Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bank Interest, New Stores and Workers

Well, I know I'm baying at the moon. But so what? Someone needs to bear witness.

At our Southern Village WSM store annual employee meeting a couple of weeks ago, in answer to my question, why are managers not complying with WSM co-op policy that demands that employees be involved in decision-making that affects them, we were told, bluntly, that we did not have the applicable skills to be involved in such decision-making. Rather, there were folks in our corporate office who had the necessary talents to make those decisions for us.

Those talented folks would be the same ones who, in 2008, put our co-op $10 million in debt to finance the Hillsborough store and the Food House. Who did so without asking owners, consumers or workers if they could do so. A debt which still stands at $5,459,112. And which cost us $1,363,031 in bank interest and depreciation this past financial year.

There is not a penny of this annual bank interest and depreciation charge which stays in our community. So, when you are told how much good our co-op does with the millions it keeps within our communities, please remember the millions of dollars that get sent out of our communities, to fat cat bankers, because of decisions made by our talented corporate office, without our inclusion, contrary to co-op policy.

This is precisely why the policy exists. We do not defeat the anti-social antics of corporate capitalism by marching on Wall Street. Or even by voting for Bernie Sanders. We do it at the local level. By ensuring that our very own co-op does not ape those antics. By demanding that it complies with its own co-op policy. So that we workers, the ones who sweat blood to raise that extra funding for bankers, we workers act as a brake on dumb, corporatist decisions made by those in our corporate office.

Is this really all that relevant? Yes. Why? Because we are about to go there, all over again. The WSM corporate office wants to build three new stores over the next six years. Without so much as holding a vote among the owners, consumers or workers of The Weave. Um. Are we truly going to stand by and let this happen all over again?