Washtenaw NOW News #2

Washtenaw NOW News

Edition Two, 2/13/2015

Dear Feminist Friends and Allies,

We had a great time at Bona Sera, the quality of the food and beverage being exceeded only by the quality of the conversation!

After a brief business meeting, we launched into a discussion of the problem of Eden foods.  Although they produce a good product, they have adopted the Hobby Lobby approach to denying reproductive health care to their female employees.  As Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said about this issue last week, when discussing the dissent she wrote for the Hobby Lobby decision, one person’s right to throw a punch ends at the tip of the next person’s nose!  The employer’s right to his or her religious beliefs should end where those beliefs begin to interfere with the religious beliefs of their employees.

Two letters on this issue went out last week from Washtenaw NOW, one to the People’s Food Co-op of Ann Arbor, and the other to the Ypsilanti Food Co-op (see attachments) asking that a boycott of Eden Foods be placed on the ballot for the spring annual meetings.   The president of the Ann Arbor  co-op responded that the Board had decided NOT to do this, but that members could petition to do it if they wished.  He neglected to mention that under their current by-laws, the deadline for doing this by petition appears to have already passed.  Your NOW Board has asked whether that deadline might be extended.  The Ypsilanti co-op board meets next Monday at 6:30PM, and one of our members (who is also a member of the co-op) plans to bring the issue up from the floor.  If any of you are also members of the Ypsilanti co-op, please attend that meeting in support of the boycott!  We will keep you informed on what happens.

We discussed potential next steps on Eden Foods, depending upon the results of the above steps.  It may be useful to ask ALL grocers that carry Eden Foods to boycott, not just co-ops.  Bev Fish offered to draft a model resolution that could be shared with other NOW chapters in the state and nationally. Everyone is encouraged to go on the Eden Foods Facebook page and make a comment about the need to cover women’s reproductive health needs.  Meanwhile, we learned that there is an app that helps shoppers determine with their smart phone whether or not the manufacturer of a given product you are considering for purchase has ethical, progressive policies.  This APP is called GOODGUIDE, and it is free.  Try it out and see what you think!

There was a discussion of apps for children, some of which appear to be appallingly stereotypical in their implications of what girl children should find interesting.  Abby Van Bremen offered to do a little research on this topic.  Meanwhile, parents, keep an eye on the apps your children are downloading!

We had quite a discussion on medical leave policies, and in particular on what an ideal policy on bereavement should be for that most tragic of circumstances – the death of a child.  No conclusions were drawn, except that the usual 3 days of leave seem woefully inadequate.

Lastly, we wondered together why the issue of the wage gap between women and men was not a bipartisan issue, and determined to explore the possibility of having  a dialogue with a nearby chapter of the National Federation of Republican Women.  Diedra Bass offered to reach out on this issue and report back .

Our Next Feminist Thursday happy hour will be on March 12th at Bona Sera from 7-9PM.  Hope you can join us!

Cheryl Farmer MD, Convenor and Acting President

Washtenaw NOW

Letters to Presidents of People’s Food Co-Op and Ypsilanti Food Co-Op

Gaia Kile Liz Dahl MacGregor