Washtenaw NOW News #4

Washtenaw NOW News

Edition Four, 3/8/2015

Dear Feminist Friends and Allies,

“Feminist Thursday” is this week, March 12th  from 7-9PM at Bona Sera, on the corner of West Michigan Ave and North Washington Street in Ypsilanti.  What do you think about that pediatrician who refused to care for an infant because the parents were lesbians?  How do you feel about Barbara Mikulski’s decision to leave the U.S. Senate after this term, given how few women we have in that branch of the government?  This is your chance to discuss current events with like-minded people in a relaxing atmosphere over a glass of beer or wine.  The food is great too, if you come hungry!

On Thursday March 19th, we will have a chance to hear why “Poverty has a Female Face” from Dr. Laura Lein, who has studied this issue for her entire career.  If you are a young woman, learn how to avoid aging into the impoverished class!  If you are older and feel like you will never be able to afford to retire, find out how it happened and what you might still be able to do about it!  The meeting will be held at Washtenaw Community College at 7PM, in the Morris Lawrence Building, room 105.  There will be light refreshments.

We all know what “reaction” means, but what is “e-action?”  That’s what your Board is about to ask you to do!

As mentioned in the last update, Eden Foods has adopted the Hobby Lobby approach to cost containment by refusing to provide complete health care coverage for women.  Eden Foods considers contraceptives a “lifestyle drug!”

NOW agrees with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s minority opinion on the Hobby Lobby case:  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.  99% of American women use birth control at some point in their lives!   NOW believes that reproductive health care is essential to women’s health,  and that prescriptions for birth control should be a covered benefit in every health plan.

Last month your Washtenaw NOW board sent letters to both the People’s Food Co-op of Ann Arbor and the Ypsilanti Food Co-op, stating that we believe  stores that continue to carry Eden Food  products are complicit in the unfair treatment of female employees at Eden Foods.  We  asked that a boycott of Eden Foods be put on the ballot for the upcoming annual meetings at both co-ops.

Since then, Washtenaw NOW members who are also co-op members have attended regular meetings at both co-ops, and here is where things stand:

  • The Ypsilanti Food Co-op Board will consider putting a boycott on the ballot if they receive a petition with 50 or more valid signatures.  If you are a member of the co-op, please go on line now and sign the petition! (The petition is now closed.) If you are not a member, but shop there, think about becoming a member!  You can also go on line to: info@ypsifoodcoop.org and leave a comment in support of putting a boycott on the ballot.
  • About 20 members voiced concerns about Eden Foods at the  February meeting of the People’s Food Co-op of Ann Arbor, most of whom were in favor of a boycott.  A community discussion about Eden Foods is in the planning stages, possibly including the Ypsilanti Co-op and a member from Washtenaw NOW on the panel, and a special committee was formed to discuss further actions. If you are a member of the People’s Food Co-op and would like to voice your support for a boycott of Eden Foods, leave a message for their general manager to pass along to the Board here.

Stay warm, and I hope to see you soon!

Cheryl Farmer MD, President

Washtenaw NOW