TPSS Co-op - Growing Community Thru Food
Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op • 201 Ethan Allen Ave., Takoma Park MD 20912 • 301-891-COOP (2667) • Open Mon-Sat 8 AM - 10 PM, Sun 9 AM - 9 PM


Proposed Boycott of Eden Foods

Member-Owners to Vote on Eden Foods Boycott
October 8th – November 8th, 2014

The Eden Foods Boycott DID NOT pass.

A minimum of 300 votes are required to pass any TPSS boycott with 2/3 (200) members voting in favor of the boycott.

127 members voted for the boycott
19 members voted against the boycott
146 total members voted

Voting on this issue has closed. Results will be posted here as soon as available.

PLEASE NOTE: Member-Owners must vote on the proposed boycott of Eden Foods in person in the store. Only the person named on the membership (not another family or household members) may vote. There will be no on-line voting available.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the statements on this page are not those of the management, staff, nor Board of TPSS Co-op, unless expressly stated as such.

Added on September 23, 2014:
Eden Foods Statement - July 11, 2014
"Prior to the Affordable Care Act, prescription drugs were an opt-in opt-out feature of health insurance plans Eden Foods offered its employees. Since the inception of the Affordable Care Act all employees have all coverages required by the act, even those who do not want it."

Added on September 16, 2014:
Statement from the President of Eden Foods - April 25, 2013
"It is discriminatory that not all employers have to comply with the HHS mandate. Millions of people and thousands of companies are exempt. The exemptions under the Act are illogical, inconsistent, and contributing factors to our lawsuit. For instance, McDonald's Inc. and 166 unions are exempt. Small employers are exempt. Individuals who practice certain faiths are exempt, while individuals who practice other faiths are not. Federal employees are exempt, and this is hypocritical. There is no exemption for the religious freedoms of employers."

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 vinegars, miso).

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 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 the TPSS Co-op Policy Register.

Potential Economic Impact of Boycott of Eden Foods on TPSS Co-Op


Total Sales of Eden Products in 2013

Net Profit

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 court.

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 government overreach.

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 Foods.

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 issue.

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 item.

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 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 lapse.

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 policy.

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 of paper.

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 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.