Friday, January 17, 2014

Whining Works - But Not The Proposed New WSM Paycheck Scheme

This week, I submitted a formal complaint to the Weaver Street Market Co-operative management team, claiming that they are in breach of WSM Employee Co-op Policy with respect to certain specific decisions they have made, since management did not allow employees to participate in the making of those decisions, as WSM Employee Co-op Policy demands.

One of the decisions was the one made invalidly last year to do away with paper paychecks, and replace those checks with either direct deposit or some sort of paycheck debit card.

In advance of my formal complaint this week, I wrote a letter to Deborah Konneker, WSM's HR Manager, a week ago letting her know my formal complaint was on the way.

In response, she told me that she would immediately invite feedback from employees about the proposed new payment scheme. And she has done. In this week's WSM Employee Market Messenger.

I wrote to her to thank her for so doing. I also wrote telling her why I think the new payment scheme is not in the best interests of me and other WSM workers. I quote:

"Hey Deborah,

As I understand it, the proposed new WSM payment-of-my-wages scheme offers one of two options:

1) Direct Deposit. I do not want this. I tried it once. If and when my bank screws up, I am unable to stop my money going into that bank account in time. I want to be able to put my paycheck into whatever bank account I choose, when I choose. It is my money.

2) Pay Card. So, basically what you are saying is that my pay sits in someone else's bank account, and I get access to that bank account through a card. What bank? Whose bank account? Why are they earning interest on my money? Why are they earning loyalty with their bank but with my money? Are they FDIC guaranteed? If I take this card down to my bank on payday and say take it all out, will I have to pay a fee? And if so, why should I have to pay a fee to get access to the money I have already earned?

Here's my compromise: if this card is guaranteed by FDIC, if there is no trouble transferring all of my wages on it to my bank account on payday, and if I have to pay no charge, then I'll accept the card.

All the best,

My specific concerns about the payment scheme aside, the important point here is that, rather than doing nothing, or whining with others at the water cooler, I took advantage of the redress offered in the WSM Employee Policy Handbook, calmly made complaint that we workers had not been consulted as we should have been, and, lo and behold, we are now being consulted on one of the matters about which I complained.

It remains to be seen whether or not WSM management will do the same with respect to all of the decisions where management should be allowing workers to participate in determining the strategic direction of the co-op which we workers half-own.

[These are my own opinions.]