Letters: Striving for a living wage

Posted 1/20/21

I am a long-time Weavers Way Coop working member. Learning that coop workers many soon lose their Covid-19 hazard pay, I write in reference to their overall compensation.

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Letters: Striving for a living wage

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I am a long-time Weavers Way Coop working member. (That means I help out at the coop farm or  such  or participate in a committee and get work “credit” which entitles me to a discount on purchases.)  Learning that coop workers many soon lose their Covid-19 hazard pay, I write in reference to their overall compensation.

The coop has about 250 employees. They may be reasonably compensated by industry standards but industry standards are to nickel and dime hourly workers.

The coop is a value-driven enterprise.  Equity for workers is a core coop value. But the coop does not pay every employee a living wage in either theory or practice nor has it yet committed to doing so.  A living wage is what someone needs in order to, well, live.  According to the MIT model which the coop consults, that living wage does not account for even occasional entertainment or prepared meals or the accumulation of any savings.  It’s bitter irony that the average coop worker at the Chestnut Hill store couldn’t afford to live in our neighborhood. And woe to the employee who has a child to care for.

The Weavers Way Board of Directors guides the ship and board elections are coming up. Up until a few years ago, two board seats were reserved for employees. Not any longer. Employees may run for the Board if they wish - or they dare. A former employee told me he had been “warned” about raising the issue of unionization during his bid for the Board, intimating the warning had come from management or the board.

In 2021, I hope we may all be vigilant participants in our democratic institutions, large and small, so that not one of us falls into the class of the working poor.

Brian Rudnick

Chestnut Hill

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