he Greater Independent Association of
National Travel Services has been in this newspaper's headlines for
three decades, but never like this.
The indefatigable Sue Shapiro, Giants' former president, became
a fixture in the industry as the organization's chief recruiter,
chief negotiator, chief emissary. She became so visible that
everybody knew Sue, even if they didn't.
But the members didn't seem to know that the relationship between
Shapiro and the Giants board had deteriorated to the point of being
You might say it's something of a tribute to Giants that nobody
knew. On the other hand, it hardly reflects well on the
organization that this matter simmered for so long, exploded so
awkwardly and took so many members by surprise.
Nobody doubts that the Giants board, any board, has to be able
to make its decisions without answering to the membership on every
But it seems to us that in a member-owned cooperative, where the
collective gains are distributed as profit-sharing to the
member-owners, the dialogue between the members and the governing
board has to be effective and continuous. At some point in Giants'
recent history, that must have stopped happening.
Now some members say it's time to explore ways to reform the way
the group is governed. Giants should embrace that opportunity. We
note that Shapiro's dismissal coincided with this nation's
observation of a holiday declaring that governments derive their
power from the consent of the governed. We would venture to say it
must be true for co-ops, too.
We will miss seeing Sue Shapiro in her familiar role in the
industry, though we suspect her talents will be making news in
these pages again soon.
And we hope that the board and members of this fine organization
find a way to renew their commitment to everything the word
cooperative stands for.