Co-op Annual Report: Board Candidates a Loss for Labor
Jason Houk, News Director KSKQ and Jobs with Justice Organizer, 25.06.2012 04:14
(*Note from Rogue IMC volunteer: This is an ongoing saga about Union Busting illegally being conducted by the Ashland Food Co-op. The fiasco continues...)
The Co-op board has a duty to rein in the unlawful activities of their management staff. The National Labor Relations Board affirmed 13 unfair labor practice complaints and this is a MAJOR red flag that something is wrong.
It is certain that the co-op board would not tolerate theft by their General Manager and that accusations of sexual harassment or racism would be taken seriously. On the matter of violating labor laws and the rights of co-op workers, however, the board is painfully neglect in their
Read More to get the inside scoop-
Co-op Candidates: a Loss for Labor
The Ashland Food Co-op is a community dedicated to sustainability and
cooperation. As a co-op owner, community organizer and Ashland citizen, I
am proud to actively support our co-op, its board and our workers. There
is no doubt the last year has been a challenge for all of us with labor
struggles dominating the agenda. Oddly, this struggle continues to be the
“elephant in the room” when it comes to our co-op board of directors.
Since 2011, many workers at the Food Co-op have been working to form a
union. This was a reaction to a lack of representation and claims of
unequal discipline from management. Since their organizing efforts
began, pro-union workers have documented over a dozen violations of
federal labor laws by co-op staff and managers.
The co-op board candidate forum was billed as an opportunity to meet the
candidates, hear their statements and ask questions in an informal Q & A
style. Of the four candidates on the ballot, only two took the time to
attend; the room was about half full with only a dozen or more owners in
The candidates who did not attend did submit recorded statements which
are posted on the Food Co-op website.
Charlie Douglass, incumbent board member, made the only statement
acknowledging the workers at the Co-op, stating the “staff is incredibly
friendly and helpful…” but his greatest praise was for the food, “It’s
the food that makes the co-op so incredible.” If Douglass had more to
say, it is uncertain as the video file was damaged and incomplete, ending
In a recorded statement, Pepper Lewis, a newcomer to our community, was
moved by personal experience to join the co-op board. She was inspired
by her travels and observations of third-world farmers, seemingly
unburdened by conflict, greed or GMO’s. “I wondered why more places were
not like that and what else we could do or I could do to contribute to
that.” Lewis dreams.
Joanie Kintscher, running for a second term, represented the incumbents.
Joanie is looking forward to a second run. She enjoys awarding grants,
training volunteers, working with youth, Farm to School programs and
learning more about GMO’s. On the matter of board responsibilities to
the workers, Kintscher is less than enthusiastic. Her position is that
supervising the co-op management is “not our role… our job is not to be
One brave co-op worker was there to ask the hard questions. “Who’s job
is it to rein in the General Manager? Certain members of management were
not trained properly.”, claimed the co-op worker.
Under pressure, Kintscher did concede that “we are the employers of the
Of all the candidates, Ed Claassen seems to have the strongest background
in labor relations, having worked in human resources and “team”
development. He has a “vibrant vision” and hopes the board plays a
“vibrant role” in the future. Claassen claims some experience working
with unions but admits having no experience with union laws in Oregon.
He supports the idea of “fair elections” but claims it is inappropriate
to take a position. “I do know there are real challenges.” agreed
The Co-op board has a duty to rein in the unlawful activities of their
management staff. The National Labor Relations Board affirmed 13 unfair
labor practice complaints and this is a MAJOR red flag that something is
It is certain that the co-op board would not tolerate theft by their
General Manager and that accusations of sexual harassment or racism would
be taken seriously. On the matter of violating labor laws and the rights
of co-op workers, however, the board is painfully neglect in their
The board has allowed themselves to be victims of inadequate training and
continues to follow the bad advice of union-busters such as Bob Braun who
is currently under investigation for unlawful lobbying activities.
Hopefully a new co-op board will step up to their responsibility where
the previous board failed.
As the Ashland Food Co-op union campaign enters its final, critical stage
it is crucial that we owners and community members support our workers
and insist their organizing effort be free and fair and the lawlessness
and intimidation of management and staff will no longer be tolerated.
The co-op election continues through June 29. All the candidates are
expected to attend the Owners Picnic on June 24 at 7 pm in Lithia Park.
Only owners can vote and ballots are available at the information desk at
For more information about the history and future of the workers campaign
for a free and fair election visit: http://www.justiceforcoopworkers.com
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Oil Production Line
25.10.2012 - 07:24
Oil Production Line
Thank you for share.
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