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Proposed Byelaws / Guidelines for Operation and Procedure of the Radical Co-Op Thrift Store
Some ideas from Simon:
Add more in-depth wording on sustainability
Add wording about environmental and animal welfare
Salaried employees and Living Wage
Store co-ordinator term limit
Conflict resolution committee chosen by random ballot
Reduce wordiness/activist-ese of mission and vision
Some ideas from Tom:
Worker-owned cooperative with volunteer support
Article I. Name and Mission, Vision
Thriftshopbandit is a second-hand shop operated for the following purposes:
- through the sale of donated items, raise money for local grassroots community groups
- to acquire consumer goods by donation and redistribute those goods to those who need them
- to provide a space after thrift shop hours for use by members of the community
- to educate politically and politically engage the larger community on behalf of and in solidarity with organisations, groups, and peoples that have been historically marginalized and neglected such as indigenous people, people of color, immigrants, poor people, non-native speakers, women, youth, the aged, workers, lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals, transgendered people, and differently-abled people.
I kind of don't like the laundry list of oppressed demographics. We are talking about "historically marginalized" peoples, but it seems to me when we start making a list that long, I think that can be mariginalizing too, because it just lumps all these groups of people together, with out any mention of the nuances and differences in their experience, while a lot of people in one category would not identify with people in another. Also, what about other groups that didn't make the list? Obviously a queer person who doesn't identify as lesbian, gay, bi, or trans is implicitly included, but a list that long that leaves some one out can't help but make one wonder. Also, what about us? Are myself, Brian, Simon, Scott and Bob just the white middle class males who are out to rescue the oppressed? Do we not stand something to gain from all this to. I've worked shitty jobs for asshole bosses; I've surrounded myself with neat possessions but still felt so beat down and disempowered that I wanted to die. I don't want to get too CrimethInc.-ish here but I think there is validity to what they say. Obviously what I've experienced isn't the same or maybe even as severe as what one of those other groups has, but I still feel I have something to gain from this whole revolution thing to. Is there a way to note the special oppression of these traditionally marginalized groups without making it in to a list? Also, the list is just long and burdensome when it starts appearing 2-3 times in our writing. Sorry for the long rant but I felt like it had to be said.
If we do decide to keep the list, we should add Non-Christians.
Our desire is to see the present hierarchical and voiceless economic and political reality uprooted and replaced. Our means will be non-violent. We seek to replace the present reality with equitable and communicative economic and political realities according to our principles of respect and unity.
Does this "our" refer to us in the context of the thrift store or more generally?
Article II. Principles of Respect, Principles of Unity, Guidelines for Conflict Resolution (adapted from Scott’s posts)
The society and institutions of the U.S.A. were built intentionally to benefit the white, male ruling class.
The society and institutions of the U.S.A. are systematically marginalizing, oppressive and exploitative of indigenous people, people of color, immigrants, poor people, non-native speakers, women, youth, the aged, workers, lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals, transgendered people, and differently-abled people.
Our backgrounds have not given many of us the tools to build a just and sustainable society. Therefore we have to recognize, learn from, and work with each other to build our visions.
These Principles of Respect and Unity are meant to give us all a place to work, with one another and with others, with respect and trust to build stronger relationships and organizations. We support or deny these principles not only in our actions, but in the practices within our own organizations.
When there are conflicts, which there will be, the Guidelines for Conflict Resolution found in Article III will be used with attention and deference always given to the Principles of Respect and Unity.
Principles of Respect
Each person has experiences and information to share.
Each person has a piece of the truth.
Each person can learn.
Actively listen to each other. This may mean taking an hour, a day, or a week to really think through and ask questions of the other or others in the conversation. This also means taking into account cues from people in the communities you are working with both when you are interacting with them and when you are not.
Pay attention to your own use of profanity.
Create safe and inclusive environments for patrons, donors, volunteers, and any others who find themselves participants in Thriftshopbandit. Recognize and honor the differences across cultures in regards to experiences, languages, traditions, religions, etc. even if you don’t agree with them. Continue to learn about our differences and use this education to actively listen.
Don’t use acronyms.
Be respectful of the value of others’ time.
Respect the work and ability of others.
Allow for all voices to be heard. Make it a point to find alternative ways for those who want to add to the conversation to do so.
Keep confidentiality when appropriate.
Speak only for yourself and, when directly authorized to speak for others be clear about your role as spokesperson – say only what you have been asked to say – no more, no less.
Take risks within yourself.
Be aware of the effects of your actions on the others and communities around you.
We will all make mistakes.
Critique inappropriate behaviors, but NOT the person. If you see a behavior that is inappropriate intervene. Don’t wait for someone else to address it – especially around issues of oppression or drug use.
Challenge oppressive behavior in a way that helps people grow.
Be open to critique or challenges of ideas, patterns, or behaviors.
Don’t use alcohol, drugs or weapons in places where they can endanger people. Be mindful of appropriate times to use alcohol or drugs.
Principles of Unity
We recognize our work is to support communities historically marginalized and neglected.
We believe in being accountable to the communities we serve, to the people we serve, and to ourselves.
We believe in root changes to our current society based upon respect, mutual aid, inclusiveness and cooperation.
We believe in creating safe and inclusive environments for all participants.
We believe in promoting shared leadership and decision-making.
We recognize differences across cultures.
We promote unity among all people concerned with making the world a better place.
We value peace and practice non-violence in our processes.
We believe in participatory, democratic social change and organizing that hears many voices and includes many persons.
We believe in the principles of grassroots organizing by working to bring forth the power of historically marginalized women and men.
We work for all forms of justice including, but not limited to environmental, social, political, racial, gender, and economic.
We believe that all forms of justice including, but not limited to, environmental, social, political, racial, gender, and economic are basic human rights.
We seek to dismantle oppression in all forms.
We believe in living the change and changes we want to see in the world.
Article III. Organization: Volunteers/Financial Sponsors, Long Term Volunteers, Core Sponsors, Store Coordinator, Conflict Resolution Committee
Volunteers/Financial Sponsors are those people contributing either personal time or financial support to Thriftshopbandit. Volunteer Sponsors are also volunteers with other organisations that meet or exceed Thriftshopbandits ideals. Financial Sponsors of other organisations do not get this benefit. Long Term Volunteers and Core Sponsors are also Volunteers/Financial Sponsors.
Long Term Volunteers
Long Term Volunteers are those people contributing 24 hours of personal time within a 90-day period for the support and operation of Thriftshopbandit or another organisation that meets or exceeds Thriftshopbandit ideals.
Core Sponsors are elected by their Long Term Volunteer peers. There will be twelve Core Sponsors.
The Store Coordinator
The Store Coordinator is a Long Term Volunteer willing to take on the Store Coordinator responsibility and hired by the Core Sponsors for that job.
Conflict Resolution Committee (CRC)
Conflict Resolution Committee (CRC) members are elected by their Volunteer Sponsor peers. There will be twelve Volunteer Sponsors elected to the CRC.
Article IV. Responsibilites
We must continually be aware of the paternalistic culture we have been raised in and currently live in and how it effects our decision-making processes and our interactions with others.
We must seek out those motives in our decision-making processes, our interaction with others and one another, and our every move and breath that seek to place us beyond the reach of our sisters and brothers especially those whom we seek to serve.
We do these things in an effort to show that power need not be singular in origin, but shared amongst individuals who desire participation in something other than her or himself.
We recognize every person’s right to a voice in Thriftshopbandit keeping in mind our Principles of Respect and Principles of Unity, as well as the fact that some folks have worked hard to make and maintain Thriftshopbandit while others are new to this particular endeavour.
We agree to accept and act on suggestions from all folks who involve themselves or are involved in Thriftshopbandit in any way.
All Volunteer/Financial Sponsors must read and abide by the Thriftshopandt Guidelines for Operation and Procedures (hereafter simply called Guidelines). All Volunteer/Financial Sponsors receive a 20% discount on store items for their support.
Long-Term Volunteer Sponsors
Long-Term Volunteer Sponsors (LTVS) may nominate themselves or nominate another LTVS for election to the Core Sponsorhip role or the Conflict Resolution Committee (CRC), but not both. LTVS are responsible for election of Core Sponsors, ratification of Core Sponsor decisions, and election of CRC members. LTVS will receive both conflict resolution and anti-opression training.
The twelve Core Sponsors are divided into four teams of three with each team responsible for an aspect of the Thriftshopbandi mission and vision: financial support, material support, community support, and vision. The division of the group into teams allows more focus on each of these aspects though all Volunteer/Financial Sponsors are ultimately responsible for maintaining organizational standards according to the mission and vision of Thriftshopbandit.
The Store Coordinator or Coordinators is the person or persons responsible for implementing Core/Long Term Volunteer decisions in all areas of Thriftshopbandit operation. The Store Coordinator will be a paid employee of Thrifshopbandit and will be paid a fair and living wage according to an outside source such as the organization for a Universal Living Wage or an equivalent organization.
Conflict Resolution Committee (CRC)
The CRC is dedicated to conflict resolution both among the ranks of the Thriftshopbandit organization and with patrons of Thriftshopbandit. Members of the CRC will receive both conflict resolution and anti-opression training.
A CRC member may ask parties involved in a conflict to participate in voluntary efforts to resolve a conflict. These efforts may include, but are not limited to, any of the following: mediation or negotiation between the parties involved, an individualized coaching program around issues of oppression, a probationary period of close supervision and zero-tolerence for further inapropriate acts, establishing boundaries and limits around such things as individual interaction and spaces that can be occupied, and voluntary disassociation with Thriftshopbandit.
In cases where parties are resistant to resolution efforts, the CRC can make resolution exercises mandatory by modified consensus at a CRC meeting where all members of the CRC are present. In the event that parties continue their resistance the case will be presented to the combined Core Sponsors and CRC. A two-thirds majority vote at a meeting where all members of the Core Sponsorship and CRC are present will maintain the mandatory status determined by the CRC. Failure to abide by the combined decision of the Core Sponsorship and CRC will result in termination from Thriftshopbandit.
Article V. Voting Procedures, Core Sponsor Terms, Conflict Resolution Committee Terms
Only Volunteer Sponsors will be allowed a vote. A two-thirds majority secret ballot will be used to determine the Core Sponsorship, Conflict Resolution Committee members, and combined Core Sponsor and CRC mandated conflict resolution exercises. Votes about events such as ratification of new guidelines and CRC conflict resolution mandates will be voted on according to modified rules of consensus.
Core sponsor terms
Core Sponsor Terms will be one-year terms with no consecutive repeat terms.
Conflict Resolution Committee Terms
Conflict Resolution Committee Terms will be six months.
Article VI. Guidelines for Conflict Resolution (taken from Common Ground Conflict Resolution Procedure)
To have a framework in place in the event that the Thriftshopbandit policy of promoting a work environment intolerant of verbal or physical conduct by any volunteer or employee that harasses, disrupts, or interferes with another volunteer’s work performance or that creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile environment. Thriftshopbandit volunteers and employees are expected to maintain a productive work environment that is free from harassing or disruptive activity. No form of harassment will be tolerated, including harassment for the following reasons: race, ethnicity, religious creed, sex, gender, marital status, family status, criminal record, national origin, age, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, source of income or sexual orientation.
To alleviate interpersonal conflict between Thriftshopbandit volunteers and employees and to promote a safe and positive environment.
To keep with the mission and vision of Thriftshopbandit.
Often the quickest and most effective way to deal with conflict is on a personal level. Conflict happens everywhere people interact, and shouldn't necessarily be avoided, but dealt with, ideally in a way that encourages personal growth. Having a conversation with someone who you feel has been disrespectful will often result in them changing their behavior in the future, a positive outcome compared to waiting for the disrespectful action to continue and worsen until it becomes a much larger issue. A CRC member may be able to offer positive strategies for dealing with conflict yourself. This conflict resolution procedure does not infringe on a common ground volunteers right to set personal boundaries around other people, up to and including asking someone to voluntarily leave common ground.
Conflict De-escalation and Separation
This section describes what to do in instances of emergency. Emergency conflicts are conflicts that have compromised the feelings, the safety, or thewell being of any individual within the scope of Thriftshopbandit including patrons, donors, and volunteers. In such emergencies, it is the task of volunteers on the scence to immediatley seek de-escalation of conflicts, and ensure that parties are separated until such de-escalation has been reached. If the safety and security of individuals involved is in question, even after de-escalation, it is the job of volunteers to ask endangering parties to leave Thriftshopbandit space pending conflict resolution. In the interim between being asked to leave, and conflict mediation, contact between Thriftshopbandit and the person or persons asked to leave shall be through the Conflict Resolution Committee only.
Making a Complaint
Anybody can make a complaint to a member of the CRC. Oral complaints should be written down by the CRC member and reviewed by the person making the complaint with any changes incorporated. In the event that a CRC member is the person making the complaint or is on the receiving end of the complaint they cannot work on the resolution. In the event that the entire CRC is indicted the Core Volunteers take on the role of the CRC. In the event that the Core Sponsors are also indicted everyone is rounded up and shot.
Community members have every right to bring a complaint against a Thriftshopbandit Volunteer/Financial Sponsor for inappropriate conduct. Any Thriftshopbandit Volunteer/Financial Sponsor informed of such a complaint should forward any known information to the CRC, provide the a community member with a copy of this procedure and the sexual harassment policy when possible, and ideally have the community member speak directly to a CRC member.
For situations where there is no specific complaining party, but rather a series of inappropriate actions by a Thriftshopbandit volunteer/financial sponsor, a CRC member may bring a collective complaint against a Thriftshopbandit volunteer/financial sponsor. The collective complaint will be investigated and action taken in the same manner as other complaints. This action is especially appropriate in situations where a Thriftshopbandit volunteer repeatedly engages in less overt oppressive behavior.
Participation in any part of the conflict resolution procedure does not exempt a person taking legal action, or having legal action taken against them.
Article VII. Redistribution of Funds, Redistribution of Merchandise, Sharing of Space
Redistribution of Funds
All profits after payment of salaried employees, utilities, and rent as well as other costs incurred over time such as loans and equipment maintenance fees will be marked for redistribution to organisations, groups, and persons meeting Thriftshopbandits Criterion for organisations, groups, and persons we support.
Criterion for organisations, groups, and persons we support
We support those organisations fulfilling some part of our mission, vision, principles of respect or principles of unity. Organisations fulfilling some part of these while disregarding other parts will not be supported.
Redistribution of Merchandise
Organisations, groups, and persons we support can provide Thriftshopbandit with a list of items they desire. Items will be given as they are donated.
Sharing of Space
Thriftshopbandit and other organizations supported by Thriftshopbandit will be able to use the Thriftshopbandit space after store hours for meetings, socials, and other events. These events can be scheduled at any time, but priority is given to those who schedule earliest.