Friday, March 9, 2012

2012 WSM Corporate Office Progress Review

This is the time of the year when all employees of Weaver Street Market Co-operative are given a review of their progress to date. Pay reviews are in August. So, this is a half-way mark.

Since we are a co-operative, bound by values of equality, transparency and non-exploitation, I thought it would be interesting to conduct a review of our WSM corporate office management team.

Well, we're seemingly doing quite well on the financial front. But this is primarily due to the unflinching loyalty and hard work of ordinary workers.

Who, by the way, are asked by the WSM corporate office management team to achieve quite unwieldy sales increase targets (15% last year, 10% this year), with no explanation given as to why, no discussion as to whether or not they are necessary, no report as to where the money is going, and no extra staff or equipment offered to help with the increased work load. Hmm. F- on Math Skills.

Of course, we operate a Triple Bottom Line. Which means we're not supposed to be just about the money. We're also supposed to be about a Social Bottom Line and an Environmental Bottom Line.

The National Co-operative Grocers' Association talks about Social Bottom Line being the social impact on workers and consumers of a co-op's financial performance. WSM owners defined it more specifically in the Mission Statement they produced several years ago. That MS requires that worker and customer experiences be fulfilling. Hmm. Are they?

The WSM corporate office management team ignores all that and say that the Social Bottom Line is merely how much money the co-op puts back into the community. Ok. But, does that include the some $1.5 million in principal and interest we have to export out of the community each year, to pay back the $8 million we borrowed from out-of-community banks, to finance the failed expansion project of 2007/2008? Er. F- on Social Studies.

What about the Environmental Bottom Line? Well, our trucks no longer run on bio-diesel. We're still using non-recyclable plastic bags to transport all food from our Food House; bags we were told were temporary back in 2008. And, we fly in WSM brand logo sippy cups from China. What do you think? Me too. F- on Environment.


A) Johnny Corporate really does need to engage workers and owners in more meaningful conversation about the direction of our co-op, so that we truly feel that we have a say in our destiny within our co-op, which the International Co-operative Alliance states should be democratically controlled by its stakeholders.

2) Workers and owners need to be more engaged in our co-op, so that its direction and our destiny is controlled by us, and not be a self-appointed few in our corporate office, whom we allow to get away with controlling us, because we don't become engaged.

F- on Language and Communication Skills -- all round ...