In honor of my first 4th of July as GM of the Co-op, I would like to share some thoughts about independence. Independence has been core to the Co-op identity since the Rochdale Principles were articulated in 1844. As such, it is an important concept for us to understand and embrace at the Brattleboro Food Co-op (BFC). Independence is usually defined in one of two ways. The first is the state of being free from outside control. The second is not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence. I firmly believe that in order to serve the Ends articulated by our shareholders, we must be true to our Cooperative Principles.
A Co-op exists to serve the economic, social, and cultural needs of a community through jointly owned and democratically controlled business. The power of our model is that our community follows a democratic process to define who we are and what needs the Co-op fills. There is no person or corporation that can insert their interests ahead of yours. That means that the more involved you are as shareholders the more we will serve the needs of our community. All are welcome and we encourage everyone to participate as much as possible. As a shareholder or a shopper, your engagement with the Co-op ensures that you will continue to have an independent presence serving the community that best reflects your needs.
At the same time, we must care for the people who bring the Co-op to life. Our team is an amazing group of talented people who are passionate about our mission. The economic situation facing our team has changed significantly over the past several years. As a result, we are pleased to share that we are providing a meaningful increase in pay to all team members. Effective June 26, 2022, our minimum starting wage for all positions will be raised from $13.44/hr. to 15.00/hr. Additionally, all team members (with the exception of the General Manager) will receive an increase in pay commensurate with this adjustment to the minimum starting pay. We would like to thank the UFCW Local 1459 for the advocacy, guidance, and partnership that helped make this increase possible. This change will help ensure that we embody the ideal of independence as a workplace community where cooperative values are modeled. We will be able to continue to serve our community by recruiting and retaining great people who live and work in our area.
Thank you all for your continued support. It is because of shoppers and shareholders like you that the Brattleboro Food Co-op will continue to foster and serve independence in our community.
By Lee Bradford, General Manager