Member-Owners Boycott Election
October 8th – November 8th, 2014
Vote on the proposed boycott of Eden Foods
TPSS Co-op member-owner Michael Karpman has proposed a boycott of
all Eden Foods products by collecting at least 50 signatures of
member-owners in good standing. All TPSS member-owners may vote
for or against the participation of TPSS in this boycott. The election
will be held October 8th through November 8th 2014. All ballots
must be turned in at TPSS Co-op in person, one vote per member number,
and only the person whose name the share is in may vote.
The reason for the boycott is given in the proposal as:
“Eden Foods is attempting to force their religious beliefs upon
their workers, by denying them health insurance that covers medically
prescribed contraceptives. They are trying to accomplish this through
legal action that challenges the Affordable Care Act, which sets
minimum standards for employee provided health care.”
The products covered by the boycott if it passes will be:
“Beans (canned, dried), cereal, chili, condiments and sweeteners,
Edensoy (all nondairy milk substitutes), Fruit and juices (dried
fruit, fruit juices, fruit sauces and butters), Japanese Traditional
(chips and crackers, miso, sea veggies, mushrooms, pasta, matcha),
oils and vinegars, pasta, rice and beans (canned mixtures of rice
and beans), spices and herbs, teas, whole grains, Tomatoes and Sauerkraut
products, Bulk (fruit and nut mixes, miso, organic beans, oils and
Under TPSS Boycott policy, any boycott remains in effect for one
year unless the terms of the boycott are fulfilled by the boycott
target earlier. If passed, this boycott will be in effect from November
24, 2014 – November 23, 2015 unless: “Eden Foods is certified
to be granting health insurance to its employees in full accordance
with the ACA as originally passed by Congress.”
To be a valid boycott election, at least 300 validated written ballots
must be cast. Approval by a super-majority of two-thirds of the
total number of valid ballots cast is required to enact a boycott.
Supporting or opposing briefs on any boycott proposal may be submitted
by any interested party. One brief on each boycott may be submitted
by any individual or entity. Boycott briefs are limited to one side
of a single letter-sized sheet of paper. Boycott briefs will be
accepted any time before the opening of voting for the boycott election.
To submit a brief, please e-mail Board@tpss.coop or bring it to
the store in an envelope labeled BOYCOTT BRIEF and ask the manager
on duty to give it to the general manager. Briefs will be on display
in the store during the election.
The TPSS Co-op Boycott Policy is Policy G-13 and may be found in
TPSS Co-op Policy Register.
Economic Impact of Boycott of Eden Foods on TPSS Co-Op
POTENTIAL ECONOMIC IMPACT OF BOYCOTT OF EDEN FOODS ON TPPS CO-OP
Total Sales of Eden Products in 2013
Note: There is no way to estimate possible lost sales in general
due to customers shopping elsewhere in order to purchase Eden products.
Eden Foods, the
Affordable Care Act, and TPSS Co-op
(Adapted from a fact sheet distributed by NCGA 7/2/2014))
On 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, has been outspoken on this issue.
The company has a similar case, Eden Foods v. Burwell, pending in
What is Eden Foods’ stance on the Affordable Care Act as
it relates to women’s health care?
Eden Foods objects to a provision of the Affordable Care Act that
requires companies, if they choose to offer health insurance to
their employees, to include coverage of a wide array of contraceptive
choices. Here’s an excerpt from Eden Foods’ statement on the issue:
We believe in a woman's right to decide, and have access
to, all aspects of their health care and reproductive management.
This lawsuit does not block, or intend to block, anyone's
access to health care or reproductive management. This lawsuit
is about protecting religious freedom and stopping the government
from forcing citizens to violate their conscience. We object
to the HHS [Health & Human Services] mandate and its
On March 20, 2013, Eden Foods filed suit against Health & Human
Services, which administers the Affordable Care Act, for the right
to opt out of contraceptive coverage for its employees. The case
is known as Eden Foods, Inc v. Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of Health
and Human Services, but may also be referred to in the media as
Eden Foods v. Burwell or Eden Foods v. Sebelius which is a reference
to Kathleen Sebelius, former Sec. of Health and Human Services.
Eden Foods is among roughly seventy companies who have filed court
cases objecting to contraceptive coverage based on religious objections.
While we at TPSS may personally disagree with Eden’s stance on this
particular issue, it’s important to also consider that Eden Foods
has been an industry leader in maintaining organic standards and
bringing BPA-free packaging to the U.S. market.
What was Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, and how is it expected
to affect Eden Foods’ court case?
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby was a Supreme Court case which was decided
on June 30, 2014. The plaintiffs were Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and
Conestoga Wood Specialties. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of
the plaintiffs, who had refused to pay on religious grounds for
emergency contraceptive pills and intrauterine devices as part of
their companies’ health care plans.
Eden Foods was not a plaintiff in this case, meaning the Supreme
Court has NOT made a ruling specific to Eden Foods. However, in
their Burwell v. Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court ordered the
lower courts to reconsider their earlier decisions against Eden
Some people are calling for a boycott of all Eden Foods
products. What should our co-op’s stance on this issue?
From management’s point of view, TPSS serves a very diverse customer
base, and there are individuals on both sides of any issue. We believe
that we can best serve our community by continuing to focus on providing
healthy foods without taking a stance on the politics of this particular
We also encourage our customers to vote, on this and other issues,
with their dollars by supporting those companies they like and believe
in. When (for any reason) products don’t sell, the co-op stops carrying
them. We are also referring customers to the TPSS Boycott Policy,
which is copied below:
Board Policy G-13: Boycott Policy
Purpose: Boycotts are decisions which are reserved
to the membership of TPSS Co-op, in accordance with Bylaw Article
2.2.B. Because the boycott of any product prevents access to that
product by all TPSS Co-op member-owners, a democratic electoral
process is required to enact any boycott. This policy defines the
terms of any boycott by TPSS Co-op.
Scope: This boycott policy shall apply to the Co-op
as a whole and to each of its stores (operating businesses) individually,
unless explicitly defined otherwise in a specific policy.
Definition: A boycott prevents the Co-op from purchasing
the boycotted item while the boycott is in effect. Unless otherwise
stated, goods in inventory may be sold at market or discounted prices
but not restocked. Failure of a proposed boycott to be enacted by
the member-owners does not require TPSS Co-op to stock or sell any
Boycott Elections: Any boycott must be enacted
by the member-owners in a written-ballot election. Approval by a
super-majority is required to enact a boycott. The super-majority
required is two-thirds of the total number of valid ballots cast
in the boycott election.
A written-ballot boycott election shall be scheduled by the Board
at least once a year, unless no completed boycott proposals are
pending. A boycott election must be announced at least 60 days before
voting commences. Voting for boycotts must be open for at least
fourteen days and may be held in conjunction with any TPSS Co-op
election. Ballots for boycotts must be cast in-person in any of
the TPSS Co-op stores. Numerical results of any boycott election
shall be posted in each store and on the tpss.coop website, with
a list of all boycotts in effect.
Boycott Election Quorum: To be a valid boycott
election, at least 300 validated ballots must be cast. If the required
number of validated ballots are not cast, no boycotts are authorized
in the elections and authorization for any existing boycotts may
Boycott Term: Any boycott remains in effect for
one year unless the terms of the boycott are fulfilled by the boycott
target earlier. Boycotts may be sustained longer than one year if
re-enacted by TPSS Co-op member-owners annually as defined in this
Boycott Eligibility: Boycotts may be enacted against
a specified product, brand or manufacturer. If a corporation is
a boycott target, the boycott proposal must list the brands affected.
Boycott Proposals: Boycotts may be proposed by
any member in good standing. Completed boycott proposals are to
be submitted to the Board. Boycotts may be proposed against a specified
product, brand or manufacturer. Completed boycott proposals may
be submitted until 60 days before the opening of a scheduled boycott
election. Boycott proposals must state the reason for the boycott,
the target of the boycott and the address and contact information
of the boycott target. Boycott proposals may specify a mechanism
to end a boycott before its annual expiration. Boycott proposal
statements are limited to one side of a single letter-sized sheet
Boycott Petitions: To be complete, a boycott proposal
must include a petition supporting the boycott with the signatures
of at least 50 member-owners in good standing.
Boycott Target Notification: After a valid boycott
proposal is submitted, the boycott target must be notified of the
boycott at least 30 days before the opening of voting in the boycott
election. Notification of boycott targets must include the boycott
proposal and a copy of the TPSS Co-op Boycott Policy. Boycott targets
may submit a response to the boycott proposal. Responses will be
accepted any time before the opening of voting for the boycott election.
Boycott Effect on Revenues: After a valid boycott
proposal is submitted, TPSS Co-op staff must issue a statement estimating
the total Co-op previous year sales and profits for the products
expected to be affected by the proposed boycott.
Boycott Briefs: Supporting or opposing briefs on
any boycott proposal may be submitted by any interested party. One
brief on each boycott may be submitted by any individual or entity.
Boycott briefs are limited to one side of a single letter-sized
sheet of paper. Boycott briefs will be accepted any time before
the opening of voting for the boycott election.
Boycott Information: Each valid boycott proposal
must be available for inspection in each TPSS Co-op store, with
any relevant responses from the boycott target, any supporting or
opposing briefs, and the TPSS Co-op Statement of Affected Revenues.
Notification of Membership: The membership is to
be notified of proposed boycotts at least sixty days before the
boycott election. The membership shall be notified of a pending
boycott election in compliance with Policy MC-3, with minimum notification
comprising posting of notices in each store, on the tpss.coop website,
and in any regularly-issued newsletter. Notification of boycott
issues may be made in conjunction with other Co-op election or membership-meeting
notifications in compliance with Bylaw 5.5
Annual Policy Reauthorization: To assure that this
boycott policy is appropriate for current conditions, the board
shall review and reauthorize this policy annually.