I just wanted to say that your questions and comments here resonate for us at Troy Bike Rescue - also a long-time all-volunteer shop. We recently went through a pretty trying situation in which a long-time member was finally held accountable by fellow members after months of nothing being said and other collective members feeling disrespected or ceasing to participate as a result (or things were only being said in smaller/private groups). We do have a conflict resolution clause to our bylaws, and we did have professional mediation on deck in the case that it would be necessary or useful - but either of those only work with full cooperation from all parties.... and before that if grievances are actually voiced and then actually *heard* by the offending party.
In the end the member was asked to leave the collective and was banned from the space until they agreed to participate in mediation. We are re-grouping, getting shit done, and hopeful for a fresh re-start as springtime rolls around.
What you bring up is a really tough and important area of discussion, but I dont think we have the answer. We dont feel like our dealing with it was in any way exemplary, though our core group feels like a lot was learned, and we will certainly be on guard for red flags in the future..... but could things have been less painful and less drawn-out had something been different on an organizational level? probably?
Andrew Troy Bike Rescue
On Mon, Jan 12, 2015 at 3:28 PM, momoko saunders firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Accountability is a struggle for Bike Farm. As an all volunteer run organization, it's difficult to chastise undesirable behaviour. Not only is it hard to tell someone who is volunteering their time that they did not do something right, but the negative feedback is not the kind of environment we're trying to create.
Still, what happens when someone messes up. To say nothing is nearly as detrimental. It erodes the quality of the service we provide, and can lead to an unsafe working environment.
What do other collectives do? Do you have a accountability agreement? Something along the lines of, "by volunteering here, I want to be held accountable to the group in these ways..." or a grievance procedure?
How do you communicate about your issues? any feed back would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers, -Momoko ____________________________________
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