Saturday, March 15, 2014

WSM Board of Directors Election 2014 - My Candidacy

I have decided after a hiatus of three years to stand as a Worker-Owner Candidate in the elections for Board Director of Weaver Street Market Co-operative this coming Fall.

Some of you may have noticed that I had once again become quite active recently with my advocacy for employee and owner rights within our co-op.

The reason has been simple. For one reason or another, maybe our 20/20 Goals, maybe a new expansion, senior management within WSM have been making a lot of decisions in the past year. And they have been less than assiduous in including workers and owners in the decision-making process - as co-op policy demands.

Now, I know I don’t really need to remind you that the mission of any co-op is to meet the needs of its owners, and that it does this through democratic control of the co-op by its owners. The primary purpose of the Board of Directors, in my opinion, is to safeguard the right of owners (be they consumer-owners or worker-owners) to be included in strategic decision-making.

Bottom line. If you, as an owner or a worker, feel that you are not being included properly in the making of important strategic decisions, then the Board are not doing their job. And it is time for new Board members. That is why I will be standing.

As I say, some of you may have noticed that I have been using WSM Employee Policy to raise formal complaints about the exclusion of we regular employees from strategic decision-making.

I had a private discussion in the past week where these matters were raised. I promised to keep the substance of that meeting confidential. I am a man of my word. We may see changes. We may not. But as a consequence of that meeting, I became convinced of two things.

First, we need more Board Directors who understand what it means to be a co-op democratically controlled by its owners.

And secondly, that requires Board Directors who are prepared to stand toe-to-toe with senior management, look them straight in the eye, and demand that they abide by co-op policy, and allow owners democratically to control the co-op they own.

Again, that is why I am going to stand again for the Board this year. I can give you some sort of preview of what my Election Statement might look like right here.

The one point that is most important for me is that I will not be standing to pursue my own agenda. I will be standing to create the space to allow other workers and owners to have their voice heard.

Some Board Directors take the view that, once elected, they never need to ask workers or owners anything. More than once, I have heard the refrain, 'But we were elected to make those sorts of decisions.'

I don't agree. I believe the purpose of any election is to choose folks who will then take the time to lead the fullest discussion on the decisions that need to be made.

So. Please do not be the innocent bystander. Now, tomorrow, up to the election, through it and beyond, if you have an issue you want discussed, acted on, advanced, please do not hesitate to stop me and have a chat, or write to me at

This is not my co-op. It is not the Board's co-op. It is not the property of the WSM corporate office management team. It is a co-op which is owned by all of us. Equally. It is our co-op.