I’m Not So Special, But…

I had sex with a campaign aide once. I know it wasn’t my campaign. But it was sex. And she didn’t get pregnant, either.

Plus, she babysat…as a second job. Which makes her a kind of nanny. And she might not have paid her social security. And I had to wait outside a public toilet for her once.

She bought me coffee. Which is kind of a bribe. And Starbucks have lawyers. And they probably lobby someone. So indirectly, they sort of exerted influence on me.

Then again, I was an altar boy…and, I might be making all this up…

…so, can I have an interview on ABC, too?
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Published in: on August 11, 2008 at 7:16 am  Leave a Comment  

The Perfect Veep?

Oh dear. With the admission that he did have an extramarital affair, it turns out that John-Boy may not have been as ‘real’ as he was claiming throughout his Presidential campaign. Oops.

Mind you, with the exception of the National Enquirer, you have to admire the fact that Our Johnny managed to keep the affair a secret for so long. Does this make him the perfect candidate to be Barack’s Veep?

After all, the Veep has to hang out at an undiscloseable location. If the media couldn’t find the affair, they sure as heck will never find the location.

And is this why Happy-Happy John-John never took me up on my offer of a no-holds-barred radio interview…?!

Published in: on August 8, 2008 at 4:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Who Moved My Meeting?

Blimey. I had no idea the worries I expressed in my last post would prove to be so accurate, so soon. My information must be getting better.

Each year, we have an Annual Co-op Employees’ Meeting, when we get to find out what’s happening in the other co-op units, meet our fellow workers, compare notes, and ask questions of management.

In view of the internal unrest in “The Weave” at the moment over expansion, a reality check like this would serve to deflect potential misinformation, miscommunication and mistrust before it gets out of hand.

Instead, the Meeting has been divided into separate unit meetings. As a consequence, none of us will get to see the unedited big picture.

And I was so looking forward to spending my day off eating meatloaf. Oh well. Another time. Instead, I sent this e-mail to Ruffin – our General Manager:

Ruffin, there is a lot going on. I know that. And in all of the furor, things get missed. I know that, too. So, I’m just offering another perspective.

I’m troubled by this dividing of the co-op workers among separate unit meetings, rather than having the usual, one, all-co-op Annual Employees’ Meeting.

We all know we workers are restive at the moment. The most important thing an all-co-op meeting would do is allow us all to see the big picture – all of us, together.

To have one stream of information, which we all hear, which we can all question, all together. So, there is no room for misunderstanding.

We already know what is going on in our own units. We want to know what is going on elsewhere. And let’s be blunt. We want to hear it acknowledged from our fellow workers, as well as co-op management.

Frankly, we do not currently feel as if we are hearing the same things from management, as we are from our fellow workers in the other units.

Aren’t we missing a wonderful opportunity here to set the record straight – in one go? With no room for misunderstanding between workers and units?

Instead, what it looks like is that management is splitting us up, in order to keep information and concerns compartmentalized and apart. Why would you want to create a situation that might exacerbate miscommunication and mistrust, rather than overcome it?

And let’s be honest about something else – there’s’ not that many more employees. Not overall. Not really, are there? Are you really saying we couldn’t still all fit into the Arts Center or the Carrboro Center?

Workers speak up when they feel safety in numbers. We go to the Annual Employees’ Co-op Meeting, and we surround ourselves with our friends. Then maybe, just maybe, we have the gumption to stick our hand up – which we should be encouraging.

Now, you stick us in a small room, five feet from the person who is conducting our pay review at the moment, and you really think we’re going to say anything? Really?

Last year, I suggested we spend less time on management presentation, and more time on allowing workers to interact democratically with management.

In the letter to you making the suggestion, I mentioned the problems with communication created over the Food House, and I asked whether you thought this suggestion of mine might not encourage better communication and understanding, and whether this might not be good for the co-op?

Ruffin, you stood up at the Employees’ Meeting, and you replied ‘yes’ to both questions.

So this year, when we have restless workers, all over our co-op, when there is a level of mistrust about the information we are getting, whether or not that mistrust is justified, we end up moving backwards on communication and democracy. And you think this is a good thing? How, please?

Ruffin, could we please have an all co-op employees’ meeting, as normal, in September? And could it please focus, once again, on allowing workers to ask questions?”

*****

FYI: Weaver Street has a decision-making process that requires staff participation before certain important decisions are made.

This process specifically states that staff will be consulted before decisions are made that significantly impact the workplace environment, or that involve strategic changes that impact an entire department or group of departments.

Am I the only worker who thinks that the decision to compartmentalize workers into separate Annual Meetings is one that should have fallen within this decision-making process?

Can I have my Annual Meeting back, please…?

Published in: on August 7, 2008 at 11:02 am  Leave a Comment  

Meatloaf Doesn’t Lie

Personally, I like the meatloaf. I can’t get enough of it. Which is a good thing, because we’re getting a lot of it at the moment.

I had a funny thought about that. Well, not hilarious. But, worth a giggle.

But first, please don’t blame the workers at the Food House for the problems with food supply in our stores. They’re working as hard as they can. I know a couple of them from the Hot Bar at Southern Village. And they’re good people.

We’ve got problems at the moment. For sure. But, are we going to get through them by snipping? Or by sharing, listening, understanding, and pulling together as a team?

But I digress. The funny about the meatloaf…

You know, the problems at the Food House aren’t with the staff we have. They’re with the staff we don’t have.

First, the machinery wouldn’t work properly. We fall behind schedule. We go over budget. Then, we lose staff. Now, we’re looking for more cooks. Bingo. Problems with the food supply. But, you can read all about it in this month’s Customer Newsletter.

Anyways, the meatloaf…

That’s weird. The Newsletter just says the Food House will be up and running by the end of September. Hmm. I thought we were already ‘up and running’?

Look, this meatloaf thing was a blast…

Another two months? Aren’t we in danger of losing customers? Maybe it was a good thing I suggested to the Board that they might like to have a look? After all, that’s why they’re there. To keep a watchful eye. Maybe they’ll pull us together, and get us all on the same page?

But, the MEATLOAF…

Another thing. Maybe we’ll get the full picture at the Annual Co-op Employees’ Meeting, which is due to be held soon?

But wait, I’m hearing a rumor that meeting will now be broken up, and different ones will be held in each store. I sure hope not. I think it’s better when we’re all together. Plus, I had a couple of ideas to make the meeting a bit more inclusive.

Like having a vote on another rumor – should the stores stay open until 10.00pm? And letting the Worker-Owner Candidates for the Board address their fellow workers for about 3 minutes each. Boom. More democracy in 15 minutes than we’ve had in 15 years?

I mean, doesn’t having different meetings sound a bit like ‘divide and distract,’ rather than an opportunity to pull together as a team?

Ok, ok. What about the meatloaf?!

You know what I like as much as meatloaf? The truth. I don’t have a problem with it. And I really don’t have a problem with facing the truth about me.

I know there are those who think my being…hmm…blunt?…well, it might push people away, and mean that we get even less done.

What can I say? I’m straight-forward, because sometimes it’s the only way to get peoples’ attention. Is there any other approach which, at the moment, is getting our co-op leaders to pay attention to the questions we have?

Besides, once I’m sitting down with people who are – at last – listening, I am always consensual, and we get things done. Not least because the air has been cleared, and we all understand each other.
And every time I do sit down with people, I look forward to what I learn from them. It’s not just about me getting my message over. It’s about my paying attention and listening, too.
Believe me, I’ve been doing this for 30 years, with activist organizations and non-profits on both sides of the Atlantic.

I did it with the WSM Elections Task Force earlier this year. And I’m doing it now with the Development Committee of our Community Radio Station (WCOM 103.5 LPFM).

I don’t push these people away. Far from it. They’ve told me: they genuinely like knowing exactly where I stand, and truly appreciate learning things they might otherwise not know, because other people are sometimes a little nervous about raising the issues with them.

So, breathe easy. But, don’t take my word for it. Feel free to ask them yourselves. And then, if you still have questions, why not ask me – geoffgilson@hotmail.com?
One last thing, while we’re here. This isn’t about my personal ambition. I’m 52. I gave up personal ambition when I stopped being a lawyer, started composing, and joined a co-op. This is about me helping some of my mates, because I know how to pull some levers they don’t.

And now I’ve completely lost my train of thought…oh yes…the meatloaf!

So, I was thinking. Staff shortage. More meatloaf.

You know. More meatloaf. Staff shortage?

Grinding? Yes? No?

Fine! I’ll change to the Chicken Stir Fry…!!
Published in: on August 6, 2008 at 7:55 am  Leave a Comment