The Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives, the oldest regional worker cooperative federation in the U.S. since its founding in 1994, may be going through some structural changes because of difficulties getting member cooperatives to seat volunteers to governing board seats.
At the 10/6/10 NoBAWC general membership meeting, it was agreed by consensus that NoBAWC would begin functioning with an Interim Board because it has had difﬁculty over the last couple of years getting people to run for the NoBAWC Board…. the Interim Board was charged with drafting proposal(s) for the membership to consider aimed at solving the chronic problem of not getting enough people to run for the NoBAWC Board (and any other related structural issues). Although the Interim Board was supposed to end its service on May 31, 2011, it continues to exist because there has not yet been a decision made by the membership about how to proceed. The Interim Board has not met for several months and has transferred some of its responsibilities to the staff.
The following 3 proposals are submitted by the Interim Board to the general membership for consideration.
- Proposal A (Lottery for Filling Non-staff Board Seats) keeps the basic Board structure in place, but changes the way non-staff Board seats are ﬁlled.
- Proposal B (Indeﬁnite Suspension of the NoBAWC Board) shifts Board responsibilities to the staff and to the general membership.
- Proposal C (Call for a Caucus of NoBAWC Workplaces) looks outside current NoBAWC practices to have an extended meeting focusing on the current state of NoBAWC in order to determine what structural changes NoBAWC should make.
The Bay Area has the largest concentration of worker cooperatives in the U.S. The network made a change from a less formal group to dues-paying organization with part-time staff in 2005 and an elected board in 2006.