Afternoon Jolt

Today's Loser: Eden Foods, the organic giant who was a party to the Hobby Lobby lawsuit against reproductive rights.

Despite two food co-ops' reluctance to take Eden Food's products off their shelves after the organic giant signed off on the anti-choice Hobby Lobby suit (which allows many employers to refuse to pay for certain forms of birth control covered under the Affordable Care Act), customers appear to be voting with their wallets, causing Eden's sales to drop and at least one of the co-ops to stop carrying many Eden products. 

In its ruling earlier this month, the Supreme Court essentially ruled that "closely held" (i.e. not public) corporations should be treated as individual citizens when it comes to religious freedom, giving companies the right to deny employees medical care that conflicts with their owners' personal religious views.

In this case, the companies want to deny female employees coverage for IUDs (which cost up to $1,000 out of pocket), emergency contraception, and other birth control methods that they believe (contrary to science) cause abortion. But the dissenters in the ruling (including all three of the Court's women) argued that it could extend to just about any religious view, allowing companies to refuse to pay for blood transfusions, vaccines, or medical service they deem sinful. 

Last weektwo Seattle food co-ops, PCC Markets and Central Co-Op (the former Madison Market) issued statements saying that they were not pulling Eden products from their shelves, but encouraging customers to "vote with their dollars" by supporting companies whose views they agree with, and avoiding those they don't. 

According to a July 11 letter to Eden Foods from Central Co-Op general manager Dan Arnett, shoppers appear to be doing just that. Since the news about Eden's anti-choice views came out, Arnett wrote, "80 percent of the Eden products on our shelves have failed to keep up with the sales of competing products.

"It is clear that your company has lost support from our community and that people are showing preference to other product lines."

(We have a message out to PCC to see if they're seeing a similar anti-Eden backlash.)

And while Arnett still says Central Co-Op isn't considering an outright ban on Eden products (which, given all the other options, might go virtually unnoticed), he does say that Eden will be moved "down the order of consideration among the options available to us," and that the co-op will only be keeping 20 percent of the Eden products it previously stocked." That's a clear message—and a good start.

 2. Today's winners: Pedestrians all around the city. 

The Seattle Department of Transportation has announced that dozens of new Neighborhood Street Fund (NSF) projects funded by 2006's voter-approved Bridging the Gap levy.

They include new curb bulbs or sidewalks in Capitol Hill, Ballard, and South Wallingford; ADA improvements in Pioneer Square; three pedestrian upgrades along dangerous Rainier Ave. S.; and more.

See the full list on SDOT's web site


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