Bylaws of the Olympia General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World as adopted on the 19th of April 2016 and amended through the 17th of July 2017.
ARTICLE I. Purpose
- The Olympia General Membership Branch (GMB) constitutes a General Membership Branch with all the rights and responsibilities entitled by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Constitution. Membership shall be by voluntary association of IWW members in good standing, as defined by the Constitution of the IWW, in the City of Olympia and Thurston county. The GMB shall support members outside this area with their organizing and in forming a branch in their area.
- It is the aim of the Olympia GMB to build local and regional working-class solidarity as a branch of the IWW. The Olympia GMB therefore actively opposes discrimination on and off the job. No wage or salaried worker shall be excluded from the Olympia GMB because of race, ethnicity, sex, nationality, creed, disability, sexual orientation, age, or gender identity.
ARTICLE II. Membership and Charter
- Membership in this GMB is by payment of IWW dues as per Article VI of the IWW General Bylaws.
- No one may join the GMB who is an employer, is a sworn law officer, or is otherwise barred from membership in accordance with the IWW Constitution.
- A copy of these bylaws shall be provided to each new member of the GMB at the time they receive their Red Card.
ARTICLE III. Meetings
- There shall be a minimum of one (1) business meeting of the GMB per month, at a well advertised date and location. Time and location for each meeting will be determined at the previous monthly meeting. The chair, co-chair, and recording secretary shall be elected at the preceding meeting.
- All efforts to inform membership of meeting time and place will be taken. Including but not limited to: email, social media, phone, face to face, etc.
- Items for the meeting agenda may be submitted to the meeting chair prior to the meeting by electronic or paper means, up to three (3) days before the meeting date. The chair shall circulate a draft agenda to all GMB members via email two (2) days prior to the meeting date.
- Members who do not have computer access or do not wish to receive the agenda electrically may make the GMB aware and the GMB must provide accommodation in a reasonable and timely manner.
- A quorum of five (5) members in good standing must be present to conduct the meeting.
- Absent members may vote on specific motions at meetings by sealed proxy ballot carried by any member eligible to vote. Paper proxies must be signed and include the member’s x number.
- Only members of the GMB in good standing may vote. Members of other branches or at-large members may attend with voice but no vote. Nonmembers may attend GMB meetings provided they are introduced at the opening of the meetings. Members in attendance may vote to ask visitors to leave without stating a reason.
- All decisions by the GMB will be made by a vote of 50% + 1 of members in good standing who are present at the meeting, where quorum has been met.
- Abstentions are not counted toward the total needed to pass.
- “Rusty’s Rules of Order” shall be used as a guide for the GMB meetings.
- GMB meetings shall not exceed two hours in length without passage of a motion to extend.
- Minutes will be taken at all official GMB and committee meetings. Minutes will distributed to all members via email within one week of the meeting, by the member who was responsible for taking the minutes at said meeting.
- Members may request paper copies and the GMB must comply.
- A card check will be held at the start of each GMB meeting to determine standing of members and ability to vote. The card check shall be the first item on the agenda following the call to order. Delegates may vouch for members without cards.
Article IV. Officers
- Officers in the Olympia GMB shall be Secretary, Treasurer, and delegate(s).
- Any member running for Olympia GMB office must be in good standing for six (6) months prior to elections.
- This will not apply for the first election of the GMB.
- Terms of office for Olympia GMB officers are to be held for one (1) year.
- The terms for all officers will begin on April 1st and end on March 31st of the following year.
- All officers of the GMB shall maintain good standing or be subject to automatic removal from office.
- All elected officers are accountable to the membership and subject to its guidance and will work in accordance with the decisions made by the membership at Olympia GMB Meetings.
- Any officer may be recalled at any time by a majority (50% + 1) vote of the Olympia GMB membership. A recall vote may be held whenever five (5) or more members of the GMB submit a letter for recall at a monthly meeting or special branch meeting.
- Any officer may resign at any time. A statement will be made by the resigning officer at the next Olympia GMB meeting either verbally or in writing. If any officer resigns, nominations will be taken right away. With the election for the interim officer to take place at the next meeting, not less than a month away.
- In the event of any unfilled positions, an interim officer will be elected at the next GMB meeting to serve until the next term election. Alternatively, the job will be shared by volunteer members on a rotational basis to be decided upon at each Olympia GMB meeting until the next election, or the nomination and election of an interim officer.
- The Secretary shall manage the Olympia GMB’s correspondence that has not otherwise been delegated to another member, produce monthly Branch reports, collect and keep record of monthly Delegate Reports, submit monthly reports to General Headquarters (GHQ). The Secretary shall also maintain a record of minutes of the business meetings; and attend monthly business meetings or find an alternate.
- Reports with remittance for dues, etc., paid during the month shall be sent to the General Secretary not later than the 10th day of the following month.
- The Secretary shall also maintain a current list of members – their “x” numbers, addresses, phone numbers and email address and other relevant information – and make this contact list available to the Branch Treasurer, delegates, and any other officer of the Branch. All other GMB members who wish to obtain a GMB contact list must have the permission of the GMB at a business meeting.
- The Secretary is responsible for annual Department of Labor filing requirements.
- The Treasurer shall monitor branch finances, distribute branch funds, and submit monthly financial reports to the GMB at business meetings.
- The Treasurer is responsible for annual Internal Revenue Service filing.
- Delegates shall initiate new members, collect dues, and submit monthly Delegate Reports to the Branch Secretary, maintain a record of union materials in their possession, and perform all other responsibilities as specified in the IWW constitution.
- Delegates shall maintain a record of initiations and dues collected.
- All delegates shall be required to reapply for delegate status at the April meeting each year, Delegates who wish to continue as such must be re-elected by the membership of the GMB. Delegates may be elected at any time during the year, but their term expires on April 30th.
- Delegates are required to clear their credentials, with General Headquarters, annually by March 31st.
Article V. Committees
- The Olympia GMB may establish committees for organizational purposes. These committees are subject to GMB bylaws and must act in accordance with the IWW Constitution. These committees may be special (i.e. temporary) or standing (i.e. permanent) committees.
- Committees, both special and standing, are open to any member of the General
Membership Branch (GMB) in good standing, with the exception of General Defense Committee Local 20. Quorum for a committee shall be three (3) members in good
- General Defense Committee Local 20.
- The General Defense Committee (GDC) Local 20 is a committee of the Olympia
GMB. However, unlike other GMB committees, only GDC Local 20 members in
good standing may be a part of the committee. It is possible for members of
GDC Local 20 not to be members of the GMB. The GMB has oversight of GDC
Local 20. Any sub-committees the GDC creates shall report to the GDC Local 20.
- The Central Secretary-Treasurer (CST) is the de facto chair of the GDC Local 20.
The Central Secretary-Treasurer reports to the GMB. The GMB Treasurer shall
maintain the funds of GDC Local 20 and disperse them to the CST as necessary,
per motions made at GDC meetings. GDC Local 20 differs from other branch
committees in that it has its own funding through its dues-paying members.
However, the GDC it may still request funds from the GMB.
- The General Defense Committee (GDC) Local 20 is a committee of the Olympia
- Committee Chairs
- Standing committees shall have a chair elected by the GMB at the time the
committee is created and during each branch election. Any member of the GMB
in good standing is eligible to be the chair of a committee.
- Committee chairs shall have one-year terms from April through March.
- Committee chairs may step down at any point by notifying the GMB at a General
Membership Branch meeting or by notifying the Secretary.
- Committee chairs are responsible for minutes being taken at all committee
meetings. Committee chairs do not personally have to take the minutes, but they
are responsible for seeing to it that someone takes notes.
- Committee chairs are responsible for seeing to it that committee meeting minutes
are sent out to the Olympia IWW listserv.
- Committee chairs are responsible for agendas being made for the committee
meetings, with input from the committee members.
- Committee chairs are responsible for writing a report each month that is
submitted in writing to the GMB Secretary. These reports shall be submitted to
the following GMB meeting for inclusion in the minutes.
- All efforts will be made by the Secretary, and should be made by the committee
members, to help committee chairs with their work.
- Standing committees shall have a chair elected by the GMB at the time the
Article VI. Elections
- The GMB shall elect a Secretary, Treasurer, and at least one (1) Delegate.
- All elected officials are voluntary, and no official will be employed as paid staff.
- All members of the Olympia GMB in good standing may vote in the election. If a member is not in good standing, they may pay dues owing prior to the meeting in which elections are held.
- Duties of the new officers will commence in April.
- Prior to election of Olympia GMB officers, nominations must be open for at least one month. Notice of upcoming election will be made available to all GMB members at least one month prior to election.
- Positions will be filled by paper ballots.
- The GMB shall elect a ballot committee of 3 members in good standing at the business meeting in the month of January. The ballot committee shall be responsible for creating and mailing the ballots and for counting the ballots.
- Ballots will be mailed to all members in good standing of the GMB by the last day of February.
- Nominations will open on January 1st and close at the end of the February Business meeting.
- Ballots will be counted by the ballot committee at the March business meeting.
Article VII. Finances
- All dues collected from the membership of the Olympia GMB will be handled in accordance with the IWW Constitution.
- All voluntary assessments made by Olympia GMB members will be allocated to the purposes and projects for which they were intended.
- Donations made to the Olympia GMB will be retained in whole for branch use.
- GMB finances are decided by a budget set by the GMB at business meetings. The Treasurer is responsible for disbursing and keeping record of these finances. The Treasurer can disburse funds that have not budgeted for, up to a maximum of $50 total in a calendar month.
- The annual budget will be set at the June meeting. The budget may be amended at any business meeting. Any amount over $50 must be approved ahead of time at a business meeting.
- The GMB’s fiscal year is from July 1st to June 30th, to coincide with that of the General Administration.
- An audit committee of three (3) members in good standing will be elected at the August business meeting. The committee will examine the Treasurer’s books. The Treasurer shall turn over all financial records for the past year, including copies of all bills, records of payments, bank statements and any other documents requested, within seven (7) days of the August meeting. The committee shall submit a written report to the entire branch via email and an oral report at the September meeting. Paper copies will be made available by request.
Article VIII. Amendments
- Any Olympia GMB member in good standing may submit a proposal to amend these by-laws at a GMB meeting, in the form of a motion. Notice of this proposal must be made in the meeting minutes, and a vote on the proposal motion will take place at the next Olympia GMB meeting not more than one (1) month later.
- The GMB secretary shall forward amendments to these bylaws to the IWW General Administration within sixty (60) days, as per IWW Constitution Article XI, section 3.
Article VIIII. Safer Space Policy
- The Olympia General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World is committed to keeping our common spaces free from oppressive behavioral, language, and actions. In that spirit we therefore adopt the IWW’s safer space policy; and endeavor that all members of the GMB be familiar with and follow the policy.
- The Industrial Workers of the World is a union committed to the emancipation of the working class. The working class is diverse and as a union we recognize that oppression is many layered. As such, we strive to keep our common places free from oppressive action, behavior, and language.
- These oppressive actions and words include but are not limited to: racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and any expression of disrespect and/or intolerance of size, gender identity, sexual identity/expression, (dis)ability, age, educational level, and cultural background. Because we want to learn from and educate each other, we will each be responsible for addressing these issues in ourselves and others. This policy is not about censorship, but rather opening a dialog in a respectful way that can result in all members feeling safe and free to fully participate in their union’s activities.
- If a member feels this policy is being / has been violated, the following steps should be taken:
- Reference the policy to the whole group: for example, “In the IWW, we have a “Safer Space Policy” that all members are mutually responsible to uphold. I feel this policy has been violated by talk of ‘[comments made].’ Please keep the Safer Space Policy in mind.”
- If the policy is still being violated, the issue should be brought up to the person in violation directly and/or the chair, an officer, a delegate, or a member whom you would like to act as an advocate on your behalf so that an effective plan of action can be instituted.
- If you have no allies locally and invoking the “Safer Space Policy” fails, reach out to the Gender Equity Committee for assistance at GEC@IWW.org.
- If a member feels like this policy is being violated and is uncomfortable bringing this up personally, they are encouraged to seek an ally of their choosing to advocate for them. In a meeting, a person can ask for a point of personal privilege to take a break and discuss this with the necessary parties. Meeting chairs, officers, delegates, and members should be conscious of this policy and address issues as they arise.
- Further, space shall be defined as any office, meeting, event (including trainings, celebrations, social gatherings, etc.), internet platform (including listservs, facebook, we.riseup, twitter, etc.) that is IWW sponsored, which includes any body formally recognized by the IWW, such as General Membership Branches, Regional Organizing Committees and Regional Administrations, Industrial Union Branches, other committees, and any accountable sub-formation of the aforementioned bodies.