The Workers' Paradise A Discussion of Workers Cooperatives and Building the New Economy

August 24, 2010

The Co-operative Index

One of the last workshops of the National Worker Co-operative Conference introduced the Co-operative Index to a United States audience. Before going into the details of this tool, it needs to have a bit of the history explained.

In 2005, Johnston Birchall addressed the International Co-operative community. It was the occasion of the the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Statement on the Co-operative Identity. Prof. Birchall called for the community to “operationalize” the statement. In effect, to take the document off of the wall and out from under glass and make it part of the day-to-day decision-making process of our co-operatives. He used a phrase that had already started spreading around the movement: “market the co-operative advantage” or MOCA. However, he also used another phrase: “Managing the co-operative difference.” Birchall argued that we really can’t create a co-operative competitive advantage until we manage our co-operatives differently from our competitors.

In 2003, the St. Mary’s MMCCU program had begun towards this end, but the rest of the co-operative world had yet to really embrace the statement. It needed a push and Birchall gave it one. The folks at St. Mary’s also heard his call. While they were busy improving their Master program, they were also looking for opportunities to highlight the co-op difference and create the competitive advantage.

John Chamard, Sonja Novkovic and Tom Webb discovered a Polish professor of organizational psychology who had developed a method of measuring participatory workplaces with an eye towards helping them to improve themselves. His name is Ryzard Stocki and he created the Open Index as a tool for non-profits to measure themselves against their ideals. It was decided to see if such a tool could be developed for co-operatives and that the best sector to start with was the worker co-op sector. In 2008, the St. Mary’s team brought together a group of Co-op developers from Canada and worker co-op practitioners. I was one of the participants in a weekend long session of developing an “ideal” worker co-operative against which we could measure real world worker co-operatives. It was an exciting, and at times frustrating, process. In the end, we created a framework for a diagnostic tool that worker co-operatives could use that was different than tools such as the SA8000, World Blu Democratic workplace survey, or other such measurements. At the New Orleans meeting of the US Federation of Worker Co-operatives, the Federation membership agreed to support it.

We based our tool on the Identity Statement and the principles of Mondragon that go beyond the identity statement (sovereignty of labor, subordinate nature of capital, payment solidarity, and participatory management). The tool was fine-tuned and then put into the field to test its effectiveness. After the initial attempts were made, the reports were analyzed and the tool was fine tuned. It is now ready for a mass distribution. The workshop was its official exposure to a US audience.

What is the Tool?

The tool is a lengthy survey designed to measure the perceptions of immediate stakeholders in a worker co-operative (separating those who identify as “leaders” with those who identify as “rank-and-file”). It asks questions designed to rate the ability of the cooperative to meet its obligations under the identity statement: Values, Ethics, Principles as well as its organizational ability to meet its members’ needs. It creates an index for the co-operative to measure across time and, eventually, will create an index to measure against other worker co-operatives.

There are two methods of using the tool. It can be used for a very brief snap shot of the “state of the cooperative” or it can be part of a more intensive triangulation of issues facing the cooperative. In either case, it can, and should, help influence strategic planning, education, training, and leadership development. At the national and international level, it can help planner determine workshop needs and membership needs.

The first method is the simplest and cheapest. The co-operative works with someone from St. Mary’s to set up the survey (more information is available from either the US Federation or the Canadian Worker Cooperative Federation). The co-operative participates with a very real goal of 100% participation by its members. The assistant helps produce a report that distills the scores on a maturity index for the different segments: values, organizational, principles, etc.

The more involved method involves have the assistant work with a small committee of the co-operative. this could be the social audit committee or the strategic planning committee. Ideally, it is a committee of members representing the cooperative stakeholders (i.e. not all directors, or all rank-and-file). The survey gets completed as before, but the adviser also helps the committee build a document base to examine how the perceptions of the survey interact with actual policy and practice of the co-operative. This allows the committee to make solid recommendations on structure, operations, and governance as a means of improving the co-operative along the maturity curve.

Ideally, a co-operative might do the full process every three to five years and the short process annually. Obviously, the size and nature of the co-operative will make some differences in the process. However, even smaller co-operatives might find that they have a disconnect between groups within the co-operative.

This tool can help co-ops dig below the surface issues to get at root causes of problems and provide strong solutions. On the other hand, the tool can help co-operatives see where their strengths are and help them learn to share those strengths with other co-operatives.

The initial work on this tool has been so successful and the support for it so enthusiastic that the Canadian Co-operative Association received a substantial grant to design similar tools for the other sectors. The call the overall project “Measuring the Co-operative Difference Research Network”. Hit the link for more details.

With the development of the Democracy at Work Network of peer advisers coming on-line in January and the advent of the Co-op Index Tool, Federation member co-operatives and all worker co-operatives in Canada and the United States will have a powerful means of analyzing their processes, their policies and the functioning of their co-operative as a co-operative. This, in turn, will allow them to not just “manage the co-operative difference” but create a strong competitive advantage for themselves and other worker co-ops. This project is exactly, in my opinion, the sort of thing that the Federation was founded to accomplish. It allows us to bring our considerable brain power together in an act of mutual self-help and solidarity with the goal of creating strong sustainable workplaces and communities.

August 18, 2010

Marketing the Coop Advantage in a Worker Coop

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — John McNamara @ 10:21 pm

For many years now, we have been taking about doing this. However, in general this refers to focusing on the first three principles of the Cooperative Identity often referred to in the United States as “The User Principles.” This works because the users are the owners and the advantage of membership is a comparative advantage in the marketplace. But where is the advantage for a worker cooperative where the users of the cooperatives goods or services may not be members?

This was the topic of my first presentation at the US Federation of Worker Cooperative National Worker Cooperative Conference. It was also the topic of my Master project to earn my MMCCU. I created a model for how to create this advantage and then used the example of Union Cab of Madison Coop (my coop) and the Interfaith Program of Equal Exchange. We then opened up the discussion to see how the people in the room might develop advantages for their consumers. This goes beyond simple discounting. It also goes beyond appealing to people’s do-gooderism. It involves doing what cooperatives do: filling a void in the marketplace that our competitors either won’t or can’t fill.

In the lead up to the discussion, I presented two models. This first is called the Worker Cooperative Success Chain: Ugh. I can’t seem to find a way to post the image, so you will have to wait to see it.

This chain is based on a similar model for consumer cooperatives created by Bob Burlton. I first learned of it at the MMCCU orientation and was likely presenting it at the same time that Bob was to the current cohort. It emphasizes that the internal infrastructure of the cooperative needs support. Our principles of Education, Information and Training lead to a well trained staff. This leads to a loyal staff which creates customer value. In the consumer world, “customer value” translates to ownership culture and membership. In a worker cooperative, loyal staff translates into ownership culture and membership. Thus, the MOCA is essentially the same. Maximize the ownership culture and it creates a  value-added service for the consumer which, in turn, creates a strong and sustainable cooperative.

The second model that I presented goes into more detail. It deconstructs the traditional model of “relationship marketing” in which the organization of the corporation focuses on the consumer. The worker coop model still does that; however, it shows the relationship between the stakeholder groups of the cooperative and the community. Consumers remain at the middle, but there is a tension between them and the front-line workers. This tension may be good or bad depending on the culture of the organization, the industry, and the willingness to engage. Likewise, the frontline worker/owners engage in a similar tension with their support stakeholder group (back of the house operations, management, IT, etc) although this relationship is bolstered through the governance process. Finally, the outer ring of stakeholders (vendors, the community and the government) have an equal tension with the cooperative as a whole. This model shows the complicated world that worker cooperatives navigate and why an ownership culture can make these relationships transforming.

I think is is a very pretty model, but can’t seem to find a means to post it tonight.

For Union Cab, the means of expressing the cooperative advantage involved two processes. The first was a complete redesign on the dispute resolution process. The cooperative spent over a year seeking member opinion, examining what worked, thinking about why other things didn’t work, held forums, and finally developed a new system that replacing the patronizing system used by most cab companies (go tell the Boss (Dad) that your co-worker should be punished) with a system that encourages members to hold each other accountable for the good will of the cooperative in a collegiate manner. We replaced the GM in discipline (or will after a period of education) with a Review Council. We created a means for owners to feel like owners and act like owners.  That was the internal part of the dynamic. On the external front, we created a program to ally individual members with individual consumers. We are using that tension between the member stakeholder and consumer stakeholder to give the consumer an advocate and voice inside our cooperative. This helps balance the Success Chain. It further creates ownership culture. The external effort and the internal effort support each other. This creates a greater sense of community inside and provides a value-added effect that would be difficult for the competitors to duplicate.

At Equal Exchange, they engaged in an Interfaith Program. I cannot do their system justice to what my co-presenter, Aaron Dawson described. It is an incredible program that links farmers in the developing world to interfaith communities in the United States. It creates fundraising opportunities as well as making real connections.

In the final analysis, if we aren’t really different from our competitors, we are just collectivized capitalists–pirates. We form our worker coops to create good sustainable jobs, but the coop movement is more than that. We must be about creating sustainable communities. We must offer a real cooperative advantage to our consumers. We have to see our consumers as our primary ally in the marketplace. If we do, we have the opportunity to transform our community and ourselves into something quite remarkable. If we don’t we might be better off in an ESOP and will likely be relegated to the ashheap of history.

August 17, 2010

EdVisions Schools–Workplace and Educational Democracy

Filed under: Education,Management,Worker Rights — Tags: , , — John McNamara @ 10:11 pm

One of the great treats at a national worker coop conference is to learn about the incredible stories that exist. It is easy, sitting in our cooperatives at home, to imagine a world where we are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Then we come to a conference and get our mind blown–not just once, or twice, but several times.

One such event was learning of EdVisions. I had heard rumors of these folks. Located in the mystical Mississippi Valley of Southern Minnesota. They seemed like fairies from the days of Shakespeare’s England creating a magical place of learning and excitement. Needless to say, all we ever heard were the rumors of their existence. They are, after all, Charter Schools. Charter Schools, much like those fairies of Shakespeare are a dual edged sword as willing to spoil milk and ruin harvests as to help a poor Shepard. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the main stream media can’t figure out EdVisions as they don’t fit into the narrative of Charter Schools, School Reform, and Neo-liberalism.

As it was, I ended up sitting next to the Dee Grover Thomas, Principal of the flagship school: New Country Day School. She gave me a bit of a heads up for her speech. It was an incredible talk (I hope that this is an appropriate time to apologize for my grammar and spelling to Dee and my English teachers).

Ever the teacher, she asked the audience what they would like to study. Amazingly, the reply was “co-operatives!” she then asked if that would require history? yes. Writing? Yes. Math? yes. Art? yes. The point being that the core subjects can be worked into any field of study.

Rather than my telling you what they are about, here is their statement: “The belief is that teacher leadership is not about power, but about mobilizing the largely untapped attributes of teachers to strengthen student performance by working collaboratively in a shared capacity. Cooperatives are about working collaboratively and sharing in planning, action, and in results. Cooperatives are democratically owned and managed. The founders of EdVisions Cooperative believe in teacher voice and teacher empowerment. They also believe in modeling democratic action as a means toward teaching adolescents how to live in a democracy.”

Here is the problem that the market was dealing with:

  • Estimated 50% of teachers resign with in the first 5 years
  • Teaching is a non-promotion job only promotion to administration
  • Schools are losing 1 of 3 students to drop outs each yeas
  • Schools are seldom democratic
  • Teachers are not seen as professionals and little ed entrepreneurship has happened. Schools look and act the same today as they did 50 years ago.
  • She noted that The TSB kids, despite what they are doing, still have to raise their hand to go to the bathroom—that is messed up!

Minnesota New Country School as established in 1994.

  • Got rid of bells and classes or employees
  • 120 students 6-12
  • 40% special ed/35% low income

Project based learning—the ask the student what they are interested in (what turns them on) and then they apply to core principles (history, language, math, science, art)

School should be arranged like life—we don’t spend exactly 45 minutes on the math part of our jobs and then move to the writing part for another 45 minutes, so why do we run schools this way.

They chose to limit the school size to 120 students to keep a sense of community

Student ownership of their education with teachers as guides on the side.

It is more about learning than about teaching. They have to design their project and have to sit down with three adults and defend their project. At  the end, they sit down with three adults to show what they have learned. Sometimes, they have to unlearn before they can begin to learn.

EdVisions Cooperative

What would happen if teachers became owners instead of employees? Would they look at teaching differently? Eliminate the “us” vs. “them” in the battle between teachers and administration and parents.

Started with one school (MNCS) and 13 owners.  Today: 12 members schools and 3 affiliated non-profits, 150 members and 8.6 million budget, (the non-profits help to fund the school through different mechanisms).

Expected Behavior

  • Collaboration—build and sustain strong professional relationships
  • Civility—respect, dignity, kindness (train on restorative justice)
  • Communication—clear ideas
  • Co-creation—everyone plays a role
  • Accountability—every members assumes responsibility for the organization’s performance
  • Commitment to improvement and development.

Desired Ends

  • Take charge of professional lives (normal school dictates to the teachers)
  • Accountability for the learning program
  • Embrace change—technology, cell phones, communication.
  • Gain independence
  • Be leaders
  • Be able to contribute to each others’ professional development
  • Become Owners.

I’ll give Dee a lot of credit. She got some tough questions about labor unions*, the lack of sports programming, and others. Also note the number of special ed and lower income children. This isn’t a school designed (as mine was) to replace the aristocracy of corporate Vice-Presidents, this is about fundamentally changing the way we educate in this country.

It reminds of a certain Spanish priest who believed that the workers’ kids could be just as productive with their mind as the bosses’ kids. Those kids grew up to create Mondragon. The work of EdVest clearly makes the 5th Principle of Cooperatives as active as it can be. The have taken the cooperative economic model with an educational element and truly made it an educational model with an economic element.

If the Charter Schools were all like EdVisions, I would be on the front-line pushing for more. This is a fantastic model.

*Her response to the Union question? She said that the teachers are free to join the union, but don’t want to. Further, what she would like to see is for the union to start opening and running their own schools just like EdVision did.

Democracy and Voting

Filed under: Uncategorized — John McNamara @ 9:49 pm

Dear Readers:

I try not to double post. I really try to keep The Workers’ Paradise focused on worker cooperatives and our role in the labor movement. I try to to keep Breathing Lessons on the larger cooperative movement, society and personal relations. Interestingly, they merged together. Please visit Breathing Lessons for my thoughts on democracy and voting in cooperatives.

I plan to keep plugging away on the Conference posts. . .

August 16, 2010

Compassion in Worker Cooperatives

Filed under: Movement — Tags: — John McNamara @ 10:49 am

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I wandered into the meeting room. The description discussed the important role of compassion in dealing with conflicts as opposed to the more common acts of assigning blame.

It was led by Michael Johnson who is part of the Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives, GEO and has been living in an intentional community for 30 years. Part of this workshop was based on his real-life experiences in attempting to find more productive methods of resolving conflict.

At the core of this workshop lies the idea that if we really want to create a different workplace, then we need to really change the manner of our interactions. Of course, this is also the line of thought that Don Arizmenidiaretta, the spiritual founder of Mondragon, followed for his entire life. The Basque Don saw worker cooperatives as a means of social and human transformation. He saw our cooperative movement as the method by which people would not only have a job that treated them well, but would learn the value of humanity and become better humans through the process.

In the somewhat cynical world of secular economics, we don’t always consider that aspect of our movement. This is a shame, because without that guiding ideal, we tend to mirror the dominant world’s attitude of human resources, and problem solving. We see people who don’t play well with others as threats to the organization and respond appropriately. We can even see people who hold a different opinion as threats. We need a different method.

Michael, of course, recognizes that some people aren’t ready for cooperation and communalism. The organization has to remain healthy. The difference, he suggested, is developing a means of active listening and a culture of compassion. Try to understand the other person’s point-of-view. We may find more commonality than difference. Even if the person still needs to leave the organization, both parties may obtain positive lessons and grow from the experience.

It was an very interesting discussion to have on only a few hours of sleep! There are many quotes from Arizmendiaretta on the human nature of our cooperatives, but I think that this gets at the core of this workshop: “The human person that proceeds to cultivate his or her abilities with the only objective of being productive, insensibly and fatally becomes a slave to the productive machine.” I take from that comment  and the workshop hat we have a duty to ourselves to go beyond “policies” and reach out to the humans in our coops. It doesn’t mean that we should tolerate selfish and anti-cooperative behavior, but we should take the time and effort to see our humanity reflected in our co-workers even if the experience involves asking them to change their behavior or leave the cooperative.

August 12, 2010

Stay Tuned. . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — John McNamara @ 1:20 pm

I just got back from San Francisco. I gained two hours and 30 degrees. Tonight my goal is to spend time with my sweetie who I haven’t seen in a week and sweat through a 100 degree heat index apartment.
I will continue coverage of the Conference later. I will cover the following
Compassion in coops
EdVest Schools
Marketing the Coop Advantage (my presentation)
the Coop Index
Summary of the Meeting
The Democracy at Work Network
A general summary of the Bay Area Conference

The next posts will be up on Sunday and Monday. Saturday is the Great Taste of the Midwest and the biggest event of the summer, so I will be working late.

August 8, 2010

The Youth Movement in Worker Coops: Toxic Soil Busters

Filed under: Movement — Tags: , — John McNamara @ 1:19 pm

So what do you do when you find your neighborhood is full of lead from a by-gone era? Teens in Massachusetts decided to get busy and make some money on the side.

The Toxic Soil Busters are a youth cooperative. These are “youth” in terms of age. They are located in Worchester, MA. They work to clean the soli of their community of the lead paint that was so heavily used by during the industrial age of this area. Since lead poisoning effects children in a more severe manner than adults (although still dangerous), this coop is essentially young people (non-adults) helping to clean the community of lead to help the generation behind them.

This isn’t some high school science project led by a kindly teacher. This is a business owned, controlled and managed by its members who just happen to be teenagers. They do the testing, they do the removal. More importantly, they make the decisions on how to organize and run the business.

I’ve been hearing about these folks for a little over a year, but they have been active since 2005 and have cleaned 36 properties. They use pyto-plant remediation to remove the lead from the soil. The plats pull the lead out of the dirt and the soil busters take the plants away.

It was a great presentation. Janeazzii (I hope that I have that spelled right) lead the group in a chant: TSB Profit? In Lead with Stop it!

She then told her story about finding TSB and learning. They do the interviewing for new hires (youth interviewing youth), they do the hiring and, if neccessary, they do the firing. They manage their own capital and they find incredilbe learning opportunities (including how to deal with conflict). They discussed a scenario in which a person just wanted the money; however, they did talk about the conflict of friendships and other pressures that all of us deal with in our cooperatives. They don’t turn this over to a mentor, they deal with it themselves.

The experience has led to greater community activism (I have to note, that since the job starts with cleaning the land, it seems quite natural that natural for this to expand outwards). This is a great lesson for our cooperatives of much older members. We need to make the connection between having good jobs, clean land, and social justice.

Patricia was next. She noted that TSB debunks the myth that teenagers only care about shopping, eating and sleeping. If young people are our future, then why don’t we treat them like it.  Teenagers see a void in the world where they are considered and to fill this void, they look for a way to belong. She noted that why she can handle these responsibilities, she can’t write a check, nor can she serve on the US Federaton of Worker Cooperatives board of directors.*

TSB is a space where teens and youth can find a space and feel involved. It is a place for them to find power and their voice. TSB strengthens their community and joins with other organizations regionally and nationally.

The Toxic Soli Busters’ received the second standing ovation of the day (the Evergreen Initiative was first).

The first question, how to export this. They suggest to make sure that you allow the youth to talk.

Do people age out (the Logan’s Run question)? The two that are leaving (for college) will be training the new hires. They aren’t leaving with their experience, they are leaving that behind. One of the founders who is in college acts in a mentor role.

A question about legal age to work. In Mass, the legal age is 14 and the TSB are talking about creating a mentoring program to help younger people interested in the work.

*As president of the USFWC, I will say that our had a spirited discussion, but recognized that we didn’t really have a process to deal with it. We agreed that we need to create a process. We have committed to changing the by-laws to make space for youth on our board by our next membershing meeting in Austin, TX in 2011 and have invited Patricia to participate in our meetings this year.

August 7, 2010

Deep Thoughts on Coops

Filed under: Movement — Tags: , — John McNamara @ 3:10 pm

“Cooperation summons people to a collective project, but leaves each person with his or her own responsibility. Cooperation is the development of the individual, not against others, but with others. The objective is the human person, not the monstrous development of the individualist who is determined to, or at least at constant risk of , crushing other. Rather the objective is the development of what is the best and most sacred within each human person. Cooperation is something that is close to humans. Cooperativist philosophy rejects both the collectivist and the liberal conceptions of the human natures. It recognizes instead the unique value of the human person, but insists that this person cannot be totally him or herself until entering into creative as well as spiritually and materially productive relationshps with the worlh  or she is part.” –Don Jsoé María Arizmendiarrieta (spiritual founder and leader on Mondragon Coopertive)

This statement provided the basis for this workshop at the US Federation of Worker Cooperative National Conference. The title of the workershop, Deeper Meanings of Cooperation, was meant to get at the society of our cooperatives and, as facilitator Rebecca Kemble noted, how we refashion ourselves as humans and deal with co-workers who either won’t or can’t refashion themselves.”.

It was a round-table discussion that focused on the issues of self-responsibiitiy and self-help. We discussed how we work with conflict in our cooperatives and how we manage disputes. Part of this discussion involved the reason that people choose coopeatives. While some come to the coop movement out of a desire to work in a democratic environemnt, others come becuase the coop succeeds in providing good jobs and benefits for the industry. As Adam Chern of Union Cab pointed out that it isn’t neccessarily discussed in the lofty terms of coops but in the simple concepts of thsoe who see the need for long-term sustainability and those that want short-term gains. It reminded me of the analogy of the the Grasshoppoer and the Ant. These are two very different world views and as coop leaders, we need to figure out how to manage them.

There was a lot of discussion about creating strong educational programs and better communication structures. Lisa Russell from Equal Exchange noted a cultural part of our country. In her travels with EE, farmers in Salvador noted taht the Americans talk in small groups in the hallway, but stay silent in meetings. While the farmers make a point of airing their differences and working them out.

Peter Hough of the Canadian Worker Cooperative Federation noted that conflict may also result from the lack of a formal business plan and vision of the organization while John Langley suggested that we also need to recognize that “getting rid of the boss” doesn’t ensure change. Further, that people may start out with very idealistic goals but can gravitate towards a narrow self-interest.

There are a number of great comments along these lines. We ended the session with a discussion about pay levels and how that can create conflict when it seems to run counter to the vision or ideal of cooperatives. We also discused the cultural differnece between physical and intellectual labor. This drifted into a discussion of the social capital that we create. Not all of the wealth is financial. We need to find a way to reach out to those that only see the financial and help them see the social capital that they build.

I felt that we were getting at a lot of issues in our cooperatives. How do we create a truly meaningul community and society within a larger paradigm that seems to champion the antithesis of our values, ethics, and principles. One person suggested that the tension between capitalism and cooperation can be a good thing and help us impove.

Ultimately, I think that our discussion was getting at the concept of Entropy. In the physical world, Entropy is part of teh second law of thermodynamics. Without working on a system, it will decay to its most unorganized state. So it is with our cooperatives. We cannot expect people to simply walk in from the outside world and embrace the cooperative ideal. We need to create institutional norms and mores. We need to work against the entropy of our cooperatives that leads people to narrow their self-interest. This means creating and defending structures within our cooperatives to educate and inform on the cooperative identity. It also means that we need to be willing to confront (in a cooperative way) the negativity and we need to support each other.

In her opening remarks (held after this session), Executive Director Melissa Hoover said that we need to quit thinking ourselves as the “alternative”. We need to see ourselves as the model.To do this, we need to discover ways to help workes “refashion” themselves. Arimendiarietta famously asked if the worker co-operative is an economic movement with an educational component or an education movement with an economic component. He believed in educaiton. He also saw work as a form of social transformation. We need to see our workplaces as places to create social capital which can be used to help people reach their potential as humans. If not, then we must ask, as Sidney Prohubischy once did, “why work so hard to be a capitalist?” We have a responsibility to reach higher.

August 2, 2010

Heading to Headquarters: The National Convention of Worker Coops

Filed under: Uncategorized — John McNamara @ 3:45 pm

It is a quiet week at the Workers’ Paradise. I am getting ready for the trip to San Francisco and Berkley for the 4th National Worker Cooperative Conference. It should be an exciting time. If you aren’t one of the hundreds of people attending, I will be attempting to blog about it here. Also, the folks at GEO will be blogging as well. We really want to bring the message home. In fact, it is my hope that next week our coops become infused with energy and good vibrations from visiting and networking with each other.

The following is the schedule. I am sure, if you are in the area, you can still attend the sessions for special day rates. For more information, visit the Federation.

9-10:30am – Workshop Session 1
Bringing Your Idea to Fruition Part 1: What is a Worker Coop?
Cooperating on Campus: Student-LedWorker Cooperativess
How to Read a Balance Sheet
Raising the floor for Working Women and Their Families: the WAGES model of worker cooperative development
Creating an Apprentice Program
Structured Discussion: The Deeper Meaning of Cooperation

Welcome to the Bay Area: NoBAWC, USFWC
Hello, Cleveland! Evergreen’s Place-Based Strategy for Worker Cooperative Development
Speaker: Ted Howard, Evergreen Cooperatives

12pm: LUNCH
DISCUSSION: Worker Coops as an Asset-Building Tool – Ted Howard, Hilary Abell, Heather McCulloch

1:15-3:15pm: Workshop Session 2
Cooperativism, the Informal Economy, and Community Engagement: Worker Coop Solutions to Community Challenges
Bringing Your Idea to Fruition Part 2: Going into Depth with Your Plan
Getting the Coop Work Done: Structures and Models
Creating Spaces that Help Us Thrive: Preventing Burnout and Promoting Mental Health
Large Group Conflict Resolution: Fight the Good Fight, Better!
How to Talk to Your Lender

Youth Can Become Their Own Bosses! The Toxic Soil Busters Show You How
SPEAKERS: Janice Nyamekye, Patricia Feraud,  Toxic Soil Busters Cooperative

Workshop Session 3
Economics from the Grassroots: social justice groups building worker democracy – successes and lessons learned
Worker Cooperatives and Unions: A Strategy to Create Jobs and Union Members
Accountability, Evaluations and Grievance Process
Run an Effective Meeting: Facilitation Training
Youth are the Leaders: Youth-Led Cooperatives in High Schools and Beyond
Structured Discussion: Community-Supported Cooperatives

6:30-8pm – Dinner and Awards Banquet
8-11pm – Party and Fundraiser at Clark Kerr Center

Sunday, August 8
8am – Breakfast

9am-11am: Workshop Session 4
Ask an Expert: Get Answers to Your Legal and Accounting Questions
Education, Engagement, Everyone: Models and Solutions for Fostering Education in Your Co-op
Developing Compassion, Self-Empowerment and Cooperation
Privilege, Oppression and Workplace Democracy: The People’s Food Coop story of fostering anti-oppression analysis within a workplace
Work Culture and Work Space: Sexual Harrassment and Assault in the Workplace
Structured Discussion: Anti-Capitalism, A Love Story

A Vision for Education: Teachers Cooepratives
Speaker: Dee Thomas, EdVisions Cooperative and Minnesota New Country School

12:15pm: LUNCH
DISCUSSION TABLES (optional):  CA Worker Coop Statute, Continuing Educational Opportunities, Regional organizing

1:25-2:55pm: Workshop Session 5
Ask an Expert: One on One Consultations
Healthcare and Retirement Benefits for Cooperative Members
Goodbye Wall St, Hello to coop equity financing with worker control: the Equal Exchange experience
Desarollo de cooperativas: Reclutamiento de membresía (en espanol)
Marketing the Coop Advantage
Cooperative-led and -funded Development: The Staff Project of VAWC

3:15-4:45pm: Workshop Session 6
Building Intergenerational Cooperatives
Introducing the Coop Index
Putting it Together: A Functional Organizational Model
Creative Financing for Your Worker Cooperative
How to Be a Peer Advisor

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