Retired Labor lawyer, professor
A member of the Coop since its inception, I shop at the store nearly every day. In it’s early years my wife and I were volunteer workers at the coop. I have been on the Coop Board for one term and currently serve as vice-president of the Board. Prior to serving on the Coop Board I was involved in community efforts to assure the Coop would survive development of Takoma junction.
I have served on several Boards of public interest organizations including; the Board of Advisors to the Browning Fund, a non-profit that encourages law students to consider working for the labor movement; the Advisory Board the Labor Research and Action Network, a group I helped form that has created a network of union staff and academics interested in helping build the labor movement. I have worked with many unions and worker organizations on community based campaigns.
Elisabeth Irwin HS, 1965
Swarthmore College, 1969
Rutgers Law School, 1974
Why are you interested in serving on the Board?
As a Co-op Board member for nearly three years, currently serving as the Board vice-president, I have learned a great deal about the Co-op and the challenges it faces. The Co-op continues to thrive in a challenging competitive environment, providing important food choices to our community. I have been impressed with the new management’s and excellent staff’s efforts to maintain and build on the Coop’s significant success. I have felt privileged to be a member of a Board that has sought to provide support and assistance to these efforts.
I’m excited about the Coop’s plans for the future and recognize that accomplishing its goals will require active participation of the Board and the member owners. I'd like to be a part of those efforts by serving on the Board for another term. I want to continue to contribute what I can to assure the Coop’s continued vitality and success.
What experience or involvement have you had with the TPSS Food Co-op or other cooperative enterprises or Boards of Directors?
A member of the Coop since it’s inception, I shop at the Co-op nearly every day and have long appreciated its presence in the community. In it’s early years my wife and I were volunteer workers at the coop. I have been on the Coop Board for one term and currently serve as vice-president of the Board.
I have served on several Boards of public interest organizations including; the Board of Advisors to the Browning Fund, a non-profit that encourages law students to consider working for the labor movement; the Advisory Board of the Labor Research and Action Network, a group I helped form that has created a network of union staff and academics interested in helping build the labor movement. Over the years I have worked with other unions and worker organizations on community based campaigns.
What skills, qualities, formal training, education, or professional or volunteer experience would you bring that directly contribute to the mission of the TPSS Food Co-op?
During my tenure on the Co-op Board, I have been involved in the many challenges the Board has faced, including navigating a change in management leadership and negotiation of a mediation agreement with the developer the City has approved to build on the lot adjacent to the Coop. I’ve also chaired the Board’s membership committee and served on the Board’s elections committee.
I have experience leading both small and large organizations. I lead the staff of the US House, Labor-Management Relations Subcommittee for 17 years and served as General Counsel of the NLRB during the Clinton administration. For 14 years, I was a visiting professor and senior fellow at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. I have worked on several local, national and international campaigns for worker rights, two U.S. presidential transitions, and campaigns for immigration reform. Prior to serving on the Coop Board I was also involved in community efforts to assure the Coop would survive development of Takoma junction.
What is your favorite Co-operative Principle and why?
Building community based organizations that are sustainable and meet important community needs. Serving on the Coop Board as well as my experience in working on efforts to build worker and immigrant organizations has helped me understand the importance of community based organizations and the role they can play in creating livable, vibrant communities. Because I live in the community served by the Coop, I want to be part of bringing this principle to life.
Is there anything else you’d like to share or address?
This is an important moment for the Coop. With the new management team and the development of Takoma Junction, there is an opportunity for the Coop to continue to grow and become an even more valuable part of our community. I’ve lived on Sycamore Ave for more than 40 years and I’m excited about what the Coop has accomplished and it’s plans for the future. I would be grateful for the chance to continue contributing to the success of such a vital community organization about which I care so deeply.