Tuesday, September 8, 2009

[Weaver Street Board Elections 2009] "Where Is My Vote?"

What follows is the English version of my election message to all workers in the Weaver Street Market Co-operative regarding my candidacy in the Worker Director Election 2009:

"Each and every one of us workers in Weaver Street Market and Panzanella has made sacrifices this past year for our co-op. This means that each and every one of us workers has earned the right to be heard in our co-op by those making the big decisions – those who have asked us to make the sacrifices.

Why? Well, partly because co-operatives are supposed to be democratic. But also because it makes good business sense.

We all want to improve quality and sales so that we can get back into profit. And who knows our customers and our processes better than we workers who are on the front lines of quality control and customer service?

However, time and again this past year, those making the big decisions have decided not to ask us workers – the in-house experts. Instead they have chosen to spend thousands and thousands of our dollars asking over-priced outside consultants.

Thousands and thousands of our dollars, which were then not available to pay our dividends, our regular pay, or our pay raises. In fact, if we had used one less consultant, we would have saved enough money to give each and every one of us workers a 50-cent per hour pay raise.

The one opportunity left to us workers truly to affect the outcome of the big decisions in our worker co-op is in the Annual Election of a Worker Director to the Board of Directors of Weaver Street Market Co-operative. This Election now.

Yet only those of us workers who can afford to pay $500 to become a worker-owner get the right to vote. Get the right to be heard in our democratic worker co-op. Is that right?

Especially in a year when it’s been difficult for some of us workers to find $500. In a year when most of us have had to sacrifice as much as 10% of our pay, along with any pay raise.

I want all of us workers to have the right each year to vote for our Worker Director. Not just worker-owners. I want all of us workers to have the right to be heard in our worker co-op. And I want all of us workers to have the right to be involved in making the big decisions that are affecting our future.

I have spent a lifetime helping to empower people as a social advocate and community builder. I hosted a progressive talk show on our local community radio, WCOM 103.5 FM, and helped out on its Development Committee.

I campaigned during the last US Presidential Election, and in the transition period afterwards, on behalf of a national poverty relief program (FOCUS on Poverty) that was developed in association with my radio show.

I was a member of our co-op’s Elections Task Force last year, when I put forward a number of proposals designed to give all workers and owners more democratic control over the big decisions that are being made in our co-op.

I believe passionately that if workers and owners have on the Board of Directors an advocate who is dedicated to ensuring that we (and not they) have the deciding vote on all the important issues facing us, then we will survive these troubled times and we will become a better business and a better co-operative as a consequence.

You can find out more about our becoming a better business and co-operative on http://www.weaverstreetgeoff.blogspot.com or on my Facebook and MySpace pages. You can also learn a bit more about me – beyond knowing I’m the English-American bloke that works on the Hot Bar in Southern Village.

Mind you, this Election is not really about the candidates. It’s about you. Finding out what you think, what you want. If I don’t get a chance to see you first, please feel free to share with me by dropping me a line at: geoffgilson@hotmail.com."