Dear Members of Three Rivers Market,
In our most recent Board News post, we responded to member inquiries about the relationship between the Board of Directors and the General Manager. We encourage members to revisit that post, along with our policies, to better understand the foundation of members’ governance of our co-op via an elected Board of Directors.
This month we would like to share updates regarding issues that are very important to members.
Local produce and other local products. We welcome new Produce Manager Sarah Bush, a highly respected professional with extensive experience in sustainable growing practices, local agriculture, and retail produce. We look forward to her strengthening Three Rivers Market’s relationships with long-time local produce vendors. Local products in all departments, including produce, are a treasured and essential component of Three Rivers Market’s offerings.
Product standards. Product standards are of the utmost importance to Three Rivers Market members. Management and staff work to uphold Three Rivers Market’s product standards while responding to market forces and challenges in product availability. Board Policy #B5 prohibits the General Manager from changing the organization’s Product Standards Policy or otherwise substantially altering its identity in the community without providing justification to the Board, and no such changes have taken place in recent history. Upon discovery of an error, staff have worked and will work to correct it immediately.
Communication with the General Manager and staff members. If a member of shopper has questions about a product, inquiries can be made by emailing the General Manager at email@example.com, or by speaking with an employee or leaving a note with your contact information at the Member & Customer Services desk. The appropriate department manager will respond to your inquiry.
When using the methods listed above to communicate concerns, questions, or input about product standards or other operational matters, please be courteous and refrain from verbal abuse toward the General Manager or store staff. We condemn harassment of any Three Rivers Market employee, including the General Manager. This type of treatment is not consistent with cooperative values, nor our Ethics Policy (found at the end of our Policy register).
Employee treatment. Our previous post detailed the methods of monitoring our policy #B1, Employee Treatment, which requires data gathered from an anonymous survey administered by a third party to all employees. Results generated from those who participate allow the General Manager to learn, document, and respond to staff interests and concerns. We are actively working with a professional consultant to establish additional comprehensive, equitable, formalized methods to provide the Board an accurate and thorough picture of employee experiences.
Further, we sent a message to all employees explaining procedures for submitting reports of illegal or unethical activity to the Board directly, and affirmed that retaliation for reporting is prohibited by our policy.
Staff unionization was a positive step to ensure more pathways for worker protections and advocacy. We understand the union is not the sole avenue through which staff treatment should be overseen or ensured, but we fully support staff’s utilization of their chosen representation to further their collective causes. The Board must take care not to supplant those processes. The General Manager keeps us informed of noteworthy activity related to adherence to the collective bargaining agreement.
Communication with the Board of Directors. We encourage our members to engage in Three Rivers Market governance in meaningful ways: attend our meetings, read our policies and Board News posts, and approach our proceedings with consideration for the contextualized, dynamic, short- and long-term monitoring that occurs in relation to our values, principles, and policies.
We accept and respond to member feedback via our email account, firstname.lastname@example.org. This account is exclusively accessed and managed by the Board of Directors, all of whom view and collaborate on responses to the messages received.
Board members are physically in the store multiple times a week and directly observe conditions, trends, and changes. We are familiar with staff. We are familiar with members, vendors, and shoppers. We are invested deeply in the community network that upholds the cooperative.
We thank you, our fellow members, for your ongoing participation. We trust that with all of our involvement in established democratic processes, we will continue on the path of fulfilling our Ends, to the benefit of our staff, members, and wider community.
Upcoming meetings. Our next monthly meeting is Thursday, November 9th, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at St. James Episcopal Church. Pre-registration by the prior Wednesday at 3 PM is required for entry in order to allow adequate time to verify registrants’ active membership. This month, we will be extending the length of our member forum to 30 minutes, during which guests may briefly share ideas for governance.
Finally, we look forward to sharing information about our financial condition and other governance activity during the past fiscal year at our annual meeting on December 2nd. An invitation and registration form will be sent to members soon.
The Board of Directors of Three Rivers Market