Buchi supports their employees in a number of ways

I currently work at Buchi and have never felt more at ease in a working relationship between a supervisor and myself than I do with Jeannine Buscher and Sarah Schomber, the owners of Buchi. I have always had complete confidence in voicing any concerns I have to them without fear of losing my job. They give everything they have to the company and are nowhere near making a living wage themselves. I am certain that their intention was never to cheat or hurt anyone. They are doing the best they can, learning how to run a business as they go.

Up to this point, those working for Buchi were considered independent contractors, but workers are now in the process of becoming employees as the business is growing.

One of the benefits I've always enjoyed is the flexibility in any scheduling needs. If I had other obligations, jobs or had to leave early, Sarah and Jeannine have always accommodated my needs. Another current employee will be taking the whole month of January off to go to a meditation retreat, and she knows she will have her job back when she returns. These are the kind of women who support such inner growth in their employees.

— Paige Foran


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15 thoughts on “Buchi supports their employees in a number of ways

  1. Julie P.

    Its nice to hear your positive experience working at Buchi there after such an obviously one sided article a few weeks ago! It confirms what I hoped and felt the whole time. And I do so love buchi fire!

  2. Isle of Man

    Hard to tell if this letter is shameless brown-nosing (sure is a nice way to set yourself up for future raises/promotions!), or a sincere attempt to set the record straight about the Buchi owners’ character.

    What you don’t see in these defenses of Buchi is any acknowledgment of the story corroborated by several other sources that the girl’s job was supposedly secure, as voiced by the owners during the employee meeting.

  3. Chris

    Reposted from another thread, and important to see here:

    “My name is Sarah Stokes and I have lived in Asheville on and off since 1998, and in that time worked for a number of Asheville’s small employers. I worked at Buchi for two months this fall, and my experience was rewarding, nurturing, and fun. Jeanine and Sarah are two of the most respectful, gentle, and approachable supervisors I have ever had. In the time I worked at Buchi, I developed close friendships with both Sarah and Jeanine, as well as other employees. I also enjoyed meeting and working with Kila, respect her, and consider her a friend.

    In early September, way before the Living Wage issue came up, I had separate conversations with both Jeanine and Sarah about reservations they had with Kila, and it was clear that they were not fully comfortable with her as an employee. My intention in saying this is certainly not to put Kila down, but to make it clear that from my perspective as a fellow employee I don’t believe Kila was fired because she called Living Wage. (Due to pervious travel plans, I no longer worked at Buchi by the time Kila was fired.) In such a small family business, it is imperative to be able to trust and relate well with your staff”

  4. travelah

    If it was not for the seriousness of a very small number of local malcontents seemingly doing their best to harm an eclectic small business in Asheville of all places, this would be funny. Unfortunately, this town’s biggest enemies appear to be ensconced well within it’s own “local” and activist citizenry.

    I don’t drink Buchi but if I did, I’d purchase their product if only because they seem to have a progressive and creative business venture.

  5. karinabird

    Paige and Laura, I hear you but, according to another employee, Geri Littlrjohn, three employees questioned the validity of the label but none of them felt comfortable in questioning the owners at that time.

  6. Breeze

    I am a current Buchi employee and it seems as if I am one of the last to comment on this issue. It saddens me that all of this conversation has to occur on the internet, with the comments of dozens of other concerned friends and consumers without first being addressed and discussed in person among all the owners and employees of Buchi. It is important to realize that there has still not been a meetingBut I feel now that this issue has just been drawn out for way too long and still there has not been a meeting among all owners, employees, and former employee on reaching a resolution and state of peace on this issue. When I was told of Kila’s firing, I was quite shocked, for I had never had any issues with her personality or work performance. I thoroughly enjoyed working with her. If the reasons stated for Kila’s firing were, “personality issues”, I really wish these could have been explained more in depth to the employees, for we were the ones who seemed to have worked with and observed her more often. What do personality issues really mean? And what if I am displaying these characteristics as well and am not aware of them? And what if no one higher up is letting me know about them (as was the case with Kila)? Could I too be fired without warning? Since Kila’s firing, I attest to feeling much more fear and instability in the workplace, especially since the reasons for the firing were not explained in detail to the employees and that none of the employees had filed complaints about Kila.

    I know Buchi has the best intentions in running a business that is more personable and connected as a community and that is why I feel that one of the first steps that needs to occur is an open dialog between all the owners, employees, and former employee of Buchi. There are employees who are still holding confusion, grief, and fear over the results of this issue. I have been fearful to ask for more clarification on this issue for the sake of being seen as ‘taking sides’.

    From skimming the numerous blog entries, it only appears that the reputations of both Buchi and Kila are being furthered battered and destroyed. I think this issue can come to and end if some sort of process occurs for all the employees and owners of Buchi to be a part of. I know Kila wants and needs apologies from the owners of Buchi and that the employees of Buchi also need to feel they are provided with a safe place to express their concerns on this issue.

    There has been discussion about drafting a ‘State of Grace’ Document within the company of Buchi, since this firing has taken place. However, we can not enter into a “state of grace” when we are already on shakey ground and prior issues have not been resolved. For this banter back and forth can not happen just on the internet! I have been resisting to writing because I have been waiting for those who are more responsible for the company to initiate a process of better communication and healing. This has not occurred and instead I have tried to simply push this issue under the rug and can’t do so because I am reminded of my enjoyment working with Kila and the confusion I am still in as to why this firing even took place.

    I know other employees would also be pleased to have a meeting of reconciliation on this issue where formal in person apology can be made to Kila. I am supportive of having a trained mediator assist us in reaching a peaceful resolution and apology. I firmly believe that this needs to happen first, with less time spent trying to save our reputations in the press.

    This issue has definitely presented itself to us in a way in which we all can learn something. As we embark on a new year it seems that we can no longer keep bantering back and forth between who is better, or who is right, understanding that clear communication needs to occur among the staff and owners of Buchi first. I want all of this to end and I want Buchi and Kila to leave the situation holding positive reputations in the community. This can happen and it will happen in the New Year.

  7. geri littlejohn

    When I read Paige’s comment online last week, I encouraged both Jeannine and Sarah to please take a moment right then to set the record straight on this matter, because I saw it as a powerful opportunity to acknowledge an uncomfortable truth and to make a statement about the steps that were being taken to make Buchi a better place to work through the exploration of the State of Grace Document. I encouraged them to take that opportunity to thank Paige for her support, but to acknowledge that three of their employees had, in fact, submitted a letter to them expressing the personal hurt we felt at having a team member fired without warning, the sense of insecurity that this created for us, and the lowered morale that we had been experiencing at work because of the lack of clear communication. They have not taken this opportunity, but I feel that it is essential to speak openly in the hopes that this will help to move us all closer to meaningful dialogue.

    First, I personally want to take a moment and thank the Firestorm Collective for their open letter to Buchi. It was the written assurance in the Buchi owner’s response that employees could speak freely that made me feel that I could finally communicate openly again with people who had been my friends before they were my employers about the many concerns that employees had about the manner in which Kila had been fired without prior communication and after receiving verbal assurances that “she was safe.” It was because of the assertion that we had freedom of assembly that three current employees finally felt secure enough to co-author a letter to Jeannine and Sarah.

    In this letter we asked the owners of Buchi to come to a positive resolution with Kila as this was seen as a necessary step in moving forward in restoring harmony in the workplace. To us this resolution meant a formal apology to Kila, but we chose not to state this as a demand in the hope that they would understand and take this step on their own without delay. I am hopeful that this will happen soon, as we believe in Sarah and Jeannine.

    I want to also thank Sarah and Jeannine for having been responsive to the concerns recently voiced by employees and to the criticism that has been directed towards them in the media. I know it cannot be easy to be juggling the demands of raising children and keeping up with a rapidly growing business and discovering in a very public way that essential things were overlooked in the process. I am grateful that steps have been taken to transform contract laborers into employees. I commend the decision to remove the Certification from the label for the reasons that were brought to your attention by Kila and myself. And I thank you for taking my suggestion that you look into using the State of Grace document as a tool in the workplace and for distributing copies of the quick start guide to all current employees.

    It has not been easy to watch how this has unfolded in the press and on-line. It has not been easy to see accusations made by good people about good people. It has not been easy to continue to work at Buchi while the reputations of people all around have been damaged. I want to restate Kila’s question from her interview on Systemic Effect, “How did this happen?” How did a legitimate question about certification standards lead us to this moment? And what do we as a community want to take from this experience to create safer work-places, more transparancy and greater accountabilty?

    Geri Littlejohn

  8. Lucy Parsons

    no offense but you didnt actually mention any benefits you get, i think flexibility in scheduling might fall under, cool things a manager would do, but not a benefit. benefits are things like, health care, time and a half, sick pay and so on…
    And i hear what you are saying, ive also worked for alot of local businesses, and for alot of nice people with good intentions, but that doesnt excuse them when they are in the wrong.. too often in asheville do nice people go into businesses with out knowing anything about running a business and then it bites them in the a##.

  9. Unless all the workers are masochists, I don’t believe for one minute that all the workers at Buchi are happy being subjected to hierarchy.

  10. An employees pay should be based on what they are worth to their employer, not on their need to buy stuff.

    Thank you “Just Economics” for meddling in the affairs of private business for your own self-congratulatory ends.

  11. travelah

    “An employees pay should be based on what they are worth to their employer, not on their need to buy stuff.”

    I would modify that to state that pay should be what the market will bear for the skills and capabilities of the person offering their services.

  12. polxian

    Gee Tim, that’s why some companies, feeling that their employees are WORTH paying a living wage, VOLUNTARILY associate with Just Economics so that consumers have MORE INFORMATION about a product. I don’t see any meddling in this equation.
    In the 1800’s coal companies used private armies -“police” – to determine how much the employees were worth to their employers. We’ve come a long way since then. Why do you have a problem with people VOLUNTARILY treating each other well?
    I think there’s a little bit more to the equation Tim. But your simple vision is really quite eloquent. With such an insightful view of economics, you should run for office.

  13. Margaret Williams

    @polxian Ditto (play nice). I.e. keep it civil and please avoid sniping at each other. The “Buchi issue” has been and still is a very emotional one for most folks.

  14. polxian

    Oops. Tried to be funny, and ended up being a snarky ass. Sorry Tim, Margaret, and everyone else.

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