Rob Baran or Robber Baran? (part 2.)

 Part 1.

The origins of this little gem are unclear. I was handed two hard copies of this, from two different people, on two different occasions, who likely had different motives for passing it along to me, both with differing accounts of how they came to be in possession of it. The how and the why weren’t important. What was important was the potential for low grade strife and discord in this little sacrifice to the Divine Mother.

This floated across my transom during the contentious and ultimately unsuccessful IWW organizing campaign (details here) at the self-described “East End Food Co-op”. The Wobblies were running a pretty clean drive, and against my better judgment, I kept the dirty tricks up the sleeve. The Nixonian, Ravacholian, and even the Alinskian tricks. were personally off the table. I fell into the mindset of the ‘activism 5th amendment’, and sat on my hands because “I didn’t want to create any problems for the organizers”. That just made it easier for management, who weren’t out for a moral victory anyway.

While not indicative of anything that could be classified as ‘illegal’, this email shows the kind of advice that the self-described “co-op” management was receiving from their big money, union busting consultants. This email appears to come in the wake of a press release from the East End Food Co-op Workers Committee announcing the results of clear majority in an independent union authorization “card count”, facilitated by the Thomas Merton Center.

Mr. Baran is either an early riser or was having trouble sleeping as any CEO would, given the circumstances. I’d be lying if I said I’ve never sought the advice of an attorney at 4 am, though.


Bob Braun’s coaching of Rob Baran (say that 5 times fast) on how to compose a press release is beautiful. They even tell him to be sure to mention the phony management created “union”. Hopefully people will quit referring to him as the “manager of a community owned grocery store” which in reality is “a tiny corporation that is sitting on the fence”.


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