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Update from Division 3 Family Matters Trustee,…
During the March International Executive Council…
IMPORTANT: During the March International Executive Council Mid-Year meeting the council approved a Talking Paper proposal to change/amend ByLaw 4 – Membership.Keep in mind according to AFSA Manual 100-1, ByLaw 15, all amendments must be approved by the respective delegates at any AFSA International Conference with an approved two-thirds majority vote. The full details of the proposed ByLaw change will be published in the AFSA Magazine NLT 45 days prior to the August PAC. However, I want to make sure all chapters are aware of the proposal to ensure everyone is informed and has ample time to discuss this during your monthly general membership meetings.
Many of you may recall a similar ByLaw proposal was brought forward to the 2016 PAC and was not approved by the delegates. In my opinion, there were a couple of reasons why this proposal was not approved. First, there was ensuing ByLaw proposal to rename the Air Force Sergeants Association to reflect inclusion of enlisted members of other services, and to expand provide marketability/brand of the Association. The vast majority of delegates didn’t want to change the name of the Association, which was understandable and reasonable. Next, at the time of PAC many members were not aware that AFSA’s leadership was in discussions to accept 35k members from another Veteran Service Organization (VSO) that was closing its’ doors. However, one of the provisions of this action was that AFSA had to accept these members with full membership rights and privileges. Unfortunately due to confidentiality reasons behind the ByLaw changes could not fully be disclosed to the delegates. In hindsight we should have not proposed a change to the name of AFSA and only proposed a change to the membership composition, which may have be acceptable by the delegates. Nevertheless the delegates voted down the proposal. In the past couple years many VSOs have struggled to attracted new members and are experiencing financial issues. Our Association is not unlike other VSOs, yet over the last two years our membership strength decreased but not at an alarming rate, our financial health continues to improve. Our Association has been in existence for 57 years and we want to be around for another 57+ years. This proposal is an opportunity to posture ourselves for the future.
This ByLaw does not change anything related to our association. Our legislative platform will not change, in fact everything we do legislatively impacts other service members. What the ByLaw does do is give full membership to those who are already members of our Association. It does allow others to join, but that will not be our focus. Our focus will remain unchanged in advocating specifically on issues that affect enlisted Airmen, their families, and to our retirees and veterans who have served proudly.
This proposed change would include service members from other branches of the military who have worn or still wear the uniform. Although they may not have worn an Air Force uniform, they still serve along-side us none-the- less. They have fought and continue to fight under the same American flag as do members of the Air Force, and in many cases we are fighting and deploying side-by-side. As long as a person is willing to support the ByLaws, mission, and vision of the Air Force Sergeants Association they should be welcomed and receive full membership privileges in our Association.
COMPOSITION: Membership in AFSA shall consist primarily of enlisted men and women (hereinafter referred to as uniformed personnel) of the United States Armed Forces (USA, USMC, USN, USAF and USCG), be they Active Duty, National Guard or Reserve personnel in active, retired, or veteran status, and others meeting the qualifications for membership. Family members, and other individuals may be members as outlined in the Family & Associate membership classes of AFSA membership.
UNIFORMED: Any person who wore the uniform and is in active, veterans or retired status from the Active Duty, National Guard or Reserve or their predecessor services.
FAMILY: Family membership consists of persons who in their own right are not eligible for Uniformed Membership; if eligible for Uniformed Membership, individuals may not join under the Family class. Any spouse, father, mother, brother, sister, son and/or daughter of persons eligible for AFSA membership and any widower, widow, father, mother, brother, sister, son and/or daughter of persons eligible at the time of death for Uniformed Membership shall be considered eligible for Family Membership. Former widowers and widows of uniformed members of AFSA who remarry shall also be considered eligible for Family Membership. Any husband or wife divorced from a spouse who was eligible for Uniformed Membership at the time of divorce shall also be considered eligible for Family Membership.
ASSOCIATE: Former USAF enlisted personnel of the AFAD, AFRC, ANG or their predecessor services; the United States Army Air Corps, or the United States Army Air Force, who were honorably discharged and commissioned in any component of the Armed Services of the United States. Any individual not eligible for Active or Family membership, upon application and approval of the International Executive Council. Criteria for such membership shall be set forth in the AFSA Policies and Procedures Manual.