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Weaver Street Market: We Own It!
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Getting involved in WSM governance
Weaver Street Market depends on its community of owners not only as customers and volunteers but also for governance and direction. Together we own the business, and together we are responsible for it. Fortunately we have over 10,000 owner households, so we can share the load widely. There are many ways in which individual owners can choose to participate in sharing this responsibility: some of these opportunities require more time and commitment than others, but all are essential to a healthy cooperative.

Governance Task Groups
Governance task groups are an easy way to get your feet wet in cooperative governance.
Something like a focus group, but with an emphasis on values and outcome rather than products and purchasing, task groups are convened periodically by the Board to give concentrated input and consideration to various areas of policy development. Membership in a task group is open to all owners and requires only a short-term commitment of time and energy. How to get involved? Watch for newsletter notices, or pre-register your interest by sending an This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it us.

Board Monitoring

The Board of Directors monitors the General Manager, but who monitors the Board? The ownership, of course. While the Board engages in a routine program of self-monitoring, it also needs your critical attention to make sure it’s doing its job thoroughly and not getting off track. Board monitoring can be as easy as reading the board minutes or attending a board meeting from time to time. And if there’s a particular issue that gets your attention, the next option is:

Communicating with the Board
The board welcomes all communications from owners on governance issues. What’s a governance issue? Clearly a question or comment on product lines is best addressed directly to customer service, either in the stores, by phone, or by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . Store managers are required to respond to your comments in accordance with our values as expressed in policy. But if you’re not satisfied with that response, then the Board wants to know, as part of its direct inspection of management performance. The Board also wants to know if you have a specific issue that you think the board needs to address, if you feel the coop is becoming out of sync with owner values, or if you think it’s just plain heading in the wrong direction. The board has an ongoing program of communication with owners through surveys and task groups, but direct input by individual owners on their own schedule is also welcomed and valued. The link for communicating to the board for any of these purposes is our This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . You can also pick up a form at the customer service desk - be sure to quote your owner number in the message.

In a community as large and diverse as ours, there’s bound to be differences of opinion and perspective. The board’s job is to synthesize from all these inputs a community voice which is ultimately expressed in our policy documents to set the direction and controls that management must follow in order to achieve our common goals. It is Weaver Street Market’s commitment that this community voice is both inclusive and coherent.
Your thoughts and comments matter!

Becoming a Director
The board of directors provides direction to management and accountability to ownership for the performance of the organization, and board membership represents the most committed level of governance involvement for a Weaver Street Market owner. Becoming a director involves not only attending the monthly meetings but also undertaking a regular share of board committee and policy development work as well as keeping current with developments in the theory and practice of cooperative governance.

Time commitment expected of directors includes a minimum of five hours monthly for preparation and attendance at scheduled board meetings, with committee and task group work requiring another twenty or more hours a year; directors are also encouraged to attend gatherings such as the national CCMA (Consumer Cooperative Management Association) three-day conference, held in June of each year, as an ongoing learning and networking commitment. New directors are required to attend training at the beginning of their term according to their level of previous experience. In acknowledgment of this commitment, directors are paid a stipend of $1,200 annually in the form of a store credit, and Weaver Street Market meets conference and training expenses.

Becoming a Director
An open call for candidates is extended each fall for election of one consumer-owner and one worker-owner to the board. There are also periodic opportunities to become a director by appointment: watch the newsletter for notification of vacancies.

Minimum eligibility requirements for becoming an elected or appointed director are as follows:
  • Must be a Weaver Street Market consumer-owner or worker-owner in good standing for at least one year
  • Must be regularly available for monthly Board meetings and other scheduled events requiring Director participation, and for committee and other work outside of scheduled events
  • Must be willing to work cooperatively and enthusiastically within the established Weaver Street Market Board framework.

All of our profits are returned to owners, donated to our community, or used to strengthen the cooperative. Cooperative businesses are honest, open and fair, behave with integrity, and remain accountable for their actions.