School bus maintenance and driving has long been a tricky business in New York City. In the face of mounting maintenance costs, excessive emissions and flatlining wages, the Transit Workers Union (TWU) has proposed a novel — and potentially transformative — solution for the city’s school buses.
This week, TWU international president John Samuelsen and Manhattan New York City Council member Daniel Garodnick outlined the plan in the New York Daily News:
Here’s our plan. Let’s establish a unionized, worker-owned cooperative to transport students in non-polluting (and air-conditioned) electric school buses. For the pilot, we envision the worker cooperative entering into a contract with the Board of Education to provide service on approximately 15 existing routes that are not permanently assigned to any private company.Continue reading TWU Proposes School Bus Coop→
New York City is seeing a surge of interest in cooperative businesses. It is no wonder. The call for justice will always increase as people experience the rise of injustice. Businesses that are good for the workers and good for communities are able to answer this fundamental clamor for equality.
The New York City Council has made a significant investment into cooperative businesses over the last three years. During this time a network has matured that offers an array of strategies and services, from education and training programs to the technical assistance of other cooperators, cooperative business developers, lenders and lawyers. Business owners, entrepreneurs, urban planners, unionists, community activists, job seekers each can find support for expanding their missions through the cooperative business skills that can be accessed through these pages. Continue reading With Help from JSMI, NYC Releases Worker Coop Resource Guide→
Under fierce attack from the corporate sector, labor unions are exploring worker co-ops as a way to organize new members, save members’ jobs, create new jobs, and build community alliances. Presenters from NYC, Cincinnati and beyond will share their unions’ experiences with these experiments. Through panels, small group discussions and networking opportunities participants will explore how the co-op business model can help to strengthen and expand our unions.
Ellen Vera – National Manufacturing Organizing Coordinator, IUE-CWA; cofounder, Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative
Mary Hoyer – cochair, UnionCo-ops Council of US Federation of Worker Co-ops
Carmen Huertas-Noble – director, CUNY Law School Community & Economic Development Clinic, legal expert on unionized worker co-ops
Keith Joseph – 1199SEIU rep for Cooperative Home Care Associates, the US’s largest worker coop
David Hammer – ICA Group, consultants to unions on business conversions
Brendan Martin, director, The Working World, which supported the launch of New Era Windows in Chicago
Arturo Archila – United Steel Workers NYC, helped launch a unionized co-op
Roger Green, director, Bunche-DuBois Center for Public Policy Research, Medgar Evers College
Sponsors: UnionCo-ops Council of US Federation of Worker Coops, Murphy Institute for Worker Education & Labor Studies-CUNY, NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives, FPWA, 1Worker1Vote.org
This Thursday, the worker-owned cooperative Action OSH hosted their Grand Opening at the Murphy Institute, celebrating the National Day of Workers’ Health and Safety. Along with allies from the Center for Family Life, United Steel Workers, NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives and the Murphy Institute Community and Worker Ownership Project and elsewhere, this group will bring knowledge and power to immigrant workers in our city. We stand proudly in support of this team of educators and activists
Later in the day, the Murphy Institute Community and Worker Ownership Project joined with Green Worker Cooperatives to welcome Luis Alberto Duenas Casal from Cuba. He is a co-founder of the Cuban worker cooperative SCENIUS and a leader in the Cuban cooperative movement. Following Principles #5 and #7 of the international creed for coops, “Education, Training and Information” and “Concern for the Community,” we learned through conversation and presentation how the economic transformation in Cuba is supporting a redesign of their Social Economy.
Friends and comrades enjoyed a full day of learning and networking!
In a burst of entrepreneurial spirit, the workforce development field is showing new enthusiasm for an old idea: creating “social enterprises” to employ low-income jobseekers.
The theory is enormously appealing. We can create good jobs for constituents who have a hard time finding work elsewhere and the profits will help fund our nonprofit organizations. The reality, however, is far more complicated.
He then draws out a series of recommendations for business. I would punctuate one aspect of what he recommends to draw together the best practices of workforce development and business development for a social purpose:
Even more powerful is a ‘systems strategy’ that leverages change, beyond the walls of the enterprise, into the broader labor market.
When we go into the business of a social enterprise for social impact, we are aiming to improve the lives of the workers and the people in the community where the business exists. By systems thinking, we think yet broader than the labor market strategy and pay attention to the community where the industry exists. Continue reading Taking a Systems Approach to Social Impact→
In honor of the birthday of W.E.B. Du Bois, who amidst other great accomplishments authored Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americansin 1907, the Murphy Institute hosted a forum on Friday, February 28th to explore the stories, struggles and successes of workers who have taken control and bettered their lives through the cooperative history of African-American communities, and ask how we can apply those lessons to contemporary struggles locally and around the globe.
Missed the forum, or want to re-watch it? Check out video coverage from the event below: