Thursday, June 18, 2015

Worker Co-op Plan Events

First of all, thanks. Then, the caveat. Thank you Weaver Street Market​ Co-operative powers-that-should-not-be for finally, after some years of campaigning by some of us, finally offering WSM workers what appears, on the face of it, to be a genuine opportunity to be involved in forward planning of the co-op we half own.

In this week's WSM employee Market Messenger, you will find the announcement that we workers are being invited to take part in a series of sessions in July, where the plans and budget for WSM next year will be discussed.

Now, the caveat. For those of you who are interested in being so involved, be very, very careful not to be sidetracked by the manner of the presentation, so that you leave feeling that you were 'handled,' not involved.

The sessions are limited to 25 people each. They last only 1 1/4 hours each. There is a lot of talk about food tasting, meeting people, etc. Is this part of the 1 1/4 hours? You know how these sorts of sessions are normally run. We get coddled, fed, given a raffle ticket, listen to Ruffin for an hour. And then, just when we are ready to offer our pent-up thoughts about the past ten years of our co-op turning into Wal-Mart Lite, we are told, sorry, Q&A is only ten minutes.

Don't let that happen. These are OUR sessions. Management is not doing us a favor by holding them. They are OUR right. They are being held because co-op policy demands we workers be involved in ALL decisions that affect us and our workplace. You can find the proof of that assertion in this link.

So. If you actually want to take meaningful advantage of the opportunity to be involved in decision-making going forward, use these sessions to ask for the answer to one very important question: what are WSM management going to do to implement the co-op policy referred to in that link, the co-op policy which requires that WSM employees be involved in all decision-making that affects us and our workplace - and when?

You don't have to ask that question. Up to you. But, I fear that, if enough of us do not ask, then WSM management will pretend that these glorified meet 'n greet sessions will meet the requirement to involve we workers in decision-making, and that will be that for a long time to come.

Do I overstate the case? Ok. Leave aside the 1 1/4 hours. And all the food and meet distraction. Look at the wording. We will be present to 'learn' about co-op opportunities. To give 'input' to business plans. To 'discuss' budget.

Just stop. Step back. Take a deep breath. Whose opportunities? Who came up with these initiatives? These plans? Who made the decisions crafting the budget? The size of pay raises? The amount set aside for capital plans? I mean, when exactly were any of we workers involved in any decisions that led to all of the stuff that will be laid before us as a tantalizing buffet at these sessions in July?

My very good friends. I welcome even the smallest opportunity to be allowed to be involved in planning the future of OUR co-op. But it will be only a very small opportunity, no more, if we simply accept what we are given, and do not stand on our rights.


1) Question why we were not involved in the decision-making that led to all of these plans, opportunities, initiatives and budget. Ask if anything is set in stone. And if it is, why is it? Make your own suggestions. Demand that we receive feedback, indicating that our input has been taken into account. Demand reporting on such at the unit meetings to be held later this year.

2) Demand that this be a process. Not a one-off. Demand that we have the same meetings next year. And that, next year, we be involved in the crafting of all of the plans, initiatives, opportunities and budget, before they are presented to anyone.

3) Ask that important question. Take copies of my documents with you. Ask how and when WSM management will be implementing the co-op policy that demands that we WSM employees be involved in all decision-making that affects us and our workplace.

Or. You can enjoy the food. Meet people. Stay quiet. And accept the continuing diktat from the powers-that-should-not-be in the co-op you half-own. Your choice. You've been given an opportunity. Why not use it?