Employees have a voice in the Co-op

Employees have a voice in the Co-op

Observing my photo on page one of the March 9 newspaper — under the headline "(Labor Union: 13 complaints against co-op ..."), my heart sank. To clarify, the single reason I participated in the interview was in deepest gratitude for my 35 years of delightful shopping at Ashland Food Co-op — the most inspiring energy I've experienced in any business.

I honor how unions improve working conditions for corporate businesses. And ... is this outside influence appropriate for AFC, a community-owned, cooperative endeavor? Our Co-op hugely benefits its employees and our community. Are we truly considering an outside organization, which historically and culturally can create divisive relationships between management and staff, plus siphon considerable money out of employees' wages and out of our local community?

After living in seven countries, four states and traveling worldwide, to me AFC is an outstanding example of united cooperation. Founded with the highest integrity for sustainable living globally, AFC welcomes solving challenges within our Co-op community. Do we desire to give even more of our power away to big government?

At present, employees have a voice in our collaborative workplace committed to fairness/justice. Member-owned, we have unparalleled strength as long as we remain united.

To me, "being the change" while stepping out of "smallness" into our "magnificence" assures victory in this planetary shift into the new paradigm of collaboration and unity-consciousness.

Is 2012 asking us for more consciousness than ever? Are we choosing adversity — or cooperation?

Jerilee Camille Newby, Co-op member

Ashland

Florendo deserves praise for 'Raccoon'

I am writing in regard to the article on Brent Florendo's play "Raccoon Earns His Stripes" posted on Feb. 23, 2012. As an Environmental Studies student at SOU, as well as coincidentally growing up near the same reservation as Florendo, I must say that I appreciate the attention that is being paid to an activity that I would otherwise consider to be normal, especially for SOU and Ashland.

Much of my conversation in and outside of school consists issues with our natural and social environments. Topics of sustainability and social fairness are all over and I would like to discuss the importance to "sustainability"  of a view such as Florendo's that can reach multiple groups.

This is my own opinion, but I feel that by incorporating traditional messages such as those told in Florendo's play that we may be able to gain a valuable perspective in looking at how we operate as individuals within a larger society. In the original article, Florendo is quoted: "I'm not stuck in the past."

This speaks toward a willingness to collaborate within the greater community, and deserves ample praise for his efforts.

Jacob King

Ashland