Cafeteria Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC)—staff benefit review
On an annual basis, the budget review process includes an evaluation of all expenses for every department, program and service we offer. Managing the fiscal health of the organization requires me to review every line item before presenting a budget for final approval by the Board of Directors. In response to managing the rising cost of Co-op employees’ health care, I appointed a committee of staff members in February 2010 to begin the conversation about how to manage these increases.
The goal of CPAC was to achieve the following: devise and oversee the implementation of a benefits program that flexibly meets staff’s priorities, is straightforward, and financially sustainable and administratively scalable for a growing Co-op.
This has been, by no means, an easy conversation to have, but I applaud the work of this committee, which has put hours into evaluating the state of benefits as a whole.
After two years, the committee has proposed a plan that meets our financial sustainability and maintains what we consider to be a valuable benefit package that meets the long-term health and well-being of our entire organization. While we are close, we are still inviting staff to participate in the conversation. It has been difficult for some staff to agree on which cuts to make and that managing benefit costs could not come at the expense or elimination of other mission-driven
Co-op programs or services. As part of this proposal, the committee has also worked to install measures that would re-instate some benefits should the cost of our health care be reduced.
At this point, we have solicited staff input via two All Worker Meetings at each site (Willy West, Willy East and our Production Kitchen), gathered more feedback on our internal log, and some staff have had individual conversations with committee members about concerns that would directly affect them. The committee has made important discoveries about people’s needs as it pertains to healthcare, which has resulted in revisions to the initial proposal to better meet the needs.
We are now honing in on a final recommendation that will be included in the upcoming fiscal year’s budget with some changes not going into effect until the following calendar year. We have maintained a package of benefits which includes health care coverage, staff discount, 401k matching, paid time-off, and a less restrictive scheduling requirement to qualify for benefits.
During the Board Retreat in February, discussions took place regarding the potential for the 1221 Willy Street location remodel, the strategic initiatives developed by Owners and the Board in 2011, and more future planning. Look for updates online and in the Reader about how the Co-op is achieving our directives to support our Mission, Ends and Co-op policies.
Dates to remember
Sunday, March 11th, both stores will close early at 7:30pm to allow staff to attend our annual celebration.