Grousing Over Groceries

Grousing Over Groceries

"It seems like there isn't accountability anymore. I'd hate to see [the Co-op] go in a direction without people being aware." A deli associate at the Co-op, Forrest Martsch had only worked at the grocery store for approximately 6 months, but had already formed a strong bond with Deli Manager Melissa Craft, whom she said at one point offered to take care of her young son during one of Martsch's shifts to help lighten the load. "Melissa was just one of the best bosses I've ever had the experience of working with," she said. When the Co-op fired Craft on Aug. 30, Martsch quit on the spot, as did another of Craft's subordinates, Molly Malone. According to emails obtained by Boise Weekly between Craft and Co-op Director of Human Resources Emilie Schossow, tensions rose between Craft and her employer because of "failure to work respectfully" with the new Culinary Director Jin Yang, and "demonstrated insubordination." Craft, however, said her firing had more to do with disagreements over policy under the Co-op's new leadership—policies she said depart from what Co-op employees and customers have come to expect. "It seems like there isn't accountability anymore," she said. "I'd hate to see [the Co-op] go in a direction without people being aware." As a direct result of Craft's ouster, two employees have quit, but the trajectory of the grocer under its first CEO, Michelle Andersen, has resulted in the elimination of two other positions: those of the Employee Communications Handling Officer (ECHO), an employee-management liaison job held by Jerry Jarrett, and the relatively new position of training coordinator held by Tracy Labraaten. Jarrett still works for the Co-op, having been rehoused across two departments. Labraaten said her job was meant to standardize and improve skill sets among employees at both Co-op locations, but added she got little administrative support under Andersen. Eventually, she was fired. "I was told it didn't have anything to do with me, but she had decided to restructure the organization and they no longer needed me," she said. "I was in love with what the Co-op stood for, and I never imagined this would happen here." For Jarrett, the elimination of the ECHO position was a blow to transparency. In an email, he wrote that the position provided an important link between Co-op leaders and workers, and he willingly left that role rather than risk being fired for openly voicing the concerns of employees. Soon afterward, the position was eliminated entirely. "[Management] wanted someone more to give the idea that…

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