Josh Muir here from the bike church in Santa Cruz on conflict-

Primarily, the first step has got to be for the collective to discuss the behavior that's making folks feel uncomfortable.  communication can either create the clarity for people to adjust their behavior and their experience of the (offensive) behavior, or it can trigger what I think of as being the actual conflict.  People have a hard time delivering and receiving criticism.  With practice, groups that go through the process of sharing criticism and even experience the "conflict" process i think get better at it.  I have learned to let go of some amount of dread of conflicts, and have learned a lot about my own reactions in that situation.  When the strain is too much for the org. and attempts to discuss issues and establish goals for understanding and mutual trust only lead to dead-end or hurtful discussions, seek outside mediation.  generally the sooner the better cause collectives can get quite disrupted by such events.

despite our wealth of  of experience with interpersonal conflict within the collective, we are still not as prepared with a mediation/conflict resolution process as we could be (which I believe to be really important).  We had 3-year conflict during which time power was too concentrated and finally outside hired mediators gave a growing collective the clarity and strength to make hard choices (kick out an offending member who was carrying 75% of the collective work load).  More recently, conflicts have simmered and then exploded- the collective members offered whatever they were willing to share about the issue and set in motion steps for in -house and then outside mediation if needed- the result has been the departure of one of the parties  (in one case a core member who over-stepped his bounds left on his own(left town), and in another one party in a conflict left rather than go through processing with the group)

It is something that we all deal with- how to be diverse and get along- how to communicate without pushing buttons and how to not react to your buttons being pushed.  I have found that if people are encouraged to feel empowered and speak clearly to each other without imposing themselves, growth actually happens for those who stick it out (and i suppose, those who are invited to stick it out, because it is the collective's prerogative to decide who they're to work with) It is super stressful. it's important.
and how DO you decide if someone's a thief? or even harder, how do you feel empowered to make that decision and keep someone out of the shop, especially when your only one mechanic working one day/wk in a twelve member collective?

On Aug 24, 2007, at 1:24 PM, Graham Stewart wrote:

Two questions:  Why is panhandling a major problem?  How do you decide 
if someone is a bike thief?


Simon Z wrote:

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.

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Joshua Muir

Frances Cycles  --
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The Bicycle Church Collective
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3pm to 7pm everyday except Sunday
703 Pacific Ave  (enter on Spruce St)
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 425-2453