Tell REI to Bring Back Democratic Elections!
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REI Members unite to bring back democratic Board Elections at the REI Co-Op. This year's election is a sham! The four nominees that REI's leadership have "carefully vetted" for members to vote on, already serve on REI's Board. No matter how members vote this year, the election is rigged so that these nominees will be re-elected — regardless if they are unsuitable candidates for REI's "cooperative" business model.
Only "Active members" (❋) are eligible to vote, disqualifying millions of members and thousands of REI employees from a privilege that should be extended to all of these folks. Unless you made a purchase of $10 or more in 2017 you are not considered an "active member," nor will you be eligible to vote. Moreover, REI's leadership changed the bylaws of the cooperative without telling its membership! They removed the "write-in" option from the ballot — eliminating all but REI's BOD from nominating candidates. In fact, there is nothing about this year's election that is democratic!
Interestingly, a group of REI employees are taking a stand against the way REI's leadership has "co-opted" the Board Elections. They have written well-researched bios for each Board nominee so that members can make an informed decision when casting their votes. They're also proposing something unprecedented this year — they're asking members to cast "withhold votes" for all candidates but one, Steve Lockhart. Should members unite in solidarity with the green vests, REI's Board will have no alternative but to extend this year's election in order to fill three vacant seats. The Board would also have to "rethink" voter eligibility, and add the "write-in" option back onto the ballot.
As a proud and concerned member of REI, I'm urging that members take employees' idea a step further — demand that REI's leadership create a committee to oversee its Board Elections. I propose that this committee be comprised of REI members who have signed this petition, with Steve Lockhart as the presiding Committee Chair. He is the only current Board member who is suitable to serve on REI's BOD. It is paramount that an oversight committee be established to ensure that elections will reflect the democratic values the REI Co-Op was founded on.
Send a loud and clear message to REI's leadership — "We demand that our member-owned cooperative hold democratic elections!" Sign and share my petition and tell REI's leadership to stand by the core values of the Co-Op.
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