Thursday, July 5, 2007

Boycott-Israel Vote is Announced by People's Food Co-op,
in Ann Arbor, Michigan:

People's Food Co-op News & Events

[Posted as of July 5, 2007]

On the Co-op's Web site, at:

"Board adreses boycot referendum"

"Why will you be asked to vote on a proposal to boycott products from Israel?

"One of the core principles of co-ops is democratic control; specifically, that 'Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions.' *

"A group of PFC members has circulated a petition calling for this boycott, and that petition received signatures from more than 7% of the membership. The bylaws of the Co-op mandate that members are able to initiate proposals for a larger membership vote. The board establishes the method of voting, per the bylaws. If the boycott is adopted, the board sets the policy and enacts it.

"With this valid petition, the board will soon bring the matter to the membership to decide. The exact process for the referendum is determined by the board, communicated to the membership, and then the membership makes the decision. A majority vote of a quorum of just 10% of the membership is required for the proposal to pass or fail.

"The board recognizes that this may be a charged issue for many members. We ask that members consider the issue carefully, respectfully, and allow proper process to go forward. Thank you for your participation in this democratic process and for your support of your co-op.

"For further information and to stay updated, please check the bulletin board by the front entrance, or contact a board member via .

*The Co-operative Principles (International Cooperative Alliance 1996 version.)

Linda Diane Feldt
Chris Good
Pete Schermerhorn
George Esler
Anjanette Bunce
Laura Trumbull
Katie Wimsatt

"Board Decides Boycott Refererndum Timeline"

"At the PFC board meeting on June 21st the board set a timeline for voting by the membership on a referendum that would require the Co-op to boycott products from Israel and the West Bank.

"Members of Stop the Occupation had approached the board at their April meeting, asking them to support a boycott of goods originating from Israel and the West Bank. The board declined.
Subsequently, co-op members from the group Stop the Occupation succeeded in gathering signatures from 7% of the membership on a petition calling for a vote on the issue. In accordance with PFC bylaws, this in effect forces a vote, the method of which is determined by the board.

"Though the exact wording of the ballot and how it will be distributed to members will not have been decided until the July 12 board meeting, the board has determined that the voting period will begin on September 1 and continue through September 30 of this year. To be eligible to vote members must have joined and be in good standing by the end of the day July 31; members in good standing are paid in full or up to date on their share payments.

"PFC bylaws require at least 10% of the membership to vote to make the vote valid, and a simple majority will prevail. PFC currently has approximately 6,000 members, but an exact tally for voting purposes will not be determined until the July deadline. If quorum is not reached, the matter reverts back to the board to decide."


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