Transitions in Member Work

As we prepare to enter a new year, our Member Services Department is preparing to enter the next phase of our Member Worker program.  For a few years, we have been talking about transitioning in-store Member Work out into the community through our Community Outreach Partners. Last fiscal year, our Members worked a total of 20,249 hours and over 58% of this was completed outside of the store, with our Community Outreach Partners. That’s like offering over 5.5 full-time employees to our local non-profit partners for the whole year! We have many reasons for making this transition, mainly some risk management around Department of Labor regulations and the Fair Labor Standards Act as well as offering more opportunities for our Member Workers (we have limited opportunities within the store). You can use the links to earlier articles to read more about this and feel free to call or email with any questions. All in all, this change should benefit Member Workers and Community Outreach Partners!

To get ready for this transition, we recently suspended Member Worker trainings in the Produce, Grocery and Bulk departments. This now limits in-store opportunities for new Member Workers to the Front End.  Our next step in this transition is to stop offering Produce and Front End shifts as part of our Member Worker program starting January 1, 2015.  Shifts in Grocery will end as of February 1, 2015. After these dates, limited in-store Member Worker shifts (generally those that do not duplicate the work of paid staff) will be available (mainly for gardening assistance, demos, and special events like the COTS Tree Sale). 

To prepare for this transition, we are increasing the number of Member Worker shifts available with our Community Outreach Partners. We recently welcomed FRESH FOOD, an enterprise of Vermont Works for Women, as an Outreach Partner. Over the next few months, look for more additions to our Community Outreach program, like the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC).  We are very excited to increase our impact on our community and to offer even more support to our non-profit partners through Member Work!

For more information or questions about signing up for Outreach Member Work, please contact Liz Dykes at or (802) 861 – 9707.