Eden Foods Vote New Pioneer received a petition signed by more than 100 member-owners seeking a vote on whether to remove Eden Foods products from New Pi shelves. The wording on the ballot is taken directly from the submitted petition. New Pi's bylaws provide for a democratic process that allows member-owners to petition for product line changes. Any such petition must be resolved by a vote. You, as a member-owner of the Co-op, now have the opportunity to vote in favor or against removing Eden Foods products.
What is the concern with Eden Foods? Monday, June 30, 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that some family owned companies with religious objections may opt out of an Affordable Care Act requirement to pay for contraception coverage if the company chooses to offer employee health insurance. Michael Potter, CEO of Eden Foods, had previously filed suit challenging the Affordable Care Act's requirement for contraceptive coverage. With the "Hobby Lobby" decision, the Supreme Court remanded the Eden suit to Sixth Circuit for further consideration – a decision in the Eden case is still pending. Eden Foods’s view on this issue is fundamentally different from New Pioneer’s position as an employer – we do provide contraceptive coverage for our staff as part of our employee benefits package. In response to Eden’s position, we’ve received a lot of feedback from our owners. Some owners have asked that New Pi pull Eden Foods products from our shelves, while others have asked us to keep them. The Co-op serves a large and diverse group of over 31,000 owners, with multiple points of view and opinions. As a cooperative, New Pi has a ballot mechanism in place for our owners to address product line issues in an open and democratic manner.
Here are a few reasons from each side of the discussion:
Why vote ‘yes' to removing Eden Foods products?
Why vote ‘no' and keep Eden Foods products?
Employers should not have the power to selectively deny employees coverage for medical care based on the employer’s religious beliefs. Eden Foods sued the Department of Health and Human Services in a bid to reverse what its founder calls “unconstitutional government overreach.” Eden Foods deserves to hear that shoppers do not support this erosion of women’s access to healthcare. Eden Foods is intruding in its employees’ medical privacy. A companywide boycott of Eden Foods products, accompanied by a letter from Co-op management explaining why, is the most effective way to express support for women’s access to healthcare.
Eden Foods offers a unique and distinguished line of natural and organic products. They have a 40-plus-year track record on organic integrity, domestic sourcing from family farms, and BPA-free packaging. Eden Foods remains one of the few privately held companies in an industry where corporate conglomerates (Coke, Kraft, and Heinz) dominate. It is unclear what impact the Co-op dropping Eden Foods will have on their policies, and shoppers may seek out Eden products elsewhere, costing the Co-op revenue. This issue falls outside New Pi's product policy guidelines and mission statement and therefore should be left to individuals to choose for themselves whether to purchase Eden Foods products or not, as the Co-op generally discontinues products that do not sell. annual report 2014 • www.newpi.coop