Monday, September 14, 2015

Board Election Results

First things first. We haven't even had the voting period yet. And it's truly important that all worker-owners and consumer-owners understand that there is a dramatically shortened period for voting this year in the WSM Board Director Elections.

The voting period begins on September 16, and lasts only TWO WEEKS. So, when the ballot papers become available, pretty much you gotta vote like immediately, so as not to forget.

After the Election last year, I wrote to the WSM Elections Committee to ask them to consider providing more information about the Election results, to inform worker-owners about how many (or how few) worker-owners actually voted.

In years past, I have had too many worker-owners say something like, you don't need my vote, it won't make a difference, enough folks vote already. I wanted to prove or disprove the contentions with actual data. So, I wrote the following e-mail to the Committee:

"Hi WSM Elections Committee,

Just to remind you that I was told that you had been generally favorable to my request after the Worker-Owner Director Election last year that, henceforth, when announcing the Election results, in the Market Messenger and elsewhere, you would include the voting figures for each ballot box. Not by candidate. But in total for each ballot box.

You will remember that my reasoning, as the person who drafted most of the original Election Rules, was to continue the theme of transparency leading to greater engagement that had been set by the Elections Task Force in its findings in 2008. If folks who didn't vote knew how many (or how few) people did vote, then they might be more encouraged to vote next time. Trying to get past this feeling that there's no point in voting.

Could you also please confirm your formal agreement to my second request, namely that any worker-owner, upon request, be furnished with the overall votes cast for each candidate? For the same reasons. Transparency can only help to inform the electorate. I give you notice now that I will be making such a request.

All the best,

I have now been told that half of my requests were approved. And so the new Elections Manual reads as follows:

"In addition, the details of the Worker Owner election results will be posted in the break rooms the morning after the ballots have been counted. In addition, a link to a web page with details will be provided. Details will include the number and the percentage of valid ballots received by each candidate."

When reading those figures, bear in mind we now have about 220 worker-owners, out of a total of some 250 WSM employees. My thanks to the WSM Elections Committee.