You've probably seen Loki Fish’s Pete Knutson and family selling salmon fillets and lox at the local farmers' markets. In addition to previously selling his sustainably caught fish through PCC, Pete’s been a PCC member for 30 years. So we’re deeply honored to have his endorsement and his vote for us for the PCC Board.
We're running for election to the board not just to represent PCC's worker-members, but to give a bigger voice to our customer-members and the communities where PCC can and should be more than just a grocery store.
"I want to see worker representation, I want to help PCC return to its roots and this is a good step,” Pete says in a video message to fellow PCC members.
Pete’s joined by cookbook author and chef Becky Selengut of The Pantry. Becky worked at PCC for almost a decade, first as a cook at the Seward Park location, and then as an instructor at PCC Cooks. She’s also endorsed our campaigns for the PCC Board, saying “I absolutely, 100%, believe workers deserve a voice on the board.”
On Monday, May 3, voting will close for PCC’s nearly 90,000 co-op members. For the first time in recent history two of the five candidates for the board are PCC member-workers—us.
In addition to Pete and Becky, we’re proud to be endorsed by community groups such as OneAmerica, Faith Action Network, Pride at Work, Got Green, Puget Sound Sage, Community Alliance for Global Justice, Transit Riders Union, A. Philip Randolph Institute Seattle, LELO-Legacy of Equality Leadership and Organizing, 350.org Seattle, and of course our own union, UFCW 21.
So it’s a mystery why PCC’s corporate-dominated board and CEO are doing everything they can to put heavy thumbs on the scales and prevent us from joining them in the co-op boardroom.
Other co-ops, like Central Co-op, reserve spots for their workers, ensuring they have a say in board decisions and wisely utilizing their knowledge and direct experience with customers. But in an April 26 interview with KUOW’s Bill Radke, President and CEO Suzy Monford explained that workers’ voices aren’t needed on the board because she’s got it covered:
“In terms of [workers] having a voice on the board, that's my primary role. And frankly, that's why I’m even involved with the Board of Trustees is to represent them, their thoughts, their desires, their vision.”
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
For example, Monford publicly opposed hazard pay for 1,800 of her own frontline workers, and urged a veto of the new law in a letter to Mayor Durkan.
To us, hazard pay isn’t just about rewarding frontline “heroes.” Hazard pay is to compensate those of us who spend money from our own pockets to find emergency child care so we can still help our customers when schools are closed. Those few extra dollars are meant to help workers who have found another place to stay so they don’t bring COVID back to their friends, roommates, or family members.
During this campaign our members have stood with us all the way. When PCC’s board refused to nominate any workers for the board, thousands of PCC members petitioned to put us on the ballot. When PCC called the police and private security on us for gathering those signatures, members signed the petitions anyway.
PCC keeps trying to interfere, failing to tell members about us in election emails, keeping our names off in-store signs, and even excluding us from a PCC candidate forum.
Our members tell us PCC would be a better co-op for members, customers, workers, and the community with both of us on the board.
TraeAnna Holiday, of King County Equity Now, says “PCC is in dire need of diverse voices on their board. Workers on the board would be helpful because they need to hear from folks on the ground who are doing the work every single day.”
KCEN has tried to work with PCC to bring community members onto the board, especially people from the Central District, which was once the social and economic hub of the Black community. But, as Holiday says, “unfortunately PCC did not get back to us.”
PCC’s board is focused on opening new stores and big remodels, which we support. But our co-op can expand without losing its core mission and over-stressing our existing stores and staff.
With our voices on the board, the decisions that steer the future of our co-op can be informed by our one-on-one conversations with our customers, and working with the beautiful food from our farmers and providers. We’re ready to share our expertise in shaping the values and direction of this community.
We thank our fellow members, and ask them to put PCC’s core mission and values first by electing us to the board. It’s easy for members to vote online with just your name, phone number and zip code at https://vote.escvote.com/pcc/.
Donna Rasmussen worked at the Edmonds PCC, and is now at the View Ridge PCC. Laurae McIntyre works at the Fremont PCC.