Weaver Street Market Annual Meeting


Sunday, October 19, 2008 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm


Century Center, Carrboro

This is co-op owners' opportunity to hear from current and prospective board members. Voting on the board is open from 10/13/08 to 11/2/08.

Applications to run for a seat on the board are due by 9/7/08. Contact board@weaverstreetmarket.coop for more information.


Hi Ruby and fellow OP-ers and Weavers,

I have submitted my name in nomination as a Worker-Owner for the Board of our "Weave."

I believe passionately that we can be so much more as a Co-operative. And that this can best be achieved with more democracy in policy-making. When was the last time you were asked about the changes taking place with our "Weave"?

Enhanced democracy would make us not only a better co-operative, but also a stronger business. For more thoughts on how we might achieve more democracy, go to weaverstreetgeoff.blogspot.com.

Remember: You have to be an Owner to vote, and you have to vote for something different to make things different!

Here's to 20 more years of Co-operation with our "Weave"!

All the best,

Geoff Gilson

Just a reminder, as I know there was some confusion about this last time we held an election...  Consumer-owner and worker-owner elections are separate.  Only worker-owners (folks who work at WSM and have bought a worker-owner share of the co-op) are eligible to vote in the worker-owner elections, and only consumer-owners can vote in consumer-owner elections.

...excellent point, Jason. And thank you.

This was one of several reforms suggested by the WSM Elections Task Force, on which I served earlier this year.

Others were that the Worker-Owner voting should be anonymous this time, and that voting would conclude a week after the Annual Meeting, so that voters could get a more leisurely opportunity to meet their Candidates at the Annual Meeting.

You can peruse all of the deliberations of the Task Force here. My primary contribution was the document marked "Notes from an individual." It has the title 'Tasty Platypus' - don't ask; you had to be there!!

The Annual Meeting also provides an opportunity to ask questions and exchange feedback with the WSM board members and staff.  Each year I have attended, there's at least one opportunity to provide "visioning" input.  I'm not sure what happens to the products of these sessions, though.  But the the greater the number of owners that attend, the better the voice of the Ownership can be heard.  I know also that some people were wondering if there will be two meetings in the future, so that better turnout can be generated in both CH-Carrboro and Hillsborough.
I wish WSM's Annual Meeting(s) could take the form of an on-line forum.  More owners would participate at their convenience.  If they prefer to gather a bunch of people in Century Hall at noon on a Sunday, that's okay with me.  But the turnout won't be fully representative. 

Excellent idea Ms. DeVine. The very idea of creating a forum for anyone to discuss WSM matters has been brought to the WSM board several times. Everyone there agreed it was a good idea but after several glances around the room no one wanted to explore the idea further. One concern of several board members was time. They were worried that they would be responsible for answering all issues and comments that were posted. [when I suggested and later asked for a forum I said that we, the consumers and workers of WSM, need a way to effectivly communicate among each other and that there are many issues the board is ignoring. A forum could be a perfect venue to ask questions, suggest ideas, and get to know the people who represent us (on the board), the people who make our food, and the people who buy it - but this requires the board to actively participate on the forum]

That is when they started to drag their feet siting time as the problem. Ruffin, Jacob, Lori, Linda, Christi, Robert, and Tam do have time to do their homework for the Hillsborough store and food factory though. At least I hope that they do. They signed off on a  $6,000,000.00 loan at the May board meeting. And if I am not mistaken that money is borrowed against our membership deposits. I welcome anyone, member or not, to correct me. I have been trying to get answers but since I can't get financial reports from Ruffin and there is not a simple way to find out how our deposit is dealt with. If anyone can find out please share. But I am WAY off on a tangent. The idea of a forum died in that room.

So I am working on getting one up and running. When it is ready to go live I will present it to the board. I will ask them if they wish to officially adopt the site and, consequently,  be responsible for it. This means that they will answer legitimate questions, follow up on matters that need addressing, consider feasible suggestions and maintain the site. In other words, function as a co-op.

If they do not wish to open up channels of communication among their employees and customers then the site will simply function without the WSM logo.

On a side note I sent an e-mail to the board asking for their position on many of the issues brought up on the blog:  orangepolitics.org/2007/05/weaver-st-move And then I posted that e-mail on the blog. This was over a week ago. Not one board member replied to my e-mail nor commented on the blog (except James Morgan a year ago)

I was reading over the thread from last year about WSM, and there are a lot of interesting items in there.  I'm concerned about people who have been WSM Co-op owners, who say they no longer attend the Annual meeting.  Can anyone say more about why, or what would need to change for more people to turn out?

It's about to be a very interesting time for the Carrboro store, in that revisions to the space have not yet begun.  The Annual meeting may be a good starting opportunity for both Worker-owners and Consumer-owners in Carrboro (and all over) to engage in discussions of what we would like to see happen in this location, now that Hillsborough's store is open and the "food house" is getting underway.

Door prizes?  Yes, it's an interesting time for the Carrboro store; but while the renovations have not yet begun, by mid-October I would certainly expect the planning to be well underway -- if it's not already!  One or two hundred people are not welcome to the drawing board.  Pardon my cynicism. 

Hey Cat,

How are you doing? Ain't seen you in yonks.

I understand your cynicism. We could get equally cynical about, say, the state of the US. But, we don't. Because the system has checks and balances that are self-restoring. And so does the system of governance and policy-making within our "Weave" - if we as Owners want to make use of them. Remember, it is still our co-op, and we still own it.

No-one is suggesting that 200 people be around the drawing board every day. But the system of governance, based on John Carver, is designed precisely so that 12,000 Worker- and Consumer-Owners are the primary driving force for what happens in our co-op - in overall policy terms. And again, if we 'turn up' and make ourselves felt - whether online or in a meeting. A bunch of us just achieved this on WSM's Elections Task Force.

It goes like this:

  1. The Board is supposed regularly and assiduously to solicit the views of Owners - and to pay attention to them. For example, on what should now happen with the refurbishment of the Carrboro store. If you really feel that the store is moving ahead without your consent, turn up to a monthly Board meeting, and use the 10 minute Public Question Time at the beginning of the meeting to remind them they are supposed to ask you first! If you feel that the Board is still not listening to you, then vote for someone new on the Board this November.
  2. The Board is then supposed to take all the views it gathers, and synthesize them into policy. Not make it's own policy - but policy coming from the Owners. Yes, it's a lot of work, but that's why they are supposed to be there.
  3. The Board then sets limitations within which the store management operate, based on the Owner-produced policy. And finally, the Board  monitors the store reguarly to ensure that it is in compliance with the Owner-driven policy.

Now. That is the way it is supposed to work.

To be honest, I don't think this is the way it is working at the moment. Currently, I think the Board has it the other way around. I see the Board listening to the store, not Owners, and then telling the Owners what they should accept - like their seafood counter disappearing.

Now, I love our "Weave." My candidacy is not about tearing down, but about building up. As a Worker-Owner, I will work my behind off to make sure the changes already underway work as well as possible to ensure that we can be the best "Weave" we can be - for workers and for consumers. And I know of not one worker or manager who doesn't feel the same way.

But, I'm not sure we got here the right way. I'm not sure that all of the best decisions were made. And I'm not the only one - judging by the conversations workers and consumers have instigated with me.

I feel we could be so much better as a co-op and so much stronger as a business if we operated the John Carver, Owner-driven policy-making system properly.

That's why I'm standing as a Worker-Owner Candidate. To help the Board return to John Carver. To encourage the Board to do more listening to Owners, and to engage in more fastidious monitoring of the stores. I see this as an expression of my faith in our "Weave," not as anything disloyal.

But I can't change anything on my own. I can only be a channel. The only people who can make things different are Owners, acting in concert, at the Annual Meeting, or on the Board, or in Task Forces, or on an online forum.

We can make things different. We can make things better. We can. Honest.

So, let's make where we are work really well, and then let's make sure the next steps - not least the discussions about refurbishing our Carrboro store - are as democratic and as inclusive as possible.

I believe we can do this. Passionately. Some might say too passionately!! But hey, that's Carrboro (and Southern Village and Hillsborough...!). 

I see the point that Catherine might be making, though.  I think many of us do feel cynicism that the "co-op" has gotten so large (which is good $$-wise) that it's too difficult to deal with getting that much input fairly from that many people (which is bad Owner-wise)--and which makes some people feel like it's not really a co-op anymore.

 So what can be done?  There are already prizes given out at the meetings.  It's nice, but it takes time away from the discussions, which I thought are what the meeting is for.

 The idea of developing forums has come up with various people.  Everyone agrees that it's a good idea, but many people do not know how they can be managed: by staff?  by Consumer-owners who need new "volunteer" opportunities?  I personally would love to see a new WSM structure in place for two-way online communication.


Community Guidelines

By using this site, you agree to our community guidelines. Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will result in moderation or eviction.


Content license

By contributing to OrangePolitics, you agree to license your contributions under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Creative Commons License

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.