Hello from the USFWC, your national worker cooperative federation!
There are several exciting things afoot right now at the national and international level in worker cooperative organizing.
2012: Year of the Cooperative
2012 is the UN International Year of Cooperatives! The United Nations announcement notes that “cooperatives impact poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration… In general, they contribute to socio-economic development.” The National Cooperative Business Association worked hard to press for this recognition, and we applaud their efforts. USFWC is participating in planning awareness-raising for the year, including cooperative tours and educational materials. To get involved with this planning, contact Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 379-9201. Find the full text of the U.N. resolution here:http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2009/dev2784.doc.htm
First-ever CICOPA North American Worker Co-op Conference in Quebec in October
The first-ever North American Worker Cooperative Conference will be held, in two parts, in Quebec City, in October of 2011. This event launches the North American sub-region of the international worker co-operative federation, known by its acronym, CICOPA; and in our region as CICOPA-Americas. The Canadian Worker Co-op Federation is the main organizer; the US Federation of Worker Co-ops and le Réseau de la Coopération du Travail are co-organizers with the participation of the Quebec Forestry Co-op Federation. Leadership from the Italian and Spanish worker co-op movements will be in attendance, to inspire and guide attendees, along with CICOPA international leadership, and cooperative leaders from Latin America. The first part of the conference will focus on conversions of conventional businesses to cooperatives, and the second part will be a more general cooperative conference.
Worker Cooperative Federal Credit Union
The Worker Cooperative Federal Credit Union project is moving forward! Despite a nearly year-long review process partly due to the financial crisis and partly due to the field of membership complications regarding democratic institutions, the first step in the chartering process is now complete. The field of membership (the common bond for people to be members of the credit union) was approved by NCUA; it includes the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC), Networks of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives (NoBAWC), and North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO). To top it off, the approval includes individual members of member cooperatives of each association! This was a huge success, as the credit union is not required to include each individual member cooperative (as a business) in the field of membership in order to allow individual members of those co-ops to join the credit union. It would have been at least an additional year of work to get over a hundred cooperatives to agree to join the credit union and provide the necessary documentation. The inclusion of individual co-op members was highly uncertain, and resulted in extensive dialogue with the National Credit Union Administration about democracy and representation. Thanks to everyone who has contributed thus far in making this happen. Your generous support, time, and effort is greatly appreciated. A special thanks to those involved with regional and national organizing efforts which made this possible in the first place.
Worker Cooperative Representation on the NCBA Board
Congratulations to USFWC Board Member Esteban Kelly of Mariposa Food Cooperative in Philadelphia, who has been appointed to the NCBA Board. His appointment comes via his relationship with NASCO (North American Students of Cooperation), the student housing cooperative organization. Esteban joins Erbin Crowell, formerly of Equal Exchange, as a strong worker-cooperative advocate on the NCBA Board.