Pittsburgh DSA Bylaws
ARTICLE I. Name.
Pittsburgh Democratic Socialists of America (hereinafter “Pittsburgh DSA” or the “Local”) is a local chapter of the national organization Democratic Socialists of America.
ARTICLE II. Purpose.
Pittsburgh DSA seeks to facilitate the transition to a truly democratic and socialist society, one in which the means of production are democratically and socially controlled.
DSA rejects an economic order based solely on private profit, alienated labor, gross inequalities of wealth and power, discrimination based on race and sex, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo.
DSA envisions a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, gender and racial equality, and non-oppressive relationships.
Our conception of socialism is a profoundly democratic one. It is rooted in the belief that human beings should be free to develop to their fullest potential, that public policies should be determined not by wealth but by popular participation, and that individual liberties should be carefully safeguarded. It is committed to a freedom of speech that does not recoil from dissent, to a freedom to organize independent trade unions, women’s groups, political parties, and other formations—recognizing these as essential bulwarks against the dangers of an intrusive state. It is committed to a freedom of religion that acknowledges the rights of those for whom spiritual concerns are central.
We are socialists because we are developing a concrete strategy for achieving that vision. In the present, we are building a visible socialist presence within the broad democratic left. In the long run, we hope to build a majority movement capable of making democratic socialism a reality in the United States. Our strategy acknowledges the class structure of the U.S. society. This class structure means that there is a basic conflict of interest between those sectors with enormous economic power and the vast majority of the population.
ARTICLE III. Membership.
Section 1. Membership.
Members of the Pittsburgh DSA will be those individuals who are members in good standing of the National DSA who reside and/or work in the Pittsburgh area, and have not been otherwise removed from the Local. It will be the responsibility of members to approve policies and guidelines for the operation of the local chapter, to elect delegates to the national convention, to vote on matters related to national policy, and to make recommendations on issues and other matters to the National Political Committee of DSA.
Section 2. Removal of Members.
Members can be suspended or expelled if:
- they are found to have harassed, abused, or otherwise acted violently against another member;
- they are found to be in substantial disagreement with the principles or policies of the organization;
- they consistently engage in undemocratic, disruptive behavior;
- they are found to be acting in a concerted manner in the DSA under the discipline or coordination of an outside organization;
- they are found to have engaged in union busting activity; or
- they are found to be employed as a law enforcement officer
In any of these cases, except when a grievance has been brought forth pursuant to Article XV of these Bylaws, the Local may vote to expel the offending member from DSA. In order for such a finding to be made, another DSA member must formally proffer written charges against the member in question to the Local Coordinating Committee, which shall set the date of a Local meeting for deliberations on the charges. The member in question must receive a copy of the written charges and notice of the meeting a minimum of two weeks before that meeting takes place. Expulsion of a member or affiliate member requires a two-thirds vote of the Local meeting. An expelled full member may appeal to the National Political Committee of DSA.
Section 3. Voluntary Dues.
The Local chapter may establish a Local pledge system of voluntary donations for its members. Payment of local dues must be entirely voluntary, and not a condition for membership in Pittsburgh DSA.
Section 4. Disavowal Removal.
In the event that a Pittsburgh DSA member makes a clear and unambiguous public disavowal of the Pittsburgh DSA, whether it be at a meeting, over social media, or through some other venue, a member of the Coordinating Committee shall notify such member in writing that the disavowal has been acknowledged, and that they will be removed from the membership list unless they respond within 30 days of receipt of such notice, explicitly stating their intent to stay. Members wishing to rejoin will be immediately reinstated to the membership list upon explicit written request to the Coordinating Committee, with their reinstatement beginning from the day such a notice is sent.
ARTICLE IV. Local Meetings.
Section 1. Local Convention.
The Local will hold a minimum of one Local Convention every year, and all members of the local will receive no fewer than 30 days written notice of the Local Convention. This notice must include a solicitation for bylaw amendment proposals from the general membership. No fewer than 7 days before a convention, the Coordinating Committee must publish a proposed agenda for the Local Convention. In addition to considering submitted bylaw amendments, policies, and resolutions, the Local Convention may elect Local officers and may adopt an annual budget. In general, it is the highest legislative body of the Local.
Section 2. General Meetings.
The Local will hold General Meetings or Local Conventions at least six (6) times annually, the time and place of which shall be set in a schedule published and distributed by the Local Coordinating Committee. The General Meetings will set Local policy and work priorities, and will include political education sessions.
The Coordinating Committee will set the agenda for General Meetings.
Section 3. Emergency Meetings.
The Coordinating Committee may call an Emergency Meeting of the Local on five days notice when an urgent and important matter requires deliberation.
Section 4. Quorum.
A quorum of 5 percent of the members or 80% of the average attendance of the last three Meetings, whichever is higher, is required for General or Emergency Meetings to transact business. A quorum of 5 percent of the members is required for a Local Convention to transact business.
Section 5. Electronic Meetings.
If circumstances prevent the Local from physically convening a meeting or convention, the Coordinating Committee may temporarily authorize meetings and/or conventions to be conducted electronically through videoconference.
Section 6. Remote participation.
The Local may authorize the remote participation of members in good standing via videoconference at meetings and conventions. Such mixed-participation meetings must allow for remote participants to participate in debate in real time, to receive any supplemental materials the Local may provide at the meeting or convention, and to vote and submit motions with equal standing as any in-person participant.
ARTICLE V. Officers.
Section 1. Officers and Terms.
The officers of the Local will be a Secretary, Communications Coordinator, Membership Coordinator, Treasurer and Operations Coordinator. The terms of the officers shall be one year or until their successors are elected and shall run from October 1 to September 30. Officers are eligible for re-election for up to two consecutive full terms; an officer will be considered to have served a full term if they have served more than six months prior to the end of their term.
Section 2. Secretary.
The Secretary shall be responsible for taking minutes of general meetings of the Local and meetings of the Coordinating Committee, as well as collecting minutes taken by other committees of the Local, and shall make these available for the membership on a timely basis. The Secretary shall ensure that notice of upcoming meetings and other required announcements are disseminated to the membership within the timeframes mandated by these bylaws. They shall be responsible for the keeping and maintenance of a current database of members of the Local. The Secretary shall chair the Database Committee.
Section 3. Communications Coordinator.
The Communications Coordinator or their designees shall be responsible for responding to press inquiries. They shall coordinate the internal and external communications of the local and shall assist committees in matters of internal and external communications. The communications coordinator shall chair the Communications Committee.
Section 4. Membership Coordinator.
The Membership Coordinator shall be responsible for onboarding new members, conducting organizing trainings, membership renewals, and coordinating internal organizing activities of the Local. The membership coordinator shall chair the Internal Organizing Committee. It shall be the duty of the membership coordinator to monitor, implement and advise as to the goals of affirmative action and inclusiveness.
Section 5. Treasurer.
The Treasurer will be responsible for the funds and financial records of the Local. All funds collected by the Local will be turned over to the Treasurer, who shall deposit them in a bank account under the name of the Local. The Treasurer shall not intermix funds. The treasurer shall prepare the annual budget for the Local and shall deliver a financial report to general meetings of the Local as requested by the Coordinating Committee, and shall turn over financial records and bank statements for auditing at the request of the Coordinating Committee. The Treasurer shall chair the Finance Committee.
Section 6. Operations Coordinator.
The Operations Coordinator shall be responsible for coordinating fundamental operational functions of the Local and Coordinating Committee. The Operations Coordinator will manage the Local’s operations (when it regards the physical safety, security and operation of the Local); logistics; oversight of non-monetary Local resources (such as facilities, equipment, materials and the management of member-volunteers in general duty or staffing roles); internal-chapter organizational and administrative skills training (in areas that do not overlap or interfere with field and/or digital organizer training offered as programs of the Membership or Communications Coordinators, respectively); and general administrative support. It shall be the duty of the Operations Coordinator to monitor, implement and advise as to the goals of accessibility. The Operations Coordinator shall chair the Operations Committee.
ARTICLE VI. Coordinating Committee.
Section 1. Composition.
The Coordinating Committee shall consist of a Secretary, Communications Coordinator, Membership Coordinator, Treasurer, Operations Coordinator and 6 at-large members to be elected by the general body to assist in the administration of the organization between General Meetings. The terms of at-large Coordinating Committee Member shall run one year, from October 1st to September 30th, or until their successors are elected. No more than six (6) of the Coordinating Committee members may identify as men.
Section 2. Duties.
- The Coordinating Committee administers the affairs of the Local and oversees the implementation of the decisions of the General Meetings; it may also create policy in-between Local Conventions. It shall have the power to receive reports of any Committee and advise thereon, to set agendas for General Meetings of the Local, to call emergency meetings of the Local, and to act on any matter that requires immediate and urgent action. The Coordinating Committee is the regular coordinating body of the Local, and thus subordinate to its Legislative bodies, the General Meeting of the Local and Local Convention.
- The Coordinating Committee will be responsible for establishing program activities for the Local chapter, for proposing guidelines and policies that will subsequently be voted on by the membership, and for acting on the organization’s behalf between Local Meetings.
- At-Large Coordinating Committee members will rotate the duties of Chair by presiding over general meetings of the Local and meetings of the Coordinating Committee on a monthly basis. They shall regularly update the general body on the activities of the Local Chapter, the Coordinating Committee, and the National Organization.
Section 3. Meetings.
Regular meetings of the Coordinating Committee will be held at the call of the rotating Chair at intervals determined by a prior Coordinating Committee meeting or at the call of any three Coordinating Committee Members. Regular meetings must be held at reasonably accessible times. All members of the Coordinating Committee must be given four (4) days oral or written notice of regular Coordinating Committee Meetings.
An emergency meeting of the Coordinating Committee may be called by the rotating chair or three Coordinating Committee members when an urgent or important matter requires deliberation.
All meetings of the Coordinating Committee must be open to all Local members, except that the Coordinating Committee may enter into an executive session to discuss matters of personnel and/or security. All meetings of the Coordinating Committee must be held in person, except that the Coordinating Committee may elect to meet via telepresence in emergency circumstances. Members of the Coordinating Committee may join its meetings via telepresence if medical or personal circumstances prevent their physical presence, but must communicate the nature of any such circumstances to the Coordinating Committee.
The CC is empowered to create standing rules for the chair selection and rotation process, so long as no one member chairs in two consecutive calendar months.
Section 4: Electronic Decision-Making
The Local is authorized to adopt Standing Rules allowing the Coordinating Committee to adopt certain motions asynchronously via electronic means outside the context of a meeting when an urgent or an important matter requires a decision, provided that:
- The motion is put forward with the assent of two Coordinating Committee members;
- The motion can be adopted only by the assenting votes of a 2/3 majority of the entire Coordinating Committee and no dissenting votes;
- The motion authorizes an action on behalf of the chapter only until it is discussed at the next Coordinating Committee meeting or 18 days, whichever is sooner;
- The motion (whether adopted or not) will be entered into the minutes of the next Coordinating Committee Meeting, in a manner determined by the Secretary;
- the motion does not overturn or otherwise contradict existing policy;
- the motion does not involve disciplinary action against any Pittsburgh DSA member.
Section 5. Quorum.
A quorum of a simple majority of the Coordinating Committee is required for the transaction of Coordinating Committee business.
Section 6. Absences.
If an Officer or member of the Coordinating Committee misses three (3) regular Coordinating Committee meetings in a row or five (5) regular Coordinating Committee meetings in a three (3) month time period, excepting requested personal leave, their seat will have been considered vacated. The Coordinating Committee must notify the member in writing in a timely manner that their seat has been vacated. The coordinating committee member whose seat has been vacated or any member of Pittsburgh DSA may request appeal at a Convention, General Meeting, or Emergency Meeting. Reinstatement of a Coordinating Committee member whose seat had been vacated in this manner requires a two-thirds vote of the Local meeting.
ARTICLE VII. Committees.
Section 1. Committee Formation.
- The Chapter may establish committees to organize around specific functions for the chapter, specific issues, or external campaigns, or any other reason approved by the membership. Members who wish to form a committee must submit a proposed written charter to the Coordinating Committee that includes
- a committee name;
- a mission statement and objectives;
- The scope of the committee’s work
- If necessary, a proposed budget that shall include any planned donation drives;
- a list of at least five prospective members signed or affirmed by those members;
- a statement of whether the proposed committee is to be a standing committee of indefinite duration or a temporary committee to expire at a time certain or upon the occurrence of a specified event;
- A proposed committee may be chartered and created with the approval of the Coordinating Committee or General Meeting. Charters for proposed committees may not conflict with these Bylaws or with the charters of existing committees. Charters for proposed committees which shall be voted on by a General Meeting must be published to the membership at least two weeks prior to the meeting.
Section 2. Membership and Election of Committee Leadership.
- Membership in a committee shall be open to all members. Committees may hold events that are open only to specific groups, so long as committee business is not conducted at such events and the event furthers the committee’s chartered purpose.
- After the committee is created, but no later than six weeks after the committee has been chartered, the committee shall hold elections for officers comprising
- either a committee Chair or two (2) committee Co-Chairs, at the preference of the committee;
- a committee Secretary; and
- any other officers a committee may choose to elect.
- Committee officers shall serve a term of one (1) year and may not serve more than two (2) consecutive terms in the same committee office; an officer will be considered to have served a full term if they have served more than six months prior to the end of their term. The committees shall determine and inform the chapter secretary of the start and end date for their officer terms.
- In the event of a vacant officer position, the committee shall elect a replacement officer to fill the remainder of the former officer’s term.
Section 3. Committee Powers.
Committees are authorized to perform functions specifically authorized by their charters. A committee charter cannot grant a committee authority to take action in contravention of these bylaws, policy passed by the Coordinating Committee, or policy passed at a General Meeting.
A committee is never authorized to establish a media or public communications presence separate from the rest of the Local, although the Coordinating Committee or a General Meeting may on a case-by-case basis authorize the creation of media presences for specific committee-led campaigns.
If a committee needs to take an action not formally authorized by its charter, the committee may petition to amend its charter; alternatively, the Coordinating Committee or a General Meeting may issue a one-time authorization to perform that specific action.
Section 4. Recall of Committee Leadership.
Any five members may request the recall of a committee officer via written petition to either the committee Secretary or to the chapter Coordinating Committee. Written notice of such recall request must be provided to all committee members as of the date the request was submitted, no more than one week after the date of submission. The committee shall call a meeting with at least two weeks notice, but which must take place no more than thirty (30) days after the recall notice has been disseminated to the committee membership, for the purpose of voting on the recall of the committee officer. A two-thirds majority vote of the committee meeting shall be required to remove an officer.
Section 5. Committee Meetings.
Committees must hold regular meetings, and notice must be given to all committee members no less than 72 hours in advance. Committees may hold emergency meetings with 24 hour notice. A minimum of five (5) committee members must be present for quorum of a committee meeting, unless a committee votes by a two-thirds majority to set a higher threshold for quorum. Committees may elect to conduct meetings electronically or via mixed electronic and in-person participation.
Section 6. Modification and Dissolution.
Committees may be dissolved by the membership at a General Meeting. A motion to amend a committee’s charter may also be introduced at a General Meeting.
Committees may amend their charters with the approval of the membership at a General Meeting or with the approval of the Coordinating Committee. If the committee charter was approved or ever modified at a General Meeting, further modifications must be voted on at a General Meeting. Notice of a proposed committee dissolution or an amendment to a committee’s charter must be given to the membership in writing at least two weeks prior to the General Meeting, or to the Coordinating Committee at least one week prior to its meeting, as appropriate.
The Coordinating Committee may propose a modification of an existing committee charter, if the committee charter was not originally approved or later modified at a General Meeting. Notice of proposed modifications in this case must be delivered to the committee’s leadership at least one week prior to the Coordinating Committee meeting in which the change will be voted upon. Such a modification requires a two-thirds majority vote of the Coordinating Committee.
Additionally, committees that are chartered as temporary committees for a limited time or particular purpose shall dissolve automatically upon the expiration of the certain time or the occurrence of the particular event specified in their charter.
Within seven (7) days of dissolution, the member(s) maintaining custody of the committee’s records shall provide copies of those records to the Secretary, and the member(s) maintaining custody of any committee funds shall remit those funds to the chapter Treasurer.
Section 7. Administrative Committees.
Committees prescribed by these bylaws for the purposes of assisting the chapter Officers in the conduct of their duties shall be considered Administrative Committees. All Administrative Committees shall be open to all chapter members. However, chairs of Administrative Committees may restrict which committee members are able to view personal information of Local Chapter members or sensitive financial information or to have access to the public communication tools of the Local. Administrative committees must meet at least once every three months.
Chairs of Administrative Committees are limited to particular chapter officers and are not subject to the recall provisions for committee officers in Section 4 of this Article. Administrative committees shall not have a charter; their scope and powers are defined in these bylaws.
ARTICLE VIII. Delegates to National, Regional, and State Bodies.
Local delegates and alternates to the National Convention will be elected by the members of the Local. Elections for the National Convention delegation shall be held on the schedule announced by the national organization.
ARTICLE IX. Prohibited Activity.
The Pittsburgh Local shall not engage in activity prohibited by the IRS guidelines established for 501(c)4 organizations or related Pennsylvania law.
ARTICLE X. Nominations.
Section 1: Petition process.
- The petition process for nominations begins 30 days prior to the scheduled election, and closes 7 days prior to the scheduled election. The Election Commission shall publish a petition template to the General Membership, and prior to the petition process shall designate a method to receive signed petitions.
- The Election Commission shall publish to the membership all dates and deadlines relevant to the petition process prior to its commencement in a reasonable manner.
Section 2: Nominations For Chapter Officers.
To be nominated for a chapter officer position, a member must
- Have been a member of Pittsburgh DSA for at least 180 days
- Submit a petition for nomination which includes at least five signatures by members.
Section 3: Nominations for At-Large Coordinating Committee Members.
To be nominated for an at-large Coordinating Committee position, a member must
- Have been a member of Pittsburgh DSA for at least 90 days
- Submit a petition for nomination which includes at least five signatures by members.
- If a member is nominated for an officer position, that member shall also be nominated for an at-large Coordinating Committee position, unless the nominee explicitly requests otherwise.
Section 4: Validation of Petitions.
- After the closing of the nominations process but at least 72 hours before the the Local Convention or General Meeting at which the election will take place, the Election Commission shall meet to validate the nomination petitions and determine the final number of accepted candidates, based on the nomination rules. Rejected candidates shall be provided in writing with the reason for their rejection.
- Rejected candidates shall have 24 hours to appeal their rejection or amend their petition, and the election commission shall have an additional 24 hours to review the appeal and amend its decision if necessary.
ARTICLE XI. Elections.
Section 1: Vote Counting System.
Pittsburgh DSA will use Ranked Choice Voting for all Officer, Coordinating Committee and National Convention Delegate positions. Voting and tabulation may be conducted electronically.
- For single seat elections, votes will be counted using the “Instant Runoff Voting” counting system. For multi-seat elections, votes will be counted using the “Single Transferable Vote” counting system.
- Nothing about the use of ranked choice voting shall be seen as in conflict with provisions, elsewhere in these bylaws, that ensure certain distributions of membership among the Officers and Coordinating Committee (such as gender, race, geographical area, or other area of concern).
- The Election Commission shall propose rules to the voting body prior to any election specifying the means by which ballots shall be cast and tabulated, as well as means of resolving any situation where results of the vote would otherwise elect a distribution of candidates not permitted by these bylaws.
Section 2: Election Commission.
- Pittsburgh DSA shall have a standing Election Commission.
- The Election Commission meets as needed in order organize leadership elections at scheduled annual conventions and general meetings. The Commission may also, at the request of the Coordinating Committee or other entities of the Pittsburgh DSA, organize elections for endorsement of political candidates. Such elections, however, are not governed by the same election rules as in this Article of the bylaws.
- Members of the Election Commission shall be appointed by the Coordinating Committee for two-year renewable terms. Chapter officers and members of the Coordinating Committee may not be Election Commission members, and if an Election Commission member decides to stand for office in an election for those positions or for the position of delegate for a national convention they must first resign from the Election Commission.
- The duties of the Election Commission are:
- To implement the nomination process as defined in Article X.
- To oversee the election process, including technical and logistical concerns.
- To educate members of the organization on the voting process.
- To implement an appeal process for individuals denied nomination and/or defeated in an election due to a rules or bylaws violation.
Section 3: Challenges.
Losing candidates shall have one week to appeal, and the election commission shall have two weeks to review the appeal and determine whether the election was properly conducted, and what remedy, if any, is appropriate; any remedy must be approved by the membership.
ARTICLE XII. Amendments.
Proposed amendments to these Bylaws must be submitted in writing, and the proposal must include at least five signatures by members. Proposed amendments will be voted on and approved by a two-thirds majority vote at either a Local Convention or General Meeting.
Proposed amendments submitted for consideration in a General Meeting must be submitted to the Coordinating Committee a month in advance of the meeting date. The Coordinating Committee is required to provide the membership with two weeks’ written notice of proposed amendments being considered at a General Meeting.
Proposed amendments submitted for consideration in a Local Convention must be submitted to the Coordinating Committee fifteen days prior to the local convention. The Coordinating Committee is required to provide the membership with one week’s written notice of proposed amendments being considered at a Local Convention.
ARTICLE XIII. Rules of the Local
Section 1. Parliamentary Authority.
The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the Local in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order the Local may adopt.
Section 2. Action Out of Order.
Any action taken by an officer or member of the Local in contravention of these Bylaws is null and void.
ARTICLE XIV. Provisions for a Vacant Coordinating Committee.
Should the Coordinating Committee be for any reason vacant or permanently unable to convene the following clauses go into effect:
- The Organizing Committee, open to all members as defined in Article III, shall conduct itself according to The Rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised. The Organizing Committee shall seek to carry out any necessary functions enumerated for the Coordinating Committee in these bylaws..
- Within 30 days of the existence of the vacancy, a date for a local convention, including the election of officers and the bylaw amendment process spelled out in Article IV, must be set.
In the event that the Coordinating Committee is vacated after officer elections in a Local Convention, but before the terms of the incumbent Coordinating Committee are finished, the previous provisions shall not apply; instead, the newly-elected Coordinating Committee will begin their terms immediately. This does not change the end dates of Coordinating Committee member terms.
ARTICLE XV: Harassment and Grievance Policy.
Section 1: Policies to be Instituted
- The Pittsburgh DSA must maintain policies consistent with Resolution 33 of the 2017 DSA National Convention and any other policies created by the national DSA regarding conduct between members of the organization and the means of adjudicating any alleged offenses.
- Harassment and grievance policies must be established as a standing rule of the Local by vote of a General Meeting or Local Convention.
- All harassment and grievance policies must be reviewed by the Local at least once per calendar year.
Section 2: Harassment Grievance Officers.
- In addition to the Officers listed above, while the Local has at least 100 members, it shall elect two Harassment Grievance Officers (“HGOs”) to serve one-year terms with no limits. The terms shall run from October 1st to September 30th. Only one of the two HGOs may identify as male. In addition, HGOs may not concurrently hold any other Officer position, be members of the Coordinating Committee, or chair any Committee within the Pittsburgh DSA. HGOs are considered Chapter Officers, but are not members of the Coordinating Committee and do not have the decision-making powers that members of the Coordinating Committee have.
- HGOs shall be elected in the same manner as any other Officer of the Pittsburgh DSA, with the following exceptions:
- There shall be an option of “no confidence” on the ballot, to ensure that HGOs are supported by the membership.
- The standing rules of the Local may establish additional requirements for HGOs beyond those established in this Article.
- HGOs shall be nominated, and the nominations published to the membership, at least thirty (30) days prior to the Election, to ensure that there is sufficient time for vetting.
- During the thirty day period before the election, nominees will be vetted; members may communicate their concerns about a candidate in writing to either the Coordinating Committee or the incumbent HGOs at their discretion, with the understanding that the receiving party will keep their identity confidential.
- Incumbent HGOs will investigate concerns and publish any credible accusations against nominees to the membership before votes are cast. If Incumbent HGOs are themselves the subject of such an accusation, then the Coordinating Committee shall appoint a party to investigate such accusation.
- Harassment Grievance Officers have the following duties:
- Receive, acknowledge receipt of, and archive accuser reports;
- Contact the accused to notify them of the accusations, request their written response, and archive any written response;
- Conduct any necessary investigation of the claim; and
- Present their findings to the Coordinating Committee with a written report and, if appropriate, a recommendation for disciplinary action.
- Recommend, where appropriate, that parties do not contact each other for the duration of the investigative process.
- Compile a yearly report that details:
- How many reports were made
- How many were taken to the disciplinary process
- How many disciplinary actions were taken
- Any recommended changes for making the reporting system more effective
- This report will not include personally identifying information of any parties in any dispute. The local HGOs will send the yearly report to the national HGO(s) no later than January 1 of the following year.
- Respect and maintain the confidentiality of any party that requests it, for any matter or information for which they request it. This shall not be construed to prevent the publication of the name of an accused member in the ordinary course of the grievance process, once a formal written grievance has been filed.
- Conduct training with the focus of preventing harassment within the Pittsburgh DSA and the harassment and grievance policies in existence, including this Article. It is suggested but not required that this training take place at least once per year.
Section 3: Grievances Against HGOs
In the event that a member wishes to report the conduct of a serving HGO, they may report such behavior to the other Local HGO or the National HGO, at their discretion. The accused HGO may neither participate nor access information related to the grievance filed against them, except as provided by this Article for the accused party of any investigation.
Section 4: Remedies and Disciplinary Action.
- In order to enforce this Article, the Coordinating Committee is empowered to take the following actions against a member who has been found in violation of this Article:
- Removal from DSA, which shall require a two-thirds majority vote;
- Prohibiting involvement with a specific committee;
- Suspension from DSA, or from specific committee meetings or other organizational events;
- A formal discussion between the accused and the Coordinating Committee to develop a plan to change the harassing behavior(s); and,
- Any and all other relief deemed necessary and just.
- In considering the appropriate form of relief, the Coordinating Committee shall consider:
- The request of the accuser;
- The severity of the offense;
- The response of the accused;
- The relevant behavioral histories of the accused; and,
- any other facts they deem relevant and reliable.
- Any affected party may appeal the form of relief determined by the Coordinating Committee within thirty days of receiving notice of the determination. Such appeal must be in writing to the National HGO, specifically averring one of the following grounds for appeal:
- The behavior at issue was interpreted using an incorrect standard;
- Procedural errors, misconduct, or conflicts of interest affected the fairness of the outcome; or
- The remedy or penalty determined by the Coordinating Committee was grossly disproportionate to the violation committed.
ARTICLE XVI: Vacancies
In the event of a vacancy in a Chapter Officer or at-large Coordinating Committee member position, a special election for the remainder of the vacant officer’s term shall be held within 60 days after the opening of the vacancy, unless the remaining term of the former officer is less than three months. Written notice of the special election and solicitation of nominations shall be published to all members of the Local no less than two weeks before the date of the special election. A special election may take place at a local convention or a general meeting.
If the vacancy is for an officer position, after the vacancy occurs but before the election, the Coordinating Committee may vote by a simple majority to appoint an interim officer to perform the functions of that office until a new officer is elected. The interim officer will be empowered to perform the duties of their office, but will not be considered a member of the Coordinating Committee and will not be allowed to vote in Coordinating Committee meetings, unless the person so appointed is also a current member of the Coordinating Committee. The Coordinating Committee may not appoint an interim Harassment & Grievance Officer.
ARTICLE XVII. Recall
Members may petition for the removal of a Chapter Officer or At-Large Coordinating Committee Member, or for the dissolution the entire Coordinating Committee (which includes the removal of all Chapter Officers and at-large Coordinating Committee members). Such a petition requires signatures from at least 5% of the membership and shall be delivered to the Coordinating Committee.
The Coordinating Committee can vote to recommend the removal of a Chapter Officer or At-Large Coordinating Committee Member, but only if that member is unwilling or unable to perform their duties or has violated any provision of Article III of these Bylaws. Grounds for such recommendation include but are not limited to: missing more than two Coordinating Committee meetings in a row, abuse of power, and mismanagement of funds.
Upon receipt of a recall petition or a vote to recommend a removal, the Coordinating Committee shall include a recall vote into the agenda of the next General Meeting or Local Convention, if one is scheduled within the next month. Otherwise, the Coordinating Committee must call for an Emergency General Meeting in accordance with the terms of these bylaws, for a date no later than 30 days in the future. Alternatively, the petition may include a member-led call for an Emergency meeting, at a date and time specified in the petition. In either case, the membership must be issued written notice about the removal or dissolution vote at least five days in advance.
No chapter officer may preside over the vote for their own removal. Another coordinating committee member may preside over a recall vote for an individual. A petition to dissolve the coordinating committee must specify an individual who will preside over the dissolution vote.
A vote to confirm the removal of a single Chapter Officer or Coordinating Committee member requires a simple majority; a vote to confirm the dissolution of the Coordinating Committee requires a two-thirds majority vote.
If the meeting for which the removal or dissolution vote is scheduled fails to meet quorum or is cancelled for any unforeseen circumstance, another General Meeting, Emergency Meeting, or Local Convention must be scheduled within the next thirty days at which the question will be considered.
ARTICLE XVIII: Electronic Communication
For the purposes of interpreting these bylaws, electronic mail (“email”) shall be considered written communication.
Any provision requiring the publication of information to the membership, or the solicitation of something from the membership, may be fulfilled by sending email to the most up-to-date list of email addresses of the membership and by posting to a forum accessible to all members, even if technical issues prevent small numbers of those emails from reaching their intended recipients.
Any provision requiring the signatures of members may be fulfilled by a list of consenting member’s names collected in an email or an electronic document.
ARTICLE XIX. Personal Leave
Officers of the Local and members of the Coordinating Committee may request a temporary leave of absence of up to 90 days, not to exceed 90 days cumulatively. The Coordinating Committee must be notified in writing about the reasons for the leave of absences and the estimated length of the absence. The Coordinating Committee will vote to accept the leave of absence, with a simple majority necessary to pass. If an Officer requests personal leave, the Coordinating Committee may appoint an interim officer as defined in Article XVI who will serve while the officer is absent.
Provisos Relating to Transition
Once ratified by the convention, the proposed bylaws will take effect immediately, with the following provisos:
- The Steering Committee will become the new Coordinating Committee. The current co-chairs, secretary, treasurer, and at-large members will assume the corresponding roles as modified by the bylaws. Their proviso will not modify existing terms, which shall expire September 30th.
- All actions taken and policies approved by the Steering Committee shall be deemed to have been taken or approved by the Coordinating Committee for the purposes of interpreting these new bylaws.
- The provision for vacancies with respect to the existing vacancies of at-large Coordinating Committee members as well as the new Chapter Officers (including the Membership Coordinator and Communications Coordinator) will not take effect until October 1st, although the Coordinating Committee may move to fill these vacancies or appoint interim officers in accordance with the new bylaws.
- Existing committee officer positions (chair, co-chair, secretary) under the former bylaws will be considered the same as the corresponding committee officer positions under the new bylaws (for the purposes of, e.g., term limits). Existing committees will not be required to fill vacancies created by the implementation of these bylaws until they are re-chartered (see below).
- Existing committees will need to be re-chartered under the new bylaws by October 31st, 2018. In the meantime, existing committees may continue to work for the purposes given under their prior charters, and are assumed to have authorization to hold committee meetings; organize public events (e.g., canvasses, brake light clinics, reading groups, protests, etc.); and work with the communications team to promote events, campaigns, or respond to specific issues as appropriate and within the scope of the bylaws and existing chapter policy. (Any additional powers will require re-chartering.)
- The Harassment and Grievance Officer positions will continue to be held by Nathan Fulk and Yuzuko Nakamura until September 30th. Should a vacancy occur prior to September 30th, the Coordinating Committee is empowered to appoint a replacement whose term shall end September 30th.
- The requirement that Harassment and Grievance Officers shall have Pennsylvania childcare clearances shall be waived until October 31st. (Members seeking election for an HGO position are advised to begin the clearance process after declaring their candidacy.)
- The Article on Officer Pluralism shall not go into effect until October 1, 2018.
- Harassment and grievance policies shall be adopted by vote of a Local Convention or General Meeting no later than December 31, 2018. HGOs will continue to use their current policies until said vote. These interim policies may be modified by the Coordinating Committee but must remain consistent with the requirements of Resolution 33.
- The language specifying that the Coordinating Committee may not appoint an interim Harassment and Grievance Officer shall not take effect until the September convention where officers are elected.
- The provision for chair rotation shall not take effect until October 1st. The current co-chairs shall immediately become at-large members of the local, and will take responsibility for chairing Coordinating Committee meetings and general meetings until the end of their terms. They shall also take responsibility for coordinating between the National DSA and the Local and between local committees and the coordinating committee.
- Amendments to new bylaws may to be discussed at August 28th General meeting, with 1 week notice of amendments and given that they have 5 endorsements and are submitted to the Coordinating Committee.
Proviso Relating to Amendment of 8-19-2019
- Effective as of October 1, 2019.