[TheThinkTank] dealing with volunteers who have been really offensive?

Simon Z youractionsdefineyou at gmail.com
Fri Aug 24 12:37:36 PDT 2007

I can't speak for everyone on our collective, but I've personally 
experienced a fair range of unacceptable behavior from our volunteers 
and shop users.

For collective members, we have an internal process written into our 
bylaws for discussion removal if all else fails - 
http://www.austinyellowbike.org/about_ybp.htm (see link at bottom of 
page, currently not functioning though...). The only problems I remember 
us dealing with are unfriendliness of shop coordinators and the resale 
of donated bikes and parts for personal profit.

The "policies" below are very informal as we haven't finalized our shop 

The minor problems I have experienced with volunteers are them 
mis-informing other shop users on aspects of bicycle maintenance, use of 
facilities without donating time or money in return or not finishing up 
personal bike repairs within shop hours and causing shop coordinator to 
stay late. In these cases, we let the volunteer know that there is a 
problem with their behavior and if it happens repeatedly, they are 
banned from the shop for a month (by collective consensus) and can only 
return if they come to the next collective meeting after the ban expires 
and promises not to repeat their problem behavior. If it still 
continues, they are banned indefinitely.

Another minor issue is the misuse of shop time by community service 
volunteers. We can't supervise them the whole time, so we let them know 
that we are a laid back place to do community service hours, better than 
most, but if they abuse that by not working we will not sign off on 
their hours at the end of the shop. This is quite effective.

The major problems I have seen are sexual harassment, threats of 
violence, panhandling, theft from the shop or use of the shop by known 
bike thieves. None of these behaviors are tolerated and shop 
coordinators are free to remove and ban indefinitely anyone doing this. 
We try to keep a photographic record of these offenders to display in 
our shops.

Yellow Bike Project, Austin, TX

rachael spiewak wrote:
> does any shop have a process for dealing with volunteers who have 
> stepped far over the line?  to the point that the volunteer had to 
> take a break from the shop?  and then the volunteer wanted to come back?
> let's say that this volunteer, although a very dependable one, makes 
> other shop participants feel so uncomfortable that they avoid coming 
> to the shop when they know that this volunteer will be there.
> how do you reconcile your politics with your feelings when that 
> volunteer personally wronged you repeatedly in and outside of the shop?
> two wheels good,
> rachael
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