Thursday, May 21, 2015

WSM June Meetings, Co-op Strategy, and Worker Inclusion in Decision-Making

This post is aimed at every last Weaver Street Market Co-operative employee, who responded in the recent Employee Communications Survey, that they wanted to be included in decisions that affect them in their co-op. Whether at department level, store level, or co-op level. This somewhat involved post is for you.

In response to all of our efforts, aimed at the WSM powers-that-should-not-be, encouraging them actually to include we WSM workers in decisions that affect OUR co-op, we were told in our last employee Market Messenger that there would be meetings in June of this year, to allow us to discuss with said powers what we would like for goals, plans and budget for WSM.

Which is all fine and dandy. But this is not a gift. This is our right. I have been banging on for several years now (which may be why all this has now happened, who knows?) about a co-op policy that formally requires that WSM employees are included in all decision-making that affects them and our co-op.

You can discuss what you like at these June meetings. What I intend to do is wave at all the folks present copies of the policy details, and ask said powers when and how they intend formally to implement the policy, so that we are not included at their whim, but within the context of a formal process and structure, that allows us to be involved in decision-making all the time, every year, on a regular basis.

If you want to do the same (at these meetings, at unit meetings, at department meetings, basically whenever the opportunity arises, until such time as we have the formal process and structure), then it occurs to me you might want access to the documentation that evidences this co-op policy.

Before I direct you, I make this point, since there is co-op employee policy which forbids the dissemination of what the powers describe as 'internal documents.' There is not one document to which I refer you which is not openly available in every unit. None of the documents refers to anything that even a half-wit would describe as proprietorial commercial or financial information. It is documentation which evidences the right of WSM employees to be involved in the democratic structure of the co-op which the General Manager says they half own. As such, and in keeping with the requirement of our co-op that we be open and transparent, I challenge any assertion that these documents may not be given the widest publicity, in order to allow WSM employees fully to understand and enjoy their rights.

Phew. In a bloody co-op!

Right. The documents.

I attach photo's of each of them. Bottom line. There is a Board policy called Treatment of Staff. It can be found on Page 1 of every WSM Employee Policy Manual. This is the policy which states that we must be included in decision-making.

Next-up is a document evidencing the results of a consultation exercise, held in 2007, which details which decisions are covered by this policy. You can find the document on every unit computer's That would be the page which first comes up when you go onto the web. Look at the top tabs. Two tabs in = HR & Training. Click. Middle of page, document = 'Decisions that require staff input.'

Same page, one document up = 'Decision Process Steps.'

If none of this works for you, I have produced a pamphlet on Lulu self-publishing. It is here. You can read it online for FREE.

So. Fellow WSM co-workers. We've waited and waited. For years. To be able to make impact, make a difference in OUR co-op. The moment is here. Arm yourself with the knowledge. Have the documents ready. Go to the meetings. And ask the same question I will be asking: when and how are you going finally to implement this policy?

Over to you.

Oh. And I've written to Ruffin, to let him know we're coming ...