4 Lessons from the Worker Cooperative National Conference on Creating Space for Equality

Hosted by the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC) and the Democracy at Work Institute, the WCNC gathered 400+ worker owners from across the country — including Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance’s staff and two board members (one of them being me). 

Worker cooperatives are businesses owned and controlled by the people who work in them. Despite not yet being a well-known model in Philadelphia, cooperatives enterprises worldwide employ 250 million people, and generate $2.2 trillion USD in turnover. They are a time-tested way to create quality jobs, and worker-owners use this structure to build and secure wealth in communities around the world.

Here are four lessons on making that happen from the conference.

1. Start with an even playing field.

Most sessions throughout the conference, including the keynotes, had simultaneous translation. Interpreters from Community Language Cooperative and the Austin Language Justice Collective ensured that most of the sessions were interpreted from Spanish to English and vice versa — a complement to the fully bilingual conference booklet — to ensure that workers owners from across the country had the best experience possible.

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