Friday, November 18th, 2016
The Joseph S. Murphy Institute
25 W. 43rd Street, 18th Fl
Please join Melissa Hoover from Democracy at Work Institute and Rebecca Lurie from the Murphy Institute as we gather with workforce training professionals and cooperative developers to discuss, debate and strategize on the efficacy and potential for worker-owned coops to create good jobs and healthy community economic development. Steven Dawson, (visiting Fellow at The Pinkerton Foundation and former president of PHI) and Adria Powell, (Executive Vice President and President-elect of Cooperative Home Care Associates) each have spent years developing this work in the Bronx and in the home care industry. They will help us to dig deep into these approaches that lift the floor for jobs standards and lift the spirit for workers as they become owners and exercise control in their workplace.
Cooperative Home Care Associates is the largest worker-owned business in the nation, with over 2,300 worker-owners in the Bronx. Over 15 years ago they signed a contract with SEIU1199 and are also the largest union represented worker coop in America. While the movement for worker-ownership grows and expands with support from our city government, we will have the chance to ask hard questions, challenge our thinking and together think about the direction this strategy can take towards more just work place and better businesses.
Democracy at Work Institute expands the promise of cooperative business ownership to communities most directly affected by social and economic inequality. The Institute is the only national organization dedicated to building the field of worker cooperative development, with a focus on scale and equity. It meets a growing need for research, coordination of existing resources, development of standards and leaders, critical discussion of models, and advocacy for worker cooperatives as a community economic development strategy.
The Joseph S. Murphy Institute Center for Labor, Community and Policy Studies at the City University of New York serves as a resource center to labor, academic, and community leaders seeking a deeper understanding of labor and urban issues. The Center designs workforce development programs in partnership with unions and their labor-management training funds. The institute has a Bachelor’s degree in Urban and Community Studies and Master’s programs in Labor and Urban Studies. The Community and Worker Ownership Project is designing education and training programs for cooperative ownership and community engagement. RSVP by November 11th.
Launched in September 2016 the Murphy Institute’s Community and Worker Ownership Project (CWOP) seeks to support undertakings in worker-owned cooperatives, worker participation and control and the development of grassroots leadership in community decision making. Working alongside labor and community organizations and partners in the university the project will develop non-credit courses and new coursework for degree programs and offer public programming and research opportunities — all to advance the thinking and doing of cooperative ownership and shared management practices towards economic democracy.
Cooperative business models are increasingly recognized as an essential element for transforming our economy. But where can you go to learn about them?
In a recent article in the Chronicle Review (Curricular Cop-out on Coops), Nathan Schneider offers a somewhat dispiriting picture of the higher education landscape for cooperative economics. He writes:
Education has been a basic feature of the modern cooperative movement since a group of textile workers established its now-canonical Rochdale Principles in 1844; promoting education is still part of how the International Co-operative Alliance defines cooperative identity.
And yet, MBA and other business-focused programs, while they appear to move increasingly away from profit-only models, mostly avoid mention of anything cooperative. For example, “At Harvard Business School […] Rebecca M. Henderson has written the latest in a decades-long series of Harvard case studies on Mondragon, and she teaches it in her “Reimagining Capitalism” course. As far as she knows, though, that’s the extent of exposure to co-ops available at the school.” Continue reading Cooperative Business and the State of Higher Education
The Murphy Institute has a strong history of helping students and workers understand how to improve their lives at work and in their communities. To that end, we are pleased to announce the launch of a new project at CUNY at the Murphy Institute, Community and Worker Ownership Project (CWOP).
In this age of burgeoning inequality and pervasive challenges to political and workplace democracy, this project seeks to support undertakings in worker-owned cooperatives and worker participation and control, as well as grassroots leadership in community development.
Help us create a program that meets the needs of our community by participating in the CWOP Engagement Survey.
The CWOP intends to serve in these five areas:
Training and workshops
Bring non-credit courses and workshops to CUNY sites for existing and potential cooperative worker/owners
College degrees and certifications
Design credit courses, certificates and degree programs with scholars to expand education options for economic democracy and cooperative ownership
Business conversions and start-up
Support expansion of coop businesses with organized labor, worker centers, community based organizations and industry sectors
Host and sponsor forums and conferences or serve as a speaker
Initiate or share in research to evaluate economic and social justice impact of cooperative ownership and democratic engagement
You may be interested in learning more or participating in developing the work with us. You may have ideas or interests that can help grow the movement for economic democracy in your sphere of influence and impact and we can help. We want to hear from you!
Want to make the program as effective and useful as possible? Fill out our survey today to help shape the CWOP!
Email Rebecca Lurie at Rebecca<dot>Lurie<at>cuny<dot>edu to share your thoughts or ideas or to express your interest in this project.
Photo: Sergey Galyonkin CC-BY-SA
December 4, 8:30 -10:30am
The Murphy Institute
25 W. 43 Street, 18 Floor
The local movement of worker cooperatives, supported by the City Council, has increasingly caught the imagination of workers and organizers. What is the potential and what are the limitations of worker co-ops in building a movement for economic and social justice? To what extent does the co-op model enable working people to create secure jobs with decent pay and dignity, and, in doing so, begin to envision a new economy? What is the nature of organized labor’s role in this new movement?
- Amy B Dean, Editorial Board Member, New Labor Forum; Fellow, The Century Foundation; Co-author, A New New Deal: How Regional Activism Will Reshape the American Labor Movement
- Roger Green, Director, Dubois-Bunche Center on Public Policy, Medgar Evers College; collaborating on a conversion of hospitals to cooperative ownership models
- Adria Powell, Executive Vice President, Cooperative Home Care Associates
- Melissa Risser, Attorney, Urban Justice Center’s Community Development Project; co-founder of 1worker1vote.org
Want more on worker cooperatives, solidarity economies, and the role of organized labor? Join us at the Murphy Institute on December 4th for our upcoming Labor Breakfast Forum, Solidarity Economies: Worker Coops.
This article originally appeared at Grassroots Economic Organizing.
By Christopher Michael
In the 1980s, the British government supported a comprehensive system of local worker cooperative support organizations (CSOs). The first CSO was formed in Scotland in 1976. By 1986, approximately 100 CSOs spotted the country — with higher concentrations in urban areas. About 80 of these CSOs were funded — mostly by local municipalities — with full-time staff at an average of three employees. In tandem, Parliament chartered a national “Co-operative Development Agency” with a 1978 bill — which aided the growth of local CSOs, served as a “safety net” for regions without CSOs, collected statistics, and acted as government liaison with regard to new legislation.
These government-funded support organizations engaged primarily with low-income, ethnic minority, and female entrepreneurs. CSO staff members provided training courses on worker cooperatives, direct technical assistance, and also loan financing at an average of $50,000 (current U.S. dollars) per worker cooperative. This ten-year experiment produced approximately 2,000 new worker cooperatives — and almost none exist today. Continue reading What is Worker Cooperative Development?