In a somewhat surprising election, members of PCC – the nation’s largest food co-op – this week elected two frontline grocery workers to its board of trustees.
With record turnout, PCC members voted for Donna Rasmussen and Laurae McIntye to join the 9-person board which is dominated by corporate executives from other industries. PCC announced the results in an email to members that did not include the final vote count numbers.
“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 overstressing our existing stores and staff,” said Laurae McIntyre, who works at the Fremont PCC. “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.”
Earlier this year PCC’s CEO Suzy Monford publicly opposed hazard pay for 1,800 of her own frontline workers, and urged a veto of Seattle’s law in a letter to Seattle Mayor Durkan.
“Hazard pay isn’t just about helping out frontline ‘heroes.’ Hazard pay is necessary to compensate grocery workers who spend money from their own pockets to find emergency child care 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,” said Joe Mizrahi, Secretary-Treasurer of UFCW 21, the labor union representing 1,800 PCC cooks, cashiers, and other frontline workers.
UFCW 21 is currently bargaining a new contract with PCC. PCC is currently trying to block minimal cost of living and other workplace improvements for its own employees.
As reported in the Seattle Times, the two PCC employees – Donna Rasmussen and Laurae McIntyre – were put forward by thousands of PCC members who signed petitions demanding their nominations to the PCC board.
UFCW 21 created its own online Progressive Voter Guide and bought digital ads promoting Donna and Laurae (including on The B-Town Blog).
“We listen to hundreds of customers every day and they told us PCC would be a better co-op for members, customers, workers, and the community with both of us on the board,” said Donna Rasumussen, who has worked at PCC for more than 6 years and is a friendly face at the View Ridge PCC. “We’re ready to share our expertise in shaping the values and direction of this community.”