IWW Structure, Administration, and Decision Making


The referendum is the highest decision making body in the IWW and occurs once a year. All members in good standing have an equal vote in all referendum items. Changes and additions to the constitution can only be made through referendum an the majority of union officers are also elected at this time. Items are included if they are approved at convention, initiated by the General Executive Board (GEB), or petitioned by 5% of members in good standing.


The convention is the second highest decision making body in the IWW, is held annually, and can be considered it’s legislative body. Convention has the power to determine union policy and yearly reports from officers and committees as well as nominations for committee and officer positions up for election occur at this time. Convention Delegates, or representatives of branches, are elected annually, are mandated with accurately representing that branch’s vote on agenda items, and the amount of delegates each branch sends to conventions determined by its membership numbers.


The GST is the chief administrative officer of the IWW. Nominations for GST take place during convention and the GST is elected by referendum. Above all, the GST is a treasurer and maintains the IWW’s financial records and provides monthly reports on the union’s finances to the membership. The GST is also in charge of all official communications to and from the GHQ including official notices, the GOB, referendum ballots, and other organization business.


The GEB is the chief coordinating body of the IWW, as well as the third highest decision making body of the union, and it maintains general supervision over all affairs of the IWW between conventions. The GEB consists of seven members who are nominated during convention and elected by referendum. The GEB is tasked with issuing charters to IWW bodies, guiding IWW publications, regularly checking in on and aiding branches with their organizing, and aiding the GST when requested.


Above all, the Organizing Department serves to directly aid workplace campaigns and lead union-wide discussions on strategic organizing targets and lessons which can be learned from past campaigns.The Organizing Department consists of three separate but related bodies:

  1. The Organizing Department Board (ODB), which is tasked with oversight and facilitation of the operations and finances the OD
  2. The Survey and Research Committee (SRC), which is tasked with developing analyses of organizing strategies and tactics and aiding local campaign research, and
  3. The Organizer Training Committee (OTC), which is tasked with developing and facilitating trainings on organizing techniques and strategies.

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