Members’ Assembly and Voting Sunday, October 27th – Exercise Your Democratic Right!


Black Star Co-Op is not like other pubs in town. Firstly, its beer is better, but also it is a member-owned democratically run organization. This October, as a Member-Owner you have two important voting decisions to make.

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  2. Referendum to change one of our Bylaws. This doesn’t happen often, but some decisions are so important that we look for the Member-Owners to get involved rather than the Board making a
    decision on their behalf. This is your opportunity to have a direct say in how the Co-op operates. You can again vote either at the Members’ Assembly or in the email that will be sent out at a similar time. Details of the bylaw change are included below for you to read. Please feel free to speak to or email the board if you have questions around this or would like to discuss it at board@blackstar.coop
    I look forward to seeing you on the 27th of October for a cold beer, some hot topics of conversation, and a warm reception for the new Board Member candidates. All that’s left for me to say is…
    MEMBERS ASSEMBLE!!!!!!!

(News Team / Black Star Members – both good looking, both spend time in pubs – same thing right?)
Thanks,
Graham (Member Development Board Committee Chair)

Living Wage Bylaw Change Proposal

Reason for Proposed Change

The board is recommending a change to one of the Co-Op bylaws. To do this we legally require a vote from the member/owners.

The language currently used in this bylaw regards the payment of workers assembly (WA) members. We propose a change as the current language for two reasons

  1. It is restrictive in that it stipulates specific calculators that have debatable relevance to the Austin employment market.
  2. It is also financially unsustainable in its expectation that “any employee” will receive this. The spirit of the statement is good, but the reality is that it is unobtainable, and so does not encourage the Co-Op to strive towards this goal but focus efforts elsewhere.

The proposed change will give the WA flexibility in worker renumeration while increasing oversite from the board to ensure that we continue to challenge ourselves towards achieving the Co-Op principles. We believe that this change will have a positive effect on worker pay.

The Co-Op Board of directors, and the WA, recommend that members vote to accept this change.

Changes in detail

  1. Change in the bylaw to allow the WA to propose the most appropriate living wage calculator
  2. Change to the language of the bylaw to remove the “any employee” language
  3. Addition to board D.3 policy for all voting body WA members are paid a living wage (there is a tenure and commitment requirement to become a WA voting body member – so this will likely exclude transitional staff)
  4. Addition to board D.3 policy for over 60% of staff receive a living wage (and by proxy – become voting members of the WA). This promotes the spirit of “we pay a living wage” and encourages tenure and commitment from the WA. Hitting 60% will be aspirational in the near future, but we believe this is an obtainable goal in the Austin market and so encourages us all to strive for policy compliance rather than give up as lost.
  5. Addition to board D.3 policy for oversite from the board on the living wage calculator chosen to ensure fair remuneration for years to come.
  6. Please note other elements of the existing D3 policy regarding discrimination, salary ratios and gratuity have not been changed.

Exact wording for your study

Old Language

Living Wage Bylaw:

When financially able, the Co-op shall pay no less than a living wage (determined by the formula of the Universal Living Wage Campaign) to any of its employees.

D.3 Policy:

  • D.3.0 With respect to employment, compensation, and benefits to employees, consultants, contract workers, and volunteers. The Workers’ Assembly shall not cause or allow jeopardy to financial integrity or public image, or discrimination based on race, sex, age, creed, marital status, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, color or disability.
  • D.3.1 The Workers’ Assembly will not allow disparity between the remuneration of any two workers to exceed a ratio of 4:1.
  • D.3.2 The Workers’ Assembly will not accept gratuities to supplement wages paid by the Co-op.

Proposed New Language

Living Wage Bylaw:

When financially able the Co-op shall pay an objectively calculated living wage determined by the formula of an appropriate living wage calculator recommended by the workers assembly

D.3 Policy:

  • D.3.0 With respect to employment, compensation, and benefits to employees, consultants, contract workers, and volunteers. The Workers’ Assembly shall not cause or allow jeopardy to financial integrity or public image, or discrimination based on race, sex, age, creed, marital status, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, color or disability.
  • D.3.1 The Workers’ Assembly will not allow disparity between the remuneration of any two workers to exceed a ratio of 4:1.
  • D.3.2 The Workers’ Assembly will not accept gratuities to supplement wages paid by the Co-op.
  • D.3.3 The Co-Op shall not pay less than a sustainable living wage to all WA members who are members of the voting body.
  • D.3.4 The Co-op will not pay less than a sustainable living wage to more than 40% of the workers assembly.
  • D.3.5 The WA will not go more than 12 months without getting agreement from the board on the living wage calculator that is used.