RVC workers are “holding a bad check,” writes owner-member number 10. Where is the respectful, collaborative workplace they were promised? The problem is both managerial and structural, and change depends on owner-member involvement.
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. Check out what they did.
After unprecedented public pressure, co-op management made some constructive changes to the labor contract. But by engaging in retaliation and seeking to curtail workers’ ability to speak out, they reinforced workers’ mistrust. Instead of better labor relations, they’ve sown further discord.
Does the board maintain that the co-op should be only as transparent as required by Massachusetts corporate laws? The board recently denied a request for figures on managers’ salaries, and we’re still trying to understand why. Here’s the latest follow-up request, submitted by nine owners.
River Valley Co-op’s management and board of directors often seem intent on minimizing the unrest among the staff, usually referring to “some” employees.” But in May of 2016, 77 bargaining unit workers signed an internal petition to the board of directors outlining multiple concerns about working conditions and the management of the store.
What should transparency mean at our co-op? There’s not necessarily a simple answer to that. But at the moment, we’re finding out what it means in practice. Our co-op bylaws are very generous about owner access to information, but the board of directors recently denied a request for figures on managerial salaries. Why?
Because this is a co-op, we’ve made assumptions about how it’s being run, including how our workers are being treated. And as we find out that some of those assumptions are wrong, we’re confused and disappointed. There’s a loss of trust. Some people have even stopped shopping at the co-op.