SEC. 1. The name of this organization shall be Greater Boston Tenants Union, hereinafter known as GBTU. 

SEC. 2. The Principles of Unity, including any modifications thereof, govern GBTU. If any conflict between these Bylaws and the Principles of Unity occurs, then the Principles of Unity will supersede these Bylaws. 



SEC. 1. A “tenant” is anyone who does not control their own housing including but not limited to renters, boarders, houseless people, and incarcerated people. 

SEC. 2. A “landlord” is anyone who derives any rental income from their landholdings. 

SEC. 3. The “General Membership” is the most powerful decision making body of GBTU as described in Article 3. 

SEC. 4. “Greater Boston” refers to the metro Boston area which includes Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, Randolph, and so on, including each of the surrounding communities as defined by the General Membership. 

SEC. 5. The “Administrative Coordinators” are the democratically elected leaders who manage the  day-to-day responsibilities of GBTU as described in Article 6. 

SEC. 6. The “Greater Boston Tenants Union” is a collective of tenants across the Boston area who have chosen to remain independent of nonprofits, big foundations, and government funding in order to build power that is responsive to and led by tenants. 

SEC. 7. A “General Meeting” is a monthly meeting of GBTU where the membership conducts business as described in Article 8. 

SEC. 8. “Locals” and “local meetings” are defined in Article 9.



SEC. 1. Membership in GBTU is open to any tenant within Greater Boston who pays dues – as defined in Article 7 – to GBTU unless they are also a landlord. Non-landlord homeowners can take part in GBTU as non-voting members that organize in supportive roles, but cannot vote as per Section 2 below. 

SEC. 2. Non-voting membership is composed of non-tenants (and non-landlords) who own their own homes, including equity holders in limited-equity cooperatives, but who align themselves with the tenants’ movement. 

SEC. 3. No tenant shall be excluded from GBTU because of race, ethnicity, gender identity, nationality, creed, disability, sexual orientation, or any other criterion other than overt action that is harmful, pursuant to Article 11,  or otherwise adjudged to be inconsistent with the goals and principles of GBTU by the general membership

SEC. 4. Any person who works in property management, is a landlord as defined in Article 2, or works in or with law enforcement is prohibited from joining GBTU, attending meetings, or otherwise organizing with GTBU, or any affiliated locals, tenant associations or unions. 



SEC. 1. Voting by the general membership shall be conducted by convenient confidential communication means as defined by the Administrative Coordinators and shall require a quorum as defined in Article 5.

SEC. 2. A vote by the general membership shall supersede any decision made by the Administrative Coordinators if the two conflict. 

SEC. 3. Only dues-paying members pursuant to Article 3, Section 1 may vote.

SEC. 4. A vote is called when the majority of attendees at a General Meetings suggest that said issue go to a vote.

SEC. 5. A vote shall be conducted in the following manner: 

  1. The issue shall be publicized via Whatsapp chat immediately after the meeting where it was decided that the issue would go to a vote;
  2. The vote shall remain open for 2 weeks;
  3. The vote shall be conducted through an easily accessible electronic means such as email;
  4. If a vote is a binary (e.g. “yes” versus “no”) then a simple majority will govern;
  5. If a vote requires multiple choices (e.g. options “a,” “b,” “c,” or “d”), then ranked choice voting will govern. 



SEC. 1. A quorum for a vote is reached when 15% of the membership have voted except for the following circumstances: 

  1. To support a rent strike, a simple majority of those present at a General Meeting is required. 
  2. To amend bylaws, a quorum of 30% of the General Membership is required for a vote. A simple majority of this vote is required to approve the amendment.
  3. To amend the principles of unity, a quorum of 50% of the General Membership is required for a vote. A simple majority of this vote is required to approve the amendment.



SEC. 1. The role of leadership positions in GBTU are not political but administrative. Thus, these Administrative Coordinators are not political decision-makers, but are tasked with ensuring that the organization runs smoothly. All positions are subject to recall at any time. GBTU-wide positions (SEC. 3.) can be recalled by 4 members petitioning to do so at a general meeting. Local chapter positions (SEC. 4.) are subject to recall by their local chapter at any time. 

SEC. 2. All leadership positions must be filled by persons who are GBTU members. Voting members are preferred, but non-voting members may be eligible for these positions. Positions will be filled through a democratic process once a year except in case of a leader leaving their position, in which case a special election may be called at the next general meeting. 

SEC. 3. Union-wide Administrative Coordinators. GBTU shall have the following union-wide positions. 

  1. Onboarding Committee Coordinator (2 positions): Facilitates and maintains the infrastructure for the onboarding committee. This includes: procurement of committee meeting space, ensuring that general membership are aware of onboarding, maintaining access to onboarding materials (slideshows, membership rosters, etc).
  2. Organizing Committee Coordinator (2 positions): Facilitates and maintains the infrastructure for the tenant organizing committee. This includes: procurement of committee meeting space, ensuring that general membership are aware of organizing committee meetings, maintaining access to tenant organizing materials (notes, tenant organizing training materials, etc). 
  3. Graphics coordinators (2 positions): Graphics coordinators will produce graphics as needed to advertise meetings, events, and assist in tenant organizing. Graphics coordinators need not be the sole creators of graphics, flyers, posters, etc but are the primary contacts for these needs. 
  4. Communications coordinators (2 positions): Communications coordinators are tasked with maintaining the GTBU calendar and website, sending a GBTU newsletter email, and running social media accounts.
  5. Treasurer (1 position): Treasurers are tasked with maintaining GBTU dues, providing a short financial report to the general membership meetings or at the request of any member, reimbursing GBTU members for essential expenses, and paying any invoices. 

SEC. 4. Local Stewards. Each GBTU local must have at least the following positions. Local chapters can select and reselect stewards at will. Term limits are set at 6 months. 

  1. Tenant Organizing Steward (1 position per local): Tenant Organizing Stewards are key for ensuring that organizing projects do not get siloed into local chapters. Duties include: (a) reporting and coordinating local organizing projects with the Organizing Committee, (b) looking for places of collaboration between locals (for example, building tenant councils), (c) providing organizer training sessions to GBTU members in locals, (d) making changes to the organizer training process in the Organizing Committee. (e) Stewards bring discussions back to locals from General Meetings and will try to represent the interests of those who aren’t at General Meetings. Stewards may choose to delegate these functions. 
  2. Onboarding Steward (1 position per local): Onboarding Stewards are key for ensuring that GBTU members are knowledgeable about the tenant union. Duties include: (a) giving new chapter members an onboarding process, (b) collectively updating onboarding materials and processes within the onboarding committee. (c) Onboarding stewards shall provide information on skills and capacities collected during onboarding. Onboarding stewards must notify organizing committee coordinators of accessibility needs, such as translation and childcare. 



SEC. 1. GBTU is a dues-funded organization which is critical to our independence and autonomy. As such, GBTU membership requires monthly dues payments, which are $5 per month. Members who have low incomes are entitled to pay less, with a minimum of $1 per month, and members who have high incomes are entitled to pay more, with a maximum of $25 per month.

SEC. 2. Non-voting members (homeowners) may voluntarily pay dues to GBTU but may not vote in any GBTU matters. 

SEC. 3. Dues may be spent on any expense directly related to building tenant unions or strengthening their power. This can include but is not limited to: procuring food, arranging transport, acquiring an interpreter, paying for printing costs.

SEC. 4. Any expense below $100 can be directly reimbursed by the treasurer, at their discretion. Above $100, expenditures must be brought to a GM and receive a two-thirds majority. If the expenditure is urgent, this vote can be conducted via email, and requires quorum and a two-thirds majority.

SEC. 5. Reimbursement requires evidence of purchase – typically receipts or bank statements at the discretion of the treasurer. To reduce administrative burden, reimbursements will be sent to the account which the requesting member uses to pay dues.



SEC. 1. General Meetings will be held monthly if practicable and provide the primary forum for discussion and conduct of GBTU business. 

SEC. 2. The General Membership or the Administrative Coordinators may convoke emergency meetings. 

  1. The General Membership may convoke an emergency meeting when 15% of the General Membership so demands said meeting and expresses said demand to the Administrative Coordinators. The Administrative Coordinators will then notify the General Membership by electronic means of the date, time, and place of the emergency meeting.
  2. The Administrative Coordinators may convoke an emergency meeting by a majority vote of the Administrative Coordinators. The Administrative Coordinators must provide the General Membership with 48 hours notice of the emergency meeting.

SEC. 3. Organizing committee meetings are also held monthly. The organizing committee meeting will be dedicated to the responsibilities of the organizing committee outlined in Article 6.



SEC. 1. GBTU members may form locals to facilitate tenant organizing, outreach, and growth of GBTU as a whole. Locals have a large mandate to organize, outreach, plan events, and take on projects so long as they conform to the GBTU Principles of Unity. 

  1. A local is a group of GBTU members that meets on the basis of neighborhood or region. GBTU locals must institute regular meetings at one time per month. 
  2. The function of locals are to (a) recruit new members through events of their choosing, (b) to build and sustain new organizing projects, (c) to help defend local tenants, and (d) make all decisions relevant to their local context. Locals can not make endorsements of long-term campaigns outside of GBTU, or of political candidates.

SEC. 2. Local formation: GBTU members who reside in an area where there is not currently a local are encouraged to identify 3 neighboring GBTU members, or to recruit 3 of their neighbors to become GBTU members, and notify the organization at a General Meeting of their plan to form a Local. The initial 4 members must be eligible for voting membership.

SEC. 3. Decisions: Locals may make decisions according to a collectively chosen method. Non-voting GBTU members, or tenants who are not GBTU members, may not participate in local decisions. 



SEC. 1. GBTU is committed to building an independent, tenant-run organization that takes its leadership from the most marginalized tenants of our city. Accordingly, we aim to build a community that upholds and protects the safety, mental health, and physical health of our members, as well as our organizational cohesion through honest, strategic, anti-capitalist, anti-racist and anti-law enforcement dialogue.

SEC. 2. We understand that solutions to conflict including the carceral state – i.e, calling the cops – is antithetical to our class and should never be deployed.

SEC. 3. We will endeavor to prioritize building consensus, as well as avoid schemes and maneuvers that undermine our comrades’ ability to properly debate their ideas and thus impair the political development of our organizers.

SEC. 4. In GBTU meetings, state your point and then make room for others to share as well. If you are speaking a lot, move back and listen. If you aren’t speaking a lot, move up and share if you feel comfortable.

  1. Hold each other accountable and assume good intentions
  2. We strive to make our work fully accessible to all people (who align with our principles of unity)
  3. In meetings and full group discussion:
    1. Raise hand to be called on by facilitators before speaking
    2. Progressive stack: Facilitators will call on people in order based on who has spoken more or less and historic/present marginalization
    3. Trust the facilitators to keep us moving through agenda – they are empowered to lovingly cut people off or re-direct

SEC. 5. Online communications via group chats and direct messages.

  1. As ever, assume good faith in all the GBTU members or other tenants with whom you are messaging.
  2. Be mindful of other tenants in online communication channels
    1. Unless you deem it necessary, do not send messages to large group chats late at night or early in the morning.
    2. Do not post in a repetitive manner in large group chats
  3. Where a GBTU member receives, or becomes aware of, an online message that they feel is harmful, they should proceed with conflict resolution processes pursuant to Article 11 below.

SEC. 6. All GBTU members in organizing spaces (e.g. general meetings, local meetings, building meetings, eviction defense canvasses) must be sober so as to be wholly committed to the task at hand. If a member is intoxicated (i.e. under the influence of any recreational drug that impairs judgment including cannabis and alcohol), the meeting facilitator or main organizer of the space is encouraged to, at their discretion, remind the member of this norm. If a member repeatedly comes to organizing spaces while intoxicated despite reminders, the CCA (outlined in Article 11) may be contacted to determine an appropriate course of action.



SEC. 1. The conflict resolution process discussed below, and all other items discussed under the article heading, shall be in full force and effect from [effective date] until either superseding bylaws are adopted or one year has passed, whichever is sooner. 


SEC. 2. The health of our community is essential to our union and that means dealing with conflict and harms. GBTU will maintain a community care and accountability (CCA) committee of 3-5 elected members who are charged with acting as mediators in conflict resolution situations.

SEC. 3. In the event that a serious conflict or actions causing harm arises, a GBTU member should contact a member of the CCA to inform them. Rather than enumerate a list of harms, we leave it to the GBTU member who contacts CCA to determine whether harm has occurred.

SEC. 4. CCA members are elected for a 6 month term. At least 3 members must be elected to the CCA.

SEC. 5. CCA members will act as mediators and facilitate conversations with members or non-members involved in the conflict in order to

  1. Gain information about what has occurred
  2. Provide support to members or non-members who have been harmed
  3. Identify what recourse would be most reparative to those affected
  4. Facilitate conversations to take this recourse where feasible

Where feasible, either those harmed or those who have caused harm should be able to include one GBTU member of their choice as support.

SEC. 6. If harms are deemed to be sufficiently serious, CCA members are empowered to enact responses up to and including:

  1. Restricting participation in organizing to specific tasks or geographic regions
  2. Asking a member to reduce their participation, or stop participating for a specified length of time.
  3. Revocation of GBTU membership