USFWC 2010 Business Meeting

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I am just going to give my impressions and what seemed to me to be the highlights.  This was the first meeting I have attended, so I lack a lot of perspective.

1.    Regional Organizing Reports came first.  Biggest impression: there is a lot going on.  Saturday night the conference honored four cooperators, one from each of the four regions of the country, for their extraordinary contributions this past year.  All four were honored for their local network organizing.

2.    A committee of people have been doing some serious work on developing relationships between labor unions and worker co-ops.  This working group started within the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy (ECWD), but its work evolved to the point that the USFWC was a much better space for it.  GEO will work to post a full report.

3.    Much work has also gone down to increase communication and coordination between the large networks: the two regional networks?Western Cooperative Conference and ECWD?and the USFWC.  This has included: finding out what is going on in the different regions and exchanging that info?beginning to get a sense of what everyone is doing and moving forward on linking up more?getting a deeper understanding on how the two regionals can work together with USFWC?laying groundwork for this? how to minimize competition over resources for doing conferences. Those reporting said this year?s work was "a good beginning."

4.    USFWC has also been working with The International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and Service Producers? Co-operatives (CICOPA), helping to prepare for the CICOPA North America worker co-op conference that is to be held in Quebec City, October 5-8, 2011.

5.    The Federation is moving ahead steadily in expanding its capacity for helping to develop worker co-ops?Democracy At Work Network (DAWN)?and in bringing a Canadian tool?the Co-op Index?for enabling co-ops to monitor how they are doing in living up to the seven principles of cooperation.

6.    A sophisticated financial structure for the movement seems to be emerging.  There were reports on

·         the Worker Ownership Fund, which has grown  about three- or four-fold since 2008

·         Credit Union Alliances,

·         national legislation for defining worker co-operatives as Small Businesses, and thus qualifying for those kinds of loans

·         possibly tapping into a credit card processing operation that could bring some significant income to the Federation.

7.    There was a Federation goal to have a full time staff by 2010.  We did not reach that goal, but we are on a steady course towards it, and should be there by 2012.

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