I was loving all my co-workers last night. We had our every-6-weeks membership meeting and I thought it might be a contentious meeting. Most of the agenda was filled with proposals about changing our store-closed paid holidays and people tend to have strong feelings about such things. But we actually never got there.
Instead, we spent the whole two hour meeting discussing a potential bylaw change that I hadn’t realized was controversial at all until I got to the meeting. Basically (simplifying a little because otherwise this will become unreadable) the proposed change allows workers who have cashed in shares to buy more shares from the co-op, up to the amount of shares they have earned at their time at the co-op. * This proposal was brought up for a couple of reasons: more flexibility to raise cash if needed, and a desire by some workers to be able to invest more in our workplace.
There were concerns, confusion, and impassioned pleas, but it was one of the most productive financial discussions we’ve ever had covering internal class issues, IRS confusion about co-ops, the intrusive nature of bank loans, future dividends vs. high cash payments of our profit sharing, and the relation of a financial buy-in to an emotional one. Even the people I almost never agree with — on both sides of the issue – were making smart and interesting points. Spontaneous applause broke out when someone mentioned offhandedly that we will pay off our mortgage this year and we all realized it was true. Seems like just yesterday (15 years ago) we voted to buy the building.
Since it’s a bylaw change we vote by ballot so I won’t know what the result will be for another couple of weeks. I was just so proud to be in that room with everyone there. I love working at a co-op.
*for the record, no matter how many shares you own, it is one worker/one vote.
**Oh hey, don’t forget that we are closed on Saturday, May 1, in honor of International Workers Day.
I felt this way too, even folks who often make me cringe when they open their mouths had good points. it kind of renewed my faith in the BOD too, but then when I thought about that it made the whole shit-hole conversation seem even more anomalous. in a week that started with me talking about walking away from Rainbow, it was a very surprising dialogue.