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
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:
Black History Month is here — and we must declare Black Lives Matter well beyond any one month.
Dr. Phil Thompson shares some important facts and insights in a recent article in the New Labor Forum, “The Future of Urban Populism: Will Cities Turn the Political Tide?“ He clearly lays out that the generations of inequality and disparate opportunities between the races stems from capitalism and its use of race as a tool to create and maintain the underclass, slavery, disenfranchisement, mass incarceration, poverty, low mortality rates and economic injustice.
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 New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) is a vibrant, client-centered agency whose mission is to serve New York’s small businesses, jobseekers and commercial districts. SBS makes it easier for companies in New York City to start, operate, and expand by providing direct assistance to business owners, supporting commercial districts, promoting financial and economic opportunity among minority- and women-owned businesses, preparing New Yorkers for jobs, and linking employers with a skilled and qualified workforce. SBS continues to reach for higher professional standards through innovative systems, new approaches to government, and a strong focus on its employees.
About the Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative:The Worker Cooperative Business Development initiative will support the creation of jobs in worker cooperatives by coordinating education and training resources and by providing technical, legal, and financial assistance. The initiative will fund a comprehensive citywide effort to reach cooperative entrepreneurs, provide for the start-up of new worker cooperative small businesses, and assist existing cooperatives. The initiative will offer workforce development and concrete skills for unemployed, underemployed and discouraged workers in high-needs neighborhoods.
Job Description:The Program Manager oversees efforts and initiatives designed to sustain and enhance the level of service delivery provided to worker cooperatives and entrepreneurs. The responsibilities of the Manager are both strategic, in developing best practices and processes, and operational, in creating quality, consistency and accountability across all service providers. This is an exciting opportunity for a strategic leader to manage all day-to-day strategy, operations, and partnership development for the initiative as well as provide ongoing leadership, vision, and support for all service provider staff as they strive to develop and grow the impact of the services they deliver.
On March 30th, the Murphy Institute hosted “Building a Worker Coop Ecosystem: Mondragon Meets the Five Boroughs,” a public conversation featuring Frederick Freundlich of Mondragon University and moderated by Stephanie Guico.
The conversation began with an explanation by Freudlich of the Mondragon network of worker coops in the Basque region of Spain. The network includes approximately 120 cooperatives and 130 affiliates or subsidiaries, all working across four broad areas — manufacturing, retail, finance, knowledge — and creating a livelihood for approximately 74,000 people. Freundlich discussed the history of the Mondragon system, tracing its origins back to the Spanish Civil War and describing the emergence of ancillary institutions, such as the cooperative bank, that have provided resources and support to the cooperative network throughout its development. Continue reading Coop Event at Murphy Draws Large Crowd→
A conversation about workers, communities and social justice