New Pioneer balloting results were announced at the Co-op's Annual Member-Owner Meeting on Oct. 26:
Congratulations to our two successful candidates, incumbents Janet Razbadouski and Calvin Norris.
Thank you to all our excellent candidates!
The petition to remove Eden Foods products from our stores passed, with 629 owners voting "Yes" to discontinue Eden Foods products and 616 voting "No" to keep Eden Foods products. This “Yes” vote directs that New Pioneer "terminate[s] our business relationship with Eden Foods and demand[s] that New Pioneer send a letter to Eden Foods expressing our disproval of their policies towards women’s health" (wording directly from the petition). Learn more about it here, and a little more history on it here.
We understand that we have owners and shoppers on both sides of this issue: Note that the winning "Yes" was by a very small margin of 13 votes. Additionally, a number of owners chose to abstain on the Eden issue: of 1,336 counted ballots, a total of 91 abstained on the Eden question (but voted for Board candidates).
This decision was made by a simple majority of the voting ownership (every member-owner has one vote), and is not a decision made by New Pi's management nor Board. New Pi has an obligation to fulfill the majority's decision.
The Co-op is very unique as a democratically-owned grocery store. We exist to serve the needs of our owners, which are an incredibly diverse group. While product choices are not typically taken to an ownership vote, we do have a mechanism in our bylaws to allow for owners to petition for product line changes, as in this instance. It was noted at the Annual Member-Owner Meeting that, should Eden Foods change its policy, there would be good reason to reinstate their product line at New Pi. If owners would like to reinstate Eden Foods (for any reason, for that matter), they may petition to add it to next year's ballot – per New Pi's Bylaws:
4.7 Product line changes. A petition for product line change requires the signatures of at least one hundred (100) members of the Cooperative and must be submitted at least 90 days prior to the date of the annual meeting. Upon receipt of any petition, the Secretary will verify the standing of all members signing the petition. If the petition contains the required number of signatures, the requested change will be announced in the newsletter (Catalyst) and put to a vote of the membership. Balloting may take place only once a year in combination with the annual Board election. To be successful, such product line votes require a simple majority of affirmative votes. Product line changes that result from this procedure shall be in effect until they are rescinded by another vote. [Emphasis added.]
Thank you for engaging with your democratically-owned Co-op.
Update 12/9/14: The letter terminating our business relationship and expressing our disapproval of their policies towards women's health has been mailed to Eden Foods.