You might assume that the annual meeting of River Valley Co-op would be a good place to exchange views, information, and concerns with other co-op owners. Well, not if management and the board don’t like what you have to say.
ItsOurCoop.org (IOC) members Laura MacKay, Tim McNerney, and Mark Heitman attended the 12-1-2017 meeting, held at the Boylston Rooms in Easthampton, handing out flyers beforehand. The flyers said a bunch of good things about the co-op, touched on concerns about worker treatment and working conditions, and invited people to visit our website (the text was taken almost word-for-word from the About page on this website).
We soon realized that a co-op manager or two were outside directing owners away from the large, well-lit main entrance where we were stationed to a crappy side door, clearly in order to prevent them from encountering us. So much for democracy.
We split up to cover both entrances and managed to hand out quite a few flyers anyway.
In the midst of this, as one of us stood alone in the main entrance to catch anyone who made it in that way, a board member came up to formally introduce herself with a big smile before going back into the meeting room.
It’s very sad to see management and the board stoop to this kind of thing in their efforts to completely control the narrative about what’s going on at our co-op.
Here’s the nice, well-lit main entrance, with two IOC members talking to a new co-op owner who recently moved to the area.
Here’s the crappy side entrance, which was pretty poorly lit — we had to use a flash to get the top photo.