Monday, March 23, 2015

Worker Questionnaire A Success (So Far)

The Weaver Street Market Co-operative online questionnaire for employees, inviting our views on how we WSM workers would like to be involved in future decision-making has (so far) been a huge success.

As of early yesterday morning, some 160 employees (out of about 250) had completed the questionnaire. And fellow workers were still avidly tapping away at computers as the Southern Village store closed at 10.00pm.

A couple of comments:-

1) Wow. And well done. Finally, we've had some demonstrable worker democracy in our worker-consumer co-op. And you took part.

2) You can support another potentially powerful aspect of worker democracy by becoming a worker-owner (just over 200 so far), standing as a candidate in the Worker-Owner Director Election (call for candidates is out now, and you're as qualified as anyone else), and/or voting in that Election (the voting period for which, please note, is two weeks in September, as opposed to the usual two months). Now, don't be saying voting doesn't make any difference. You don't know until you try. And, according to the 2014 turnout figures (only 74 worker-owners voted), not enough of us has tried yet.

3) Back to the questionnaire, this is only the first step. We want to see what everyone said. We want at least a full summary of the suggestions (not names) made available publicly to all of us. And we want the opportunity then to discuss and to choose. So. Don't let up. Chase your managers to allow us to continue to be fully involved in this decision-making process. We didn't complete the questionnaire just so that managers could decide behind closed doors which suggestions to implement.

4) As previously stated, I very deliberately did not complete the questionnaire. There are a lot of folks who have worked very hard to make this questionnaire process occur. I was one. Campaigning for more than two years, specifically for WSM management to comply with co-op policy which requires that WSM employees be included in the decision-making that affects them. I helped to create this little democratic space. I didn't want to hog it. Besides, I've been campaigning for more worker democracy and inclusion in WSM for nearly ten years now. It's one of the reasons it was made easier to become a worker-owner three years ago. I've got some 360 posts on my blog, sharing all sorts of ideas as to how we can make WSM more democratic, more worker inclusive and more successful. It's not like I'm keeping my thoughts a secret!

5) Quickly harking back to (3), there was a glitch in the WSM employee Market Messenger. It said that the closing date for completion of the questionnaire was Sunday, March 23. Yesterday was March 22, not 23. If you missed the opportunity, do not fret. One more reason to chase managers to ensure we are fully engaged in the remainder of the process. So everyone has a chance to contribute, and everyone gets to be meaningfully included in the decision-making.

6) Thank you. Why? Because now, at last, managers can see that it is not just a handful asking for worker democracy and inclusion. It is all of us.