submitted by Rebecca Tell, worker owner
a print-friendly version of this FAQ is here: Special Membership Meeting FAQ
What will happen at the SMM? Members will vote on:
- Whether to keep or remove each current member of the Board of Directors. If 75% of those voting vote to remove, that member will be removed.
- Election of new candidates for any vacant positions.
- Approval or disapproval of the decision to end Member Labor on the floor of the store
- Whether or not a finding of no confidence against the Leadership Team is called for, and
- Whether or not to ask to Board to consider a new management structure.
Why do you want to remove Board members?
The current board is made up of good people who have been working hard for the coop, but they have allowed us to go down a very wrong path. We have been taking too much advice from CDS Consulting, a national organization that has guided many other coops through ending their Member Labor programs and consolidating power for boards and management instead of members. We need to turn around and choose a different path.
Wouldn’t the changes you want put the store into turmoil?
No. We have a strong set of smart candidates ready to take on the work of the Board in service of the Members, including (so far) attorneys, former board members, and past and present staff as well as dedicated member-owners with a wide array of relevant work experience. All candidates are committed to stability for the store, and protecting the jobs of current employees. Any changes made will be made thoughtfully and taking the big picture into account. We can elect board members who will work to keep what is good about HWFC, including the Member Labor Program as we know and love it. You can see candidate statements in the store or at: http://www.honestweight.coop/page/board-91.html
But what about the legal risks around Member Labor?
Please see the explanation provided by attorney and member-owner Kate Doyle: https://hwfcinfohub.wordpress.com/2015/11/03/critical-legal-information/
As long as the coop remains truly governed by its working member owners, there is very little reason to believe that minimum wage law would be found to apply to us. By contrast, if we move to shareholder voting as proposed by current leadership, minimum wage law would apply.
If I’m a Shareholder, should I care? Can I do anything?
Yes! Right now, the only thing standing between you and full worker-owner status is a few hours’ work or participation in governance activities. And the strengths a truly democratic, member-run coop offers our community are here for all of us. We hope you’ll agree those things are worth fighting to keep. It’s too late to become a voting member before the SMM, but there will be more work to do in the months to come, and everyone can help spread the word.
Okay, when is this meeting? Where?
Monday, November 30, at 6pm. St. Sophia Church, 440 Whitehall Road, Albany. Meet the Candidates beforehand at 4:30pm. Another Meet the Candidates event is planned at the coop on Sunday 11/29, 1-3pm.