Friday, 01 August 2014 16:39
By Brandon Kane, General Manager,
Michael Hoysic, Human Resources Manager, and
Dan Hoffman, Council Member
This year marks GreenStar's tenth anniversary of paying a living wage to our employees. Back in January 2004, a GreenLeaf article reported that "GreenStar has become the first retail business of our size in the Ithaca area, and perhaps in New York State, to commit to paying its employees at least a livable wage. We are pleased to announce that, starting in January, our Level 1 entry wage will be $8.21 per hour. That is a 17 percent increase from our 2003 starting wage of $7.00." The state and federal minimum wage was $5.15 at that time.
During these ten years, GreenStar has increased its base wage to match an updated living wage figure every other year, in even numbered years. In 2014, we implemented our latest wage increase, bringing our entry level wage to $11.80/hour, a 44 percent increase from that first living wage in 2004. The state and federal minimum wage today is $7.25.
GreenStar has always been a local leader in the living wage struggle, but now the Co-op suddenly finds itself involved in a debate over what exactly constitutes a living wage.
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 18:40
By Joe Romano, Marketing Manager
What's in a name?
That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
— William Shakespeare
A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
— Gertrude Stein
A kilogram by any other name would weigh as much.
— Bill Nye
In the play "Romeo and Juliet," Juliet uses the logic that Romeo's family name should mean nothing, that their names should not keep them apart if their love is true. We know how badly that ended — names do matter. They have distinct meanings of their own that impart context, history, emotion, distinction, intent, and more, to places, objects, organizations, and people.
Monday, 02 June 2014 15:02
By Kristie Snyder,
When the Women's Community Building was demolished in 2012, GreenStar didn't feel the loss of the community gathering space as keenly as other area organizations. With a recently purchased warehouse property sitting partially vacant, the Co-op simply relocated their Member Meetings and other events (many of which had been held for years at the WCB) to that space. It was hardly inviting — with block walls, bare concrete floors, little to no insulation, and no air conditioning — but it was spacious. Other organizations that had depended on the WCB community room weren't as lucky.
Two years later, GreenStar is opening a new community gathering space — that bare-bones warehouse has been transformed into The Space @ GreenStar, an elegant, 3,420 square-foot gathering space that can accommodate up to 228 people. Outfitted with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment and set up for in-house catering by the GreenStar kitchen, the Space is now available to rent for functions ranging from wedding receptions to business meetings, band performances to birthday parties, church gatherings to art fairs.
The decision to renovate The Space came easily. The Co-op's new central kitchen plan left a portion of the warehouse property at 700 West Buffalo Street empty, while the need in the community for an affordable gathering space was evident. "The loss of the Women's Community Building really created a hole in the community," said GreenStar General Manager Brandon Kane. "That rental space had been used by all sorts of organizations." So the Co-op created The Space — its name kept deliberately vague, so as not to limit the possibilities. In addition to making The Space available to the community, the Co-op will use it for its own events. "We've always been more than just a grocery store," said Joe Romano, GreenStar's Marketing Manager. "Now we actually have a space where we can have events and bring in other community members in a way that just wasn't possible before."
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