United States

cross-posted from YES! Magazine

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[Editor's note: Below is the preface and introduction to GEO founding member Len Krimerman's new memoir, Coming Alive in Dangerous Times (1961-1983).  We will be publishing Len's memoir serially, every Monday, over the next month, starting with Chapter 1, A New York Yankee in Louisiana,next week .  Here, Len discusses how he came to write a memoir, the value of memiorizing our life stories, and lays out the plan of the book.  GEO will be releasing Coming Alive as an ebook this fall.]

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New Era Windows Cooperative, the Chicago organization of workers which took over their company to form a successful workers' cooperative, was recognized for the

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[Editor's note: In this presentation from the 2015 Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy, Brian Mueller of Madison, Wisconsin's Isthmus Engineering Co-op discusses the basics of project management—what it is, phases and tools for project management, why  projects fail and what makes them succeed—as well the unique considerations for project management within the context of a worker cooperative.

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[Editor's note: this is the second "Walk on the Bright Side" column by GEO founding member Len Krimerman.  The first one can be found here.]

The spinoff model is an effective tool for worker cooperative development. By allowing owners with more appetite for risk to start new ventures, while taking advantage of already existing infrastructure and resources from the existing co-op, the spinoff model greatly reduces the costs and logistical considerations involved in creating a new worker co-op. Additionally, the mother and daughter co-ops can then work together, providing business and sharing expenses together, which allows for expansion of the movement without undue administrative overhead. Keywords: worker co-ops, development, spinoff
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More people are choosing the cooperative model to express their entrepreneurial spirit in the Northwest. The success of a co-op depends on many people and their efforts. Keywords: resident-owned communities, manufactured homes, worker coops
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Worker assistance programs and government funded co-op incubators have a poor track record for creating worker co-ops. More effective methods of creating worker cooperatives include converting existing businesses to worker co-ops and leveraging the institutional capacity of already existing co-ops to create new worker-owned businesses. Keywords: ESOP, conversion, worker assistance, economic democracy
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Let's try to get both a firm grasp and a large perspective on "regional co-operative/solidarity economic development," and what it has to do with “advancing the development of worker co-operatives.”

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Many people, including those in the labor and worker co-op movements, think that unions and co-ops are singularly mismatched.  Logic has it that worker co-ops don’t need to be unionized since workers own and manage their businesses, and that workers in labor unions just naturally aren’t entrepreneurial but rather are used to resisting “the boss.”  In addition, people may be familiar with large agricultural co-ops in the Midwest that fight with unionized workers, or with food co-ops that resist worker unionization.  

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Since 2011, we’ve been steadily growing the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance. We’ve been developing as an organization, establishing programs and services, and building connections among cooperatives and credit unions. In this article, I will discuss our evolution and speak to our successes and challenges with an eye towards helping other cooperative alliances in their own formation.

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Uber and other so-called sharing economy companies are nothing more than fronts for wealthy capitalists to make money by exploiting workers and avoiding regulations. Worker-owned cooperatives like Madison, WI's Union Cab offer a better alternative that protects workers and customers and helps build wealth within communities.
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Cooperative organizing, development, and technical assistance services are needed in upstate New York.  This void has been slowly—very slowly—shrinking for decades.  It is hoped that the creation and evolution of the New York Cooperative Network between 2011 a

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Movement building happens face to face. Groups of people meet, build common visions, and organize to change the world. So what does data, such an impersonal and abstract figment of bits and bytes, have to do with regional movement building? Quite a lot!

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Community is an important buzzword these days. People recognize that social structures are deteriorating and that people want more of a sense of connection with others. Suburbia is almost perfectly designed to keep interaction to a minimum. Consumerism and capitalism are other important factors. We’re bombarded by messages promoting individual ownership, which is supported by laws and financial institutions.

In order to create a fully cooperative society, co-ops of all varieties need to reach out to other, similarly-aligned groups, such as racial, social and climate justice movements. Groups such as Solidarity NYC and the Southern Grassroots Economies Progect (SGEP) are already working along these lines. Len Krimerman suggests adopting an 8th co-operative principle to address this reality. Keywords: solidarity economy, co-ops, regional development, social development
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Columbia City Farmers' MarketWinter farmers’ markets are tests of fortitude and patience, even in Seattle, where the climate is reasonably temperate much of the season.

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