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Letter: Co-op Should Follow Its Own Rules

To the Editor:

The letter (April 9) from Donald Kreis, a former Hanover Co-op board member, greatly misstates my complaints relating to the Co-op board’s treatment of its employees, which according to my understanding are contrary to the Co-op’s Employee Handbook.

As a longtime Co-op member, I wrote a letter of complaint to the Co-op board in February concerning numerous current complaints made to me by good employees of management’s bullying them and of prior similar employee complaints to the board, all of which the board had dismissed without any apparent consideration. The board chair called to tell me that she was concerned by my letter and asked if I would discuss the matter with her. I agreed. Over a month later, she wrote to inform me that there was nothing to discuss and that my complaints were untrue. I called the Co-op to ask if I could speak to the Annual Meeting. I was told that I would be allowed five minutes at the end of the meeting. At the end of the meeting, I was told by the board that I would not be allowed to speak. The members present requested that I be allowed to speak, and the board finally agreed.

Many businesses treat their employees harshly and with contempt. That is unpleasant, but it is their choice. But the Co-op is our business, and it has specific published rules requiring the decent treatment of its employees and consideration of their complaints, which it has apparently been ignoring for a considerable period of time. Its rules also provide that an employee’s complaint of mistreatment will be held confidential from the administrator. This rule was also ignored, as the Co-op manager has made clear to complaining employees.

I suggest if Mr. Kreis and and the board would like to change its published employment policies in favor of his proposed “hierarchical” approach to management, then that proposed change should be honestly raised and voted upon at a member meeting.

Bill Clauson

Lebanon