Saturday, March 5, 2011

Nothing To Fear But The Truth ...

There is much I could say about the Letter from the Board Chair of WSM to The Chapel Hill News in response to my Guest Column in the same newspaper. But, I have decided it would be better to allow the Board Chair to back up his inaccurate statements in front of an audience. So, I have issued two challenges:

"Dear Curt [WSM Board Chair],

I am writing to you in your capacity as Board Chair of Weaver Street Market Co-operative. I thought a bit about this. I still want the answer to my question about what authority you had, as Board Chair, to write (as the collective voice of the Board, without a Board Meeting) to The Chapel Hill News.

I do not believe that what you said in your Guest Column is consistent with what we employees were told in the Market Messenger, nor with the whole financial picture, nor do I believe that you answered any of the points that I raised in my Guest Column.

Moreover, I believe the actual facts rebut almost all that you say. However, the CHN is not a debating chamber for Weaver Street Market. So, I have written to them to offer you the two challenges I set out below. If you believe what you say, then present yourself to the community and the media, and allow your version and mine to be put to the test:

"Dear Editor,

What the Board Chair of Weaver Street Market Co-operative says in his Guest Column is not consistent with what we workers at WSM were told in our employee newsletter, and upon which I reported in my Guest Column. Nor does it answer any of the points that I raised in my Guest Column.

For example, the Board Chair makes no mention of WSM's crippling debt burden of $8 million, nor of the dividend warning that was issued to us workers. I know nothing of any 'recognition' by "Gourmet Retail" magazine. That would likely be because I am aware of no shopfloor worker who was allowed to speak to "Gourmet Retail" magazine.

Now, the CHN is not a debating chamber for Weaver Street. So, I offer these two challenges to the Board Chair of WSM:

1) I believe what I say. If you believe what you say, then stand by it in a public arena. Pick a meeting place or, say, a public affairs program on WCOM (Carrboro's community radio station), where the community and the media may ask questions. Present your version of the financial state of WSM. I will present mine. Then, let the community and the media choose which version to support.

2) If you believe that workers at WSM are generally happy with their lot, then publish the full results of the Employee Survey we were all asked to complete this last week.

No-one has anything to fear but the truth.

Yours faithfully,
Geoff Gilson
Weaver Street Market Worker-Owner"