Cooperatives 101 Workshop by Caroline Savery, cooperative business development consultant with Keystone Development Center
Thursday, Feb. 23 @ 7–9 p.m.
Feeling glum about the recession? P.O.'ed at the impact corporate greed has had on your local economy? Frustrated by the job market? Wondering how you can apply your talents to meet the needs of yourself and your neighbors? Are you an entrepreneur who wants to improve your community? Are you curious about how co-ops work? Come learn all about cooperatives—what they are, how they work, and why they offer a promising alternative to "business as usual!"Join us at The Big Idea Cooperative Bookstore on February 23 at 7 p.m. as Caroline Savery, cooperative business development consultant with Keystone Development Center, presents a Cooperatives 101 Workshop (worker-owned, housing, more). Free food provided!
A Discussion Course on Cooperatives
Thursdays, March 1–April 19 @ 7–9 p.m.
This eight-week Discussion Course on Cooperatives is a group-education tool for people who would like to become familiar with cooperative economics, history, and philosophy. The Course is designed as a tool for Outreach to Co-op Members, to be used to facilitate greater participation in the Co-op community. The discussion format is centered around carefully selected readings made accessible through a concisely planned anthology. The short readings and lively interpersonal discussions make it the ideal learning environment for busy people who would like to maximize their educational experience. Free food will be provided The class is limited to six participants, so please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your seat and course readings! http://www.cgin.coop/discussioncourse
This one-day conferenceJune 13, 2012 at Drexel University in Philadelphia will explore what two cities can learn from one another about building cooperatives and cooperative networks, and what cooperatives contribute to cities, regions and states. Our conference also provides an opportunity to learn from the Honorable Chaka Fattah about the National Cooperative Development Act, a bill he introduced into Congress on December 15, 2011.Hosted by Drexel University’s Center for Public Policy.
Invited speakers include:
Chaka Fattah, U.S. Representative, Pennsylvania’s 2nd Congressional District
Gar Alperovitz, University of Maryland and the Democracy Collaborative
Paul Soglin, Mayor, City of Madison, Wisconsin
Michael Nutter, Mayor, City of Philadelphia
Michael Swack, Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire
Jessica Gordon Nembhard, John Jay College
Steve Dubb, Democracy Collaborative
The conference will include breakout sessions and workshops that examine specific cooperatives in detail, comparing those in Pennsylvania (mostly from Philadelphia) and those in Wisconsin (mostly from Madison):
Weaver’s Wy, Mariposa, Green Saw, Lancaster Farm Fresh, Energy Cooperative Association of Pennsylvania, People-for-People Credit Union, South Philly Food Coop, Kensington Food Coop, Ecology, Home Care Associates, Childspace
Willy Street, Regent Street, Isthmus Engineering, Just Coffee, Union Cab, Organic Valley, Summit Credit Union, Mifflin Street, Cooperative Care
For more information, contact:
Drexel University Center for Public Policy
Center for Public Policy
Drexel University Center for Public Policy
University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives
Drexel University Lindy Center for Civic Engagement
The Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance
Haverford College Center for Peace and Global Citizenship
NOTICE OF BID OPPORTUNITY.Agency Bid Number: 8205 -- Bid Title: MADISON COOPERATIVE CONFERENCE COORDINATOR
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Protesters flood the street, chants and song punctuated by drumming and the low, steady honk of a tuba. Sign after sign decries the attack against nurses, teachers and sanitation workers; others demand a living wage in bold letters. A man stands before a podium addressing the masses, crying, "Those who need the increases least get most, and those that need them most get least!" The crowd erupts in response. Sound familiar?
But this isn't Madison in February 2011. This is grainy footage of 1980s Britain in the throes of worker unrest, from the opening scenes of a BBC documentary on the Mondragon Corporation in Spain.
In the 1940s, the civil-war-ravaged Basque region of Spain had 40% to 50% unemployment. Today, a transformed Mondragon is a federation of worker-owned cooperatives, responsible for some 80,000 jobs across more than 250 finance, industrial, retail and knowledge-based companies. It is also the model upon which an increasing number of Madison-area worker co-ops are based, and some say it's the solution to our current capitalist-fueled quagmire.
"The nature of the local economy and the creation of jobs seems to be the most important issue on everyone's mind," says Madison Mayor Paul Soglin. "It seems to me that if we're talking about a robust economy, we need to discuss the role of co-ops in that economy."
This might sound like the start of a lusty, utopian love letter for hippie socialist Madisonians, but it's not. Worker cooperatives are a viable, valuable economic tool used worldwide to create jobs and sustainable communities, and despite the existence of several successful worker co-ops here in Madison, they still fly well below the radar. The good news: Although the United States is behind the curve, Madison is actually ahead of it.
It's not that we don't get cooperatives. Many of us have a membership to a consumer cooperative like Willy Street Co-op or REI, and the tapestry of Wisconsin is thickly threaded with agricultural and utility cooperatives. There are housing and marketing cooperatives throughout the state, and according to the UW Center for Cooperatives, Wisconsin boasts about 844 co-ops representing 2.7 million members, contributing $5.6 billion in gross sales to the state economy.
Occupy Salem Free University will host the forum “Building a Cooperative Economy: From Mondragon to Massachusetts” on Monday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. at 217 Essex St. (The Gathering).Tony Dunn, a longtime labor activist, who is starting a worker-owned business in Lynn, will talk about his recent trip to Mondragon in Spain. He will be joined by Eric Johnson, an active member of the U.S. Federation of Cooperatives, who works at Red Sun Press, a unionized worker-owned business in Boston.
While unemployment reaches Depression-era levels, the politicians talk about cutting deficits, ignoring the needs of the 99 percent. How do we build a new economy based on the needs of the people? Mondragon is a network of worker-owned co-ops that is Spain’s seventh-largest corporation. The Mondragon cooperatives employ more than 80,000 people and virtually never lay anyone off.
When workforce and residential communities decide together how the economy evolves, the results will differ sharply from the results of capitalism. Workplace democracy would not, for example, move production to other countries as capitalist corporations have done. Workers’ self-directed enterprises would not pay a few top managers huge salaries and bonuses while most workers’ paychecks and benefits stagnate. Worker-run enterprises sharing democratic decision-making with surrounding communities would not install toxic and dangerous technologies as capitalist enterprises often do to earn more profits. They would, however, be far more likely to provide daycare, elder care and other supportive services. For the first time in human history, societies could democratically rethink and re-organize the time they devote to work, play, relationships, and cultural activities. Instead of complaining that we lack time for the most meaningful parts of our lives, we could together decide to reduce labor time, to concentrate on the consumer goods we really need, and thereby to allow more time for the important relationships in our lives. We might thereby overcome the divisions and tensions (often defined in racial, gender, ethnic, religious, and other terms) that capitalism imposes on populations by splitting them into fully employed, partly employed, and contingent laborers, and those excluded from the labor market.
"Ownership is voluntary but each worker/owner earns equity in the company through a labor input formula, so as a worker works more hours, they earn a larger share of the business in the form of equity and physical assets.We believe that individual worker ownership of jobs and full participation in the daily decisions of the workplace are an integral part of a free & democratic society.
"We formed Stumptown Printers in 1999 as an equal partnership of three owner/workers and operated this way for close to 9 years. When we decided to invite more workers to join us as the business expanded, we wanted a structure that allowed for complete inclusion of new workers. Inspired by the cooperative print shops New Earth Press of Berkeley, California and Lakeside Press of Madison, Wisconsin, as well as advice from members of Portland's own City Bikes Worker Cooperative, we reorganized as Stumptown Printers Worker Cooperative in January 2008."
Are you part of an existing worker cooperative looking to strengthen or grow your business? Do you have an idea for a worker cooperative but you’re not sure what to do next? We will work with you to design the right consultation/training package to meet your needs and budget. For a free consultation,
The CBI’s startup course is designed for teams of entrepreneurs seeking to start a worker-owned cooperative. Composed of 13 classes, the CBI’s startup course covers a broad range of topics, including the fundamentals of the worker cooperative model, marketing, financing, democratic decision-making, business planning and more. Throughout the course, participants will receive assignments to be completed outside of class that will help shape the development and implementation of their business plan. All 13 classes are two hours long and are held twice weekly at 5604 Manor Rd. Upon graduation, participants receive additional hands-on training and technical assistance from Cooperation Texas staff and other business professionals, providing legal assistance, logo and website design, and help in finalizing their business plan.
The next startup course will take place from February 23 – April 5th. To apply, you must have a team of at least three people committed to a single business concept. The cost per team is $1,500, and we will work with each team to create a payment plan that meets their budget. To apply, fill out the application and send it to email@example.com by February 16th.
An excellent collection that frames the U.S. movement in 1984. Essays by Derek Jones, Donald Schneider, Robert Jackall and Joyce Crain, Christopher Gunn, Edward Greenberg, Zelda Gamson and Henry Levin, and David Ellerman.
Flashback 2004, many customers to Blue Scorcher will remember The Bread Collective, the more humble beginnings of the busy bakery/café — about 5 folks gathered together in the back of a former restaurant, to bake good organic bread together and tasty cookies, and make it available to desiring consumers. What seemed rather experimental at the time has since evolved into one of Astoria’s most popular community gathering places. On a recent stormy weekday afternoon, there was a substantial crowd both at the bakery takeout counter and at the restaurant tables, where patrons enjoyed a daily special of fragrant garbanzo tangine soup served of course, with a gargantuan chunk of bread hand made in the bread oven a few feet away. Unlike most restaurants, here one of numerous chef/cooks delivers your meal to you, a touch that seems especially homey. The Blue Scorcher has also long been a large part of both the social and philanthropic scene in Astoria, hosting the late summer Lughnasa Fest, celebrating local growers and sustainability practices, Full Moon monthly dinner gatherings, making the dining area available to numerous types of events and bread donations to community organizations.
As the Blue Scorcher has curbed some if its own community productions, the focus now has turned to the work of creating cooperative bylaws, and membership agreements as six worker members step up to the cooperative plate with earnest monies. And while a worker-cooperative model serves a practical economic approach, Iris Sullivan Daire speaks passionately to the humanistic qualities that the coop structure allows, “When you have a voice, you are more fully human. When you are separate from what you do [in your place of employment] it becomes enslavement.” The cooperative environment, as the Blue Scorcher proves too, is creating space for people to transition in life and in their relationship to work.
"Shot In The Dark Café worker cooperativeis a collectively owned and operated coffee shop / restaurant.We serve 100% organic, fair trade coffee and espresso.We have a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu,served 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even on holidays!Coffee, espresso drinks, house made chai, fresh cookies, homemade pastries.Great food and generous portions, options for vegetarians, vegans and carnivores, and breakfast all day!Live music & open mic night, art gallery, plenty of comfy seating, ethernet outlets, free WiFi and well-ventilated indoor smoking patio!We also offer a selection of cigarettes!
...Prosser was intent upon operating a business in which the workers were the owners when he bought Terranova Catering three years ago. He was buoyed by the availability of top-notch staff with whom he had worked at the Paramount Grill and other restaurants.There was a catch. Most of the workers he started with didn’t get it, Prosser says. “They couldn’t get used to a different way of doing things. Democracy can be frustrating.”
Fortunately, Prosser and his wife, Ann Murray, have found an ample supply of workers, many of them artists, who embrace the idea of becoming part of a worker-owned cooperative as he expanded Terranova and started Civilization restaurant, Prosser says.In addition to the 10 owners-workers, Civilization has 15 other workers, most of whom are interested in making the $1,000 commitment—which can be paid over time—to become owners, Murray says.Among those involved is Caroline Hines, one of the few original staff who has remained with the business. Hines, who manages the catering business, says being an owner makes people like their jobs better“It makes you responsible and aware of what needs to be done,” she says. “If I see that the plants need to be watered, I water them. If I see that the mat needs to be swept, I sweep it.”
Inspired by Mondragón’s example, Isthmus Engineering was founded 25 years ago. The cooperative designs and builds state of the art automation systems for a broad range of industries. With 50 employees, the majority worker owners, Isthmus is highly project oriented. Self-directed teams of mechanical and controls engineers, plus highly skilled electricians and machinists, collaborate to design, build, and test equipment that meets their customers’ needs. “The core principle is one worker one vote, not each dollar one vote,” says founder John Kessler. “We’re not giving up anything by being a worker cooperative. It’s an excellent way to run a business.”
Union Cab of Madison, a Worker Cooperative in Madison, WI, is hiring a Business Manager.Excellent communication and team leadership skills are required.If interested please visit www.unioncab.coop/businessmanager for more information.Union Cab is an equal opportunity / affirmative action employer.
Business Manager Opening
Union Cab is a worker-owned cooperative founded in 1979. We have 240 members, and are located in Madison, Wisconsin. We are looking for a Business Manager to fill the following job description:
Objectives: Insure the financial sustainability of the cooperative while achieving the cooperative’s mission and maintain its core values. Provide an overview of the different segments of the organization and ensure communication among the management teams and between the Board, management teams, and the membership. Help plan for the cooperative’s future and develop infrastructure for the cooperative to maintain sustainability.