National Board, which should be focused more on operational matters. We believe that such a simple direct statement, amended to our Articles of Incorporation, will provide the DA authority to decide on its decision making rules, e.g. Robert’s Rules of Order, how often it meets, and how it is conducted, live or online.

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