General Manager Letter to the Membership, June 7
We have recently been asked by staff and members why the Coop has not yet made a statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement as many other institutions have done. Why the delay? As many are aware, the food coop has a long history of supporting progressive causes. In 2017 the Coop endorsed the DC climate March and donated money to support its organizing.
We boycotted all products from South Africa years ago in protest of Apartheid and around that same time the Coop boycotted all products from Chile in protest of the murderous Pinochet regime. Recently the Coop added its support to the Fair Food Program and the Immokalee workers in Florida that the program assists. This is just to name a few of the causes that the Park Slope Food Coop has supported over the years.
What each of these instances have in common is that each were discussed and voted on by the membership and at the Coop’s General Meeting (GM). There is no precedent for Coop staff to speak publicly on behalf of the membership on such issues without direction from the GM, regardless of how obvious a decision may or may not appear. Absent the recent pandemic, for the past 47 years the Coop has relied on its owners, the members, to perform over 75% of the labor required to run our store. That broad member input, though, has never been relegated to just store operations. It has always been members who have, through the GM, gathered the voices of the membership and directed the Coop to speak. We acknowledge that the long-standing process of 17,000 members finding a voice to speak with via the General meeting is slow, but over time the Coop always finds its voice.