by Dorothy Johnson, Florida
The National Association of Unemployment Insurance Appellate Boards (NAUIAB) was created in 1981 to provide the opportunity for UI Appellate Board members from around the country to get together and discuss common issues and receive training. No other organization was providing this opportunity and it was such a success that by 1991 the organization no longer served only the Boards but consisted of 154 members from higher authority boards and lower authority appeals managers representing 43 states. As the organization has matured it has moved from that 1981 goal of a forum to discuss issues of the Boards, to a comprehensive training program for all levels of the UI appeal process. NAUIAB now offers the Certified Appeals Professional program for hearing officers to address decision writing, evidence and other issues addressed by hearing officers, while continuing to offer management information and discussion opportunities for the lower authority managers and higher authority boards. NAUIAB has become the one place where appeals professionals at all levels of the UI appeals process can turn for comprehensive unemployment compensation appeals focused training.
Over the last year I have come to realize that while we as NAUIAB members are fully aware of how the organization has evolved and the value to everyone in the appeals process, many who see only our organization name still view NAUIAB as an organization only for board members. I have found myself over and over explaining that we provide training for all levels of appeals and that the lower authority staff should be attending our annual training because there was so much information provided to assist them in improving performance. I have been met with surprise and even a few times with the argument that NAUIAB is only for the Boards- look at the name. I am a slow learner at times but it finally dawned that our difficulty in gaining support for our broader programs may be our name and the assumptions drawn from that name when we lower authority chiefs put it on their travel requests, when we presented the request for hearing officers to attend or when we presented our hearing officer training requests to USDOL.
I know the organization has a lot of pride in the name NAUIAB and I am a relative new comer in the world of appeals, but with some trepidation I decided to present my observations to the Board of Governors in March. After discussion the Board voted to present the membership with the question of whether to change the organizations’ name at the July general membership meeting. There was a lengthy debate of possible changes but after much discussion and debate the Board voted to recommend changing the name of the organization to National Association of Unemployment Insurance Appeals Professionals.