Bus Riders Unite Organizational Structure

Bus Riders Unite Organizational Structure and Collaborative Vision

Statement of Bus Riders Unite Principles

Bus Riders Unite, a project of OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, is a membership organization launched in 2010 that represents transit-dependent people. Bus Riders Unite fights for environmentally sustainable public transportation in the Portland Metropolitan region, on the premise that affordable, efficient, accessible, and convenient mass transit is a human right.

Bus Riders Unite recognizes and values the diverse cultures, backgrounds, experiences, and abilities of our membership body. We seek to build a democratic, multi-lingual, multiracial, all-inclusive community-based organization. Our leadership and membership are committed to lifting up the voices of transit dependent people and people whose voices are not commonly heard.

Policies and Procedures of Bus Riders Unite

Section I. General Membership Criteria

  1. To be a member of Bus Riders Unite, the following criteria must be met:
    1. Log 15 or more volunteer hours within BRU annually (attendance at monthly BRU meetings does not count towards volunteer hours)

i.      Participate in BRU organizing efforts.

ii.      Participate in actions, attendance at TriMet board meetings, etc.

  1. Payment of membership dues (sliding scale with a minimum of $5 annually, family memberships available)
  2. Attendance at four BRU meetings within the year
  3. Commitment to supporting BRU principles

i.      All members are welcome to participate in BRU committees, meetings, and activities. All members are also asked to support and encourage the participation and leadership of transit dependent people and people in our society whose voices are generally excluded from decision-making.

Section II. Leadership Criteria

  1. To be eligible for nomination on the Leadership Committee of Bus Riders Unite, the following criteria must be met:
    1. Be a member in good standing (see Section I. General Membership Criteria)
    2. Must self-identify with one or more of the following criteria:
      1. Transit-dependent *necessary criteria
      2. Working class/low-income
      3. Person of color/multi-cultural
      4. Person with a disability/differently abled
      5. Sexual/gender minority
      6. Youth (age 13-21)
      7. Leadership Committee will have a minimumof five and a maximum of seven members
        1. Two seats on the Leadership Committee will be reserved for youth members

Section III. Leadership Committee Responsibilities and Terms

  1. The responsibilities of the Leadership Committee in relation to BRU include:
    1. Commitment to BRU Leadership principles

i.      Bus Riders Unite values the diverse cultures, backgrounds, experiences, and abilities of our members. We aim to build a democratic, multi-lingual, multiracial, all-inclusive, community-based organization. Our leaders are committed to lifting up the voices of transit dependent people and people whose voices are not commonly heard.

  1. Prepare agenda and run monthly BRU meeting

i.      Must meet at least a week before the monthly BRU meeting to prepare agenda.

ii.      Will receive agenda items from each committee in advance to review and allow time for at monthly meeting.

  1. Leadership Committee is empowered to decide when issues will be taken to vote by the general membership
  2. Annual evaluation of BRU effectiveness
  3. Membership retention

i.      BRU Leadership Committee members, along with personally being stewards of BRU and conducting activities which deepen their relationship with members, will solicit from the general membership volunteers to assist with membership retention activities, such as acting as greeters at the monthly meetings.

  1. Act as liaisons to committees

i.      Each member of the Leadership Committee must sit on another committee (Fundraising, Outreach, Budget, Policy & Campaign), but does not necessarily need to be the leader of that committee.

  1. Structure of the Leadership Committee
    1. The Leadership Committee will choose two chairs: Chair and Vice-Chair; one of two must be present at all Leadership Committee meetings; a Secretary role will also be chosen

i.      Within the group, will rotate on a regular basis, such as creating the monthly meeting agenda for the committee, offering a recap of the previous meeting, etc.

  1. Decisions within the Leadership Committee will be made by consensus
  2. All members of the Leadership Committee will have an equal say in decisions
  3. OPAL staff will support the Leadership Committee by providing administrative support
  4. TheLeadership Committee will be elected annually to serve one year terms, from January to November
    1. Leadership Committee members may only serve two consecutive one year terms
    2. If an elected member is unable to fulfill their duties, the runner-up in the election may serve the remainder of the term. In the event there is no runner-up,  a special election will be held or the remaining members of the Leadership Committee may choose a candidate from the general membership to finish out the term
    3. Nominations for the Leadership Committee will open at the October membership meeting and can be made in person or in writing at that time

i.      Members in good standing can self-nominate.

ii.      Nominees can campaign for their election.

iii.      A list of nominees, an autobiographical candidate’s statement, and a sample ballot will be available via the OPAL BRU Website and in the OPAL office to members in good standing following the October membership meeting in preparation for the November election.

  1. All members in good standing are eligible to vote for the Leadership Committee
  2. A majority of committee members must be in attendance for decisions within the committee to pass. In the case of an even number of Leadership Committee members, the quorum will be half + 1

Section IV. Committee Structure

BRU members voluntarily serve on committees. Committees are empowered to choose their own leaders. Leaders within committees are responsible for setting the agenda, taking notes, and facilitating discussion. Members of committees are expected to regularly attend committee meetings participate in committee actions, and take on roles and responsibilities within the committee. In general, it is expected that BRU members take on one leadership role at a time.

  1. Fundraising Committee
    1. Committee members must be a member in good standing (see Section I. General Membership Criteria)
    2. The Fundraising Committee will have a minimum of three members
    3. The Fundraising Committee will have the following responsibilities in relation to BRU:

i.      Fundraise for donations from members greater than the $5 annual dues and plan funding activities for BRU membership.

ii.      Closely work with OPAL staff to identify and solicit funds from external sources of support, e.g. grants, annual fundraiser, etc.

iii.      Encourage and generate discussion amongst BRU members on fiscal needs of the group and identify ways to fund them.

iv.      Create a funding plan and review to ensure progress toward short- and long-range funding goals.

  1. Leadership Training Committee
    1. Committee members must be a member in good standing (see Section I. General Membership Criteria)
    2. The Leadership Training Committee will have the following responsibilities in relation to BRU:

i.      Researching and providing training opportunities to BRU members, e.g. communications, documentation of BRU activities.

ii.      Organizing social events e.g. potlucks, walks and healthy activities.

  1. Outreach Committee
    1. Committee members must be a member in good standing (see Section I. General Membership Criteria)
    2. The Outreach Committee will have a minimum of three members
    3. The Outreach Committee will have the following responsibilities in relation to BRU:

i.      Representation of BRU at other groups/coalitions.

ii.      Ally building.

iii.      Work closely with OPAL organizing staff on organizing activities, including, but not limited to: phone banking, canvassing, bus organizing, one-on-one visits with potential members, etc.

  1. Research and Advisory Committee
    1. Committee members must be a member in good standing (see Section I. General Membership Criteria)
    2. The Research and Advisory Committee will have the following responsibilities in relation to BRU:

i.      Analyze TriMet’s budget and policies in relation to campaigns and focus areas as identified by BRU membership.

Section V. Decision-Making Process within Bus Riders Unite

1. Committees meet outside of monthly BRU meetings, set their own work plans, and propose agenda items for the monthly BRU meeting

  1. Agenda items must be submitted to the Leadership Committee at least a week in advance of the monthly meeting for feedback and review. The Leadership Committee will make any necessary recommendations and send it back to the Committee for presentation at the monthly BRU meeting
  2. Committee selects representative to present at the monthly BRU meeting to the general membership, at which time, if necessary, the membership will take action via a democratic process
    1. Refer to Bus Riders Unite: A Consensus Decision Making Guide

Section VI. Becoming an ally to Bus Riders Unite

1. Bus Riders Unite members have established membership and leadership criteria so that people whose lives are affected by transit injustice will be directly involved in BRU’s decision-making. Individuals who cannot commit the time to be full members of BRU are welcome to participate in BRU actions and activities. We believe that to achieve the power to make change for transit justice, we need support from many places and many allies. We invite people who may not be directly affected by transit injustice to become supporters of Bus Riders Unite and encourage you to offer your knowledge, skills, and financial support.

Presented to Bus Riders Unite general membership on May 13, 2013 at the membership meeting. Adopted on June 18, 2013 at the membership meeting. Spanish version of the document is available upon request.

Become a member of Bus Riders Unite: fit the above stated criteria for membership? Want to get on board with the first wave of Bus Riders Unite? Attend a membership meeting and pay your dues at that time.

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