October 10, 2017

How to Form an Inside IWOC Branch or Local

Incarcerated members can either form locals or branches. A local has less requirements and is a common first step.

How to Form an Inside Local

  1. An inside IWOC Local may be chartered by the IWOC Steering Committee once 5+ IWW Members within a facility, state, or other regional boundary have shown evidence of collectivity through their work with an outside IWOC local, branch, or IWOC HQ.
  2. Inside IWOC locals should select a delegate for the Steering Committee from among their membership and identify a trusted outside liaison. The prospective inside local should work with their liaison and the IWOC Steering Committee to determine how the delegate will participate in Steering Committee work. Delegate applications are enclosed.
  3. Inside IWOC Locals shall strive toward becoming a chartered Industrial Union Branch (IU 613).


How to Form an IWW Industrial Union 613 Branch

To create an IWW branch in your prison, or cell block, you need to have:

  1. A completed branch application signed by a minimum of 10 committed IWW members. Two applications are provided.
  2. Bylaws. You can use the bylaws below as they are or you can change it to serve your needs. The bylaws are double spaced and you can note your changes between the lines or rewrite a fresh copy or whatever suits your needs. Two copies are provided so you can return one to us and keep one for yourselves.
  3. A short letter describing why you want to be a branch.
  4. A copy of notes from your founding meeting which describe democratically electing branch officers, who must be IWW members:
    1. At least one Delegate to sign up new members and do organizing. Two applications are provided.
    2. A Secretary to maintain membership and communication with IWOC
    3. A member to serve on the IWOC Steering Committee to bring branch proposals forward
  5. A completed delegate application with names of a minimum of 10 committed IWW members. Also include prison ID numbers so we can send mail to everyone.
  6. Contact info for a committed outside liaison to help your branch communicate with the steering committee. Let your branch know if none of your members have a friend or family member on the outside who can serve in this capacity.
  7. Send a copy of your delegate application, branch bylaws, and notes from your founding meeting to your local IWOC or to IWOC HQ, PO Box 414304, Kansas City, MO 64141
  8. Be ready to build a force for change within the prison system, run democratically by people in prison themselves

***IMPORTANT NOTE*** The 5 to 10 founding members of Locals and Branches inside prisons should not have charges or infractions related to sexual violence. We know that many are unjustly accused and we do embrace restorative processes, however the founding members of Locals and Branches should all be people who do not have these sorts of charges. This approach will be more successful behind bars and it also supports IWW culture and policies which strongly denounce sexual violence.

IWW GEB for Reviewing and Issuing Branch Charters

This is what is required from the IWW's General Executive Board (GEB) to Charter a new Branch. Given the unique conditions of people in prisons only items #1, #2, and #6 are necessary to charter a branch. #5 is in place to protect the organization in case of internal conflict.

1. Each application for charter shall include the name, card number, signature, and date signed by each member signing the application.

2. The body that is applying for a charter shall have convened a meeting and adopted by-laws, and elected the minimum required number of officers to fulfill the obligations under the IWW Constitution (Branch Secretary and Delegate(s)), and copies of the minutes shall be submitted with the charter application.

3. The bank name and account number, if any, shall be transmitted to GHQ within 60 days of opening any account when using the IWW Employer Identification Number (US only) that is used by GHQ.

4. All dues and monies owed to GHQ must be settled before any charter is granted, unless exempted by the GEB in accordance with the IWW Constitution.

5. The GEB reserves the right, upon issuance of a charter, to regulate the name of the body, and shall hold exclusive jurisdiction on the issuance of local numbers.

6. The petitioning members shall issue a letter to the GEB explaining the intent of the proposed organization.

7. GEB members shall have satisfied all above criteria before making a motion to approve a charter.

Related Resources

Branch Resource