Saturday, March 5, 2011

The WSM Employee Survey - Total Transparency?

We workers of Weaver Street Market Co-operative half-own our co-op. Our General Manager says so. We pay the bills with the sweat of our brow. And those bills include the WSM Employee Survey. So, the Survey is ours too.

A number of WSM workers seem to be having trouble getting some basic questions answered about OUR Survey. Like the cost. Like how much of the results we will actually get to see. And how close up. So, I wrote today to WSM's General Manager, Ruffin Slater:

"Dear Ruffin,

I would be grateful if I could have answers to the following questions. It seems that some in WSM have decided it is appropriate to stop answering my e-mails. I would remind them that such an approach is in breach of co-op policy on transparency, openness and accountability. In which regard, the Board still owes me a couple or more replies:

1) May I please know who exactly is conducting the 2011 WSM Employee Survey? May I have contact details for them, so that I and others may, in fact, confirm that they are independent of WSM, and that they are conducting the Survey independent of any inappropriate input from anyone connected with WSM?

In the absence of contact details, may I please receive a copy of a letter on their headed notepaper, confirming that they are conducting the Survey, and that they are doing so independent of any inappropriate input from anyone connected with WSM?

2) May I please know the entire cost of the Survey?

3) Would you please confirm that the results that will be shared with all employees will include unedited and complete answers to all of the numbered, multiple choice questions?

4) A suggestion has been made to me, and I think it should find favor with most employees. That is that, before any substantive discussion of the results takes place, a bound copy is placed in each major unit of WSM of the complete Survey. So that employees may be able to peruse the complete narratives submitted by employees.

By complete, I mean each and every completed Survey. So, about 220 employees x 4 pages. By each major unit, I would suggest Carrboro/Panzanella, Food House/Administration, Hillsborough and Southern Village. The copies to remain in the units in perpetuity. And to be available for easy access by employees, without the need to ask a manager.

The cost should be less than the cost of one worker-ownership. There should be no query raised about anonymity. If the Survey is 'anonymous' for your purposes, it should be just as 'anonymous' for ours. We are all equal in this co-op.

I think the reason for this suggestion is self-evident, and I would be grateful for your positive response. And to all of these questions.

All the best,