The Baltimore IWW constitutes a General Membership Branch with all the rights and responsibilities entitled by the IWW Constitution. Membership shall be by voluntary association of IWW members in good standing. A copy of these bylaws shall be made available to all Baltimore IWW members, and any other IWW members upon request.
The Baltimore GMB shall meet on the second Tuesday of every month; the meeting shall promptly start at 7:30pm and adjourn by 9:30pm. The meeting may be extended by means of a two-thirds vote by the membership for the specified meeting.
Special meetings may be called by notifying GMB members by face to face contact, phone call, or e-mail. Meetings may be rescheduled by a majority vote.
As defined in the IWW Constitution, quorum is five members in good standing.
GMB Meetings shall be open to all workers, though non-members can be excluded from any meeting by a majority vote of members in good standing. Voting privileges shall be reserved for IWW members in good standing, as defined by the IWW constitution. Good standing shall be demonstrated by each member passing their red card to the member to their left for review during the “Card Check” portion of business meetings or as verified by the members’ delegate.
GMB Members attending branch meetings shall be eligible to take part in the business of the meeting if they are in good standing as defined by the IWW Constitution. If members wish to pay dues at the meeting, they shall do so before the meeting is called to order.
Except where otherwise noted in these bylaws, meetings shall follow the rules and procedures set forth in Rusty’s Rules of Order, which shall be made available to all members. Additional exceptions to Rusty’s Rules of Order may be approved by a two-thirds vote by the members in good standing at the meeting.
Meetings shall be chaired by two co-facilitators. While one co-facilitator focuses on the agenda, the other co-facilitator shall take stack and call on participants. Rather than strictly following the order in which hands were raised, the co-facilitators shall utilize a “progressive stack”, prioritizing participants who have not spoken as often and ensuring that there are ample opportunities for women, people of color, LGBTQ people and other members of oppressed or marginalized groups to be heard. The same people should not facilitate more than two meetings in a row. New members are expected to undergo a facilitation training within 6 months of joining the branch.
Official branch motions will be made at the regularly scheduled monthly GMB meetings. Only if an emergency situation arises where a decision must be made before the next GMB meeting, the following requirements must be observed:
Any member in good standing may propose a motion via email, which may be seconded by any other member in good standing.
The emergency motion and the circumstances surrounding it must be sent out to the branch email list at least 24 hours before voting is closed. The branch secretary will then release to all members a count of all members in good standing and the deadline by which the votes will be counted.
Emergency motions may not disburse more than $100. Sums larger than this must be brought to the monthly GMB meeting.
Quorum shall be no fewer than five members voting in support.
The Baltimore GMB shall elect a Secretary, a Treasurer, and Branch Delegate(s) with all the rights and responsibilities as spelled out by the IWW constitution. The branch shall retain the right to combine the offices of Secretary and Treasurer into a single office.
Secretary: Collects delegate reports with dues and submits them to General Headquarters every month. Keeps a record of delegate reports. Directs disbursement of dues stamps to members who pay their dues online and who request dues stamps. Secretary may coordinate with delegates to accomplish this task. Maintains a current list of members—their “X” numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses—and makes this contact list available to delegates. Attends monthly GMB business meetings whenever possible. Maintains contact with other IWW branches with particular focus on those in proximity to Baltimore. Assists Communication Officer in maintaining the branch email list and responding to emails, phone calls and mail.
Treasurer: Keeps a regular accounting of all Baltimore GMB funds. Produces a monthly finance report. Retains the ability to sign checks and allocate funds as directed by the Baltimore GMB. All disbursements over 500 dollars must be endorsed by both the Secretary and the member assigned as the second signatory by the members of the Baltimore GMB. Attends monthly business meetings of the GMB.
Organizing Department Liaison: Joins the email list of the IWW Organizing Department Board (ODB). Submits a monthly report to the ODB on branch organizing activities. Provides a separate monthly report to the GMB on the activities of the ODB and information on organizing activity throughout the IWW received from the ODB. Attends monthly business meetings of the GMB. The Organizing Department Liaison must serve on the Campaigns Committee.
International Solidarity Commission Liaison: Joins the email list of the IWW International Solidarity Commission (ISC) and provides a monthly report to the GMB on the ISC’s organizing activity. Trains replacement liaison by going over responsibilities and sharing experiences. Attends monthly business meetings of the GMB.
Communications Officer: Coordinates official communications that must be made between branch meetings such as press relations, responses to email, voicemail, and postal mail, as well as maintaining the branch email list. Responsible for outreach through branch social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Mandated to post on and moderate branch social media outlets at their discretion with the interests of the branch in mind, designating as official only those statements approved at a GMB business meeting by majority vote. Attends monthly business meetings of the GMB.
Delegate(s): Signs up new members, takes dues, maintains regular contact with members and other fellow workers, distributes union publications and literature. Reports by the 15th of every month to the Branch Secretary.
The Baltimore GMB may create and elect any other officers by proposal and vote, and each additional officer shall be subject to the provisions of this article.
All officers shall serve terms to begin on January 1st (or whenever elected) and end on December 31st.
Officers may be recalled by majority vote of the membership. A recall vote may be held whenever 5 or more members of the GMB submit a petition for recall at a monthly and or special branch meeting.
Any elected officer may resign at any time. A verbal announcement made by the resigning official at a GMB meeting or a written statement signed by that officer and one other IWW member in good standing shall be required to constitute an official resignation. If any officer resigns or is recalled, nominations to replace that officer shall take place at the earliest possible GMB meeting and elections will take place at the following meeting.
Officers being replaced are expected to train their replacements, including relating information and transferring files/documents pertaining to their position so as to ensure smooth continuity.
Eligible voters shall include all local IWW members in good standing as defined by the IWW constitution.
Nominations shall open at the regular November branch meeting and remain open until the regular December branch meeting. Elections shall be held at the regular December branch meeting.
All elections will be by secret ballot at a GMB regular or special meeting. Each member in good standing has one vote. Members can also vote in absentia by submitting a ballot to a delegate or officer in a sealed envelope.
To be eligible for nomination a member must be in good standing and have joined the union at least 3 months prior to nomination.
The Baltimore GMB may establish committees provided that set committees be required to report once a month to the local GMB. Committees may establish their own bylaws provided that these bylaws do not contradict the GMB bylaws or the IWW constitution.
Branch members classified in the same Industrial Union are encouraged to form Industrial Union Branches (IUB’s) as defined in the IWW Constitution.
All official statements issued by subordinate committees of the Baltimore GMB bearing the name Industrial Workers of the World shall be subject to the formal approval of the Baltimore GMB.
The Campaigns Committee is a subordinate body to the GMB and its decisions may be overridden by the GMB at any time. The purpose of the Campaigns Committee is to coordinate the branch’s workplace organizing campaigns. The Campaigns Committee has its own set of bylaws that govern it. These bylaws may not contradict the GMB bylaws or the IWW Constitution. Meetings of the Campaigns Committee are open to all branch members in good standing with the exception of a brief closed portion wherein the Committee may discuss sensitive, identifying information on new leads. Campaigns Committee meetings are not open to the public.
The Campaigns Committee will consist of 3 to 5 members in good standing, elected annually, prior to Dec 31, with their term beginning January 1. Vacancies may be filled by vote at any GMB meeting.
The Baltimore IWW will maintain an ongoing relationship of mutual aid and cooperation with the two IWW worker-owned cooperatives in Baltimore: Red Emma’s Coffeehouse and Bookstore and Baltimore Bicycle Works.
All full members of the two aforementioned cooperatives are also individual members of the Baltimore General Membership Branch of the IWW and have the same rights and responsibilities as other branch members. Coop members are encouraged to actively participate in branch meetings, committees and campaigns, to vote in branch and union-wide elections and to run for branch and union-wide office. Co-op members are individually responsible for paying their dues and maintaining good standing in the IWW. Members who leave a cooperative remain members of the branch unless they resign from the IWW, move to the jurisdiction of a different GMB, stop paying dues or are expelled.
Co-ops are encouraged to nominate at least one member to become a branch delegate. This delegate, if elected by the branch, will serve as an official liaison between the co-op and the branch by giving a report at GMB and coop meetings and transferring reports and dues to the branch.
The Baltimore GMB recognizes the independence of the co-operatives and has no authority over their internal affairs. The GMB does not seek to control or influence the decision-making process of the co-operatives. Certified IWW worker-owned cooperatives answer only to their members and to the international body of the IWW as outlined in the IWW Constitution.
Any and all voluntary assessments collected by the Baltimore GMB shall be promptly allocated to the projects for which they are intended, unless the committees responsible for such projects are found to be acting in a manner contradictory to the IWW constitution or these bylaws, or unless those committees request that the funds be held by the Baltimore GMB.
All branch members who retain the ability to sign checks shall only do so in the event that the Treasurer is unavailable for endorsement, or if a check requires two signatories.
Receipts must be provided whether expenses are reimbursed or advanced.
The Baltimore GMB follows the Safer Space Policy as adopted in the IWW Constitution and reproduced below: 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.
These bylaws may be amended by a majority vote of eligible voters as defined in Article IV Section 1.
Amendments to the bylaws may be proposed at the regular December branch meeting. In other cases, members must be given at least one month notice prior to a meeting at which a vote to amend these bylaws will be held.