by Alex Gyori
The energy was just great at our Grand Re-Opening on November 10—hundreds of smiling faces, folks milling about enjoying the exceptionally fine weather, savoring the delicious food samplings; and for those of us who work at the store every day, the comforting sounds of heartfelt compliments.
It was touch and go, and a mid to big nail-biter with the asphalt paving company working right up to and into the beginning of the Friday festivities! We are still awaiting the final coat of blacktop, but what we have now served us well during the opening activities. The entire lot was available for parking for the first time, albeit minus final touches, and there was plenty parking for the first time in over two years!
On Saturday, Peter Case from WKVT roped me into a radio spot (I usually manage to stay off the air) and, into the microphone I told Peter and his listeners that I had fantasized about shifting everyone up to the top of Wantastiquet and announcing, “Someday, my friends, this will all be… done” (it already is “theirs,” anyway). That got an extra chuckle out of the already jovial DJ.
The speeches under the tent stirred a little breeze, so to speak, but really, there were so many people involved in this project that it became a challenge for those of us representing the Co-op and our housing partners to thank them all without stultifying the audience. My own list of stakeholders was long, yet I still managed to overlook some important folks— the store designer, the architect, my wife Dawne. Oops. I did get to everyone afterwards… But the seemingly endless list of stakeholders involved in this project did show how much the Co-op and the housing trust are integrated into this community.
Before I close, I do want to acknowledge our Co-op staff on duty during the Grand Opening, for their irresistibly positive spirit, their customer service professionally rendered. They did their part to make it a really wonderful event.
Co-op Staff Votes in Union
On Wednesday, November 14, eligible workers at the Brattleboro Food Co-op voted to join the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. This election was supervised by a representative from the National Labor Relations Board, as well as representatives from both the Co-op and the Union. There were 119 workers who voted, and of these, a simple majority was necessary to vote in the union. The results were 74 to 45 in favor.
We have always maintained that the workers should decide among themselves, in a fair and democratic process, whether or not to join a union, and I am sure that we will move forward in a positive manner and continue to make our new store the best it can possibly be.
Both parties will have up to a year to negotiate a contract. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 1459, is based in Springfield, MA.