submitted by Rebecca Tell, monthly worker-owner and author of the HWFC Community Survey on surveymonkey.com
You may have noticed that the survey linked from this site was changed on 11/3/15. The first version of the survey was closed (after gathering 109 responses in about 72 hours) and a revised version replaced it.
New info: Yes you CAN take the new survey even if you already completed the old one. Data from each will be analyzed separately. A question has been added to indicate if you did both, so your responses won’t be counted twice in cases where I integrate data from both.
Working with two versions of the survey is not ideal for data analysis, but it will not stop us from getting meaningful results, and I determined that it was important to make the changes after I was contacted by several members of the member petition group and had a phone conversation with worker-owner and attorney Kate Doyle.
The basic problem was that when I wrote the survey, I was operating on misinformation about the co-op’s legal situation. Based on earlier conversations with Board and By-Laws Task Force members, I believed that all shareholders could be at some personal financial risk due to the co-op’s standing under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and that continuing the MLP in the store would require us to advocate that existing law be changed or re-interpreted. I thought we should do just that, but doing so would require informed consent from members and shareholders, and so I asked questions to test how much support we had to keep the MLP in the store despite those assumed risks. After my discussion with Kate, however, I have been convinced that those assumptions are false, we are at risk only if we stop being governed by our worker-owners, and keeping my initial language in the survey was doing harm by giving credence to the inaccurate information and faulty arguments being advanced by the Board and LT. Kate’s point of view on our legal situation is here.
One more point. Some may notice that some questions about increasing the decision-making power of employees have been removed. This is not because anyone wants to silence or de-prioritize that issue – it remains very important. My conversation with Kate convinced me that the legalities of this are more complicated than I realized, and it would be better to consider it separately and later, at a time when we’re able to give it adequate consideration.
Thanks to everyone who has participated in either of these surveys. And if you haven’t, please do! The more people we hear from, the better our understanding will be. Watch for results to be published here soon!