Worker Cooperatives

Businesses that are owned and democratically controlled by their workers/employees (called "worker-owners").

We are not going to become the solution any time soon, but I believe that we have the opportunity to achieve a lot, like laying down a foundational strategy and infrastructure open to diverse approaches for the generation to come.
The mascot of the Alvarado Street Bakery (ASB) is an
orange and black cat, with a swinging tail and a sly
grin. Perhaps his feisty smile is the result of good
working conditions.
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A new video interview with Jim Hightower on "unemployment and worker cooperatives."

Watch it here!

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One of the formative questions of the contemporary worker cooperative movement has been that of who the movement is for.  What group of people are included in the movement's organizations, have access the movement's resources, share and shape the movement's values and the campaigns around those values?  

 

I am just going to briefly 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.

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.

David Roach is doing incredibly important work in Oakland with Mo' Better Food, schools, intergenerational learning, farmer's markets, and other things.  He was our incredible improvisational tour guide of Oakland.

Call it the Oakland Improvizational Tour.  Or Oakland's Special Synchroncity Tour.  Or the Divine Flow of Oakland Tour.  Whatever you call it, you have got to call it Amazing!!

...we are coming to our national worker co-op conference sounding the theme that worker co-ops are the solution. My worry, however, is...
A shadow is hanging over America, the shadow of a wrecked economic system. Tens of millions of unemployed remain despondent about ever finding a job again, an entire young generation despairing of any hope for a good life, while corporate market pundits pontificate that our system creates the best of all societies, and no alternative is possible. A nationwide group gathering in Berkeley this coming weekend is putting the lie to the pundits.
Evergreen Cooperative Laundry Operations Manager Medrick Anderson and Technical Manager Keith Parkham led a tour of the laundry.
The Association of Cooperative Educators established the John Logue ACE award at its 58th annual conference in Cleveland July27-30, 2010. Ohio Employee Ownership Center staff members, Bill McIntyre and Logue's wife, Olga Klepikova, talk about Logue's work, vision, "moxie" and his impact on Ohio and the U.S. Other ACE awardees for 2010 are also mentioned.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF COOPERATIVES IN THE PITTSBURGH AREA By John Curl At the time of its incorporation in 1817, Pittsburgh was already a manufacturing center, with a population of around 6,000, supplying the western region with artisanal products almost entirely made by home industry. It had become a manufacturing center during the war of 1812, when the supply of British-made goods have been cut off in the region. In 1817 most manufacturing was still done by independent self-employed artisans using hand tools. But their livelihood was already threatened by the growth of a new system that was making their economy obsolete: factories and wage labor.
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John Curl's history of the Bay Area Cooperative movement is eye-opening. It leaves you amazed that this country is so rich in cooperativism yet we only learn of it through John's heroic efforts. It brings to mind the saying: You need to know where you've been to know where you're going. My hope is that this history further opens up and extends our vision and our work.
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John Curl's history of the Bay Area Cooperative movement is eye-opening.  It leaves you amazed that this country is so rich in cooperativism yet we only learn of it through John's heroic efforts.  It brings to mind the saying: You need to know where you've been to know where you're going.  My hope is that this history further opens up and extends our vision and our work.  Many thanks to John Curl for his work.   

Download Curl's History of the Bay Area Cooperative Movement here

 The U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives is offering an intensive training session for organizations who want to make their internal processes more democratic and participatory. 

Melissa Hoover's description follows:

 Intensive Training: Developing Democratic Capacity
Monday 8/9/2010

Anti-Racism in the Workplace two-day training, August 9th & 10th, 2010, UC Berkeley.

The U.S. Federation for Worker Cooperatives has organized an intensive 2-day workshop as part of the conference.  Here's how conference co-organizer, kiran nigam, bills it:    

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