Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation
La F�d�ration canadienne des coop�ratives de travail
|April/May 2013 Newsletter||www.canadianworker.coop|
|Vol 5, Issue 4 |
CWCF Technical Assistance Program /Programme d'aide technique de la FCCT
|(Le fran�ais suit.) Following up the member survey done in early April, CWCF has decided to launch a Member Technical Assistance Program.
The program will have 3 components:
(1) the Staged Granting Program, (2) the Co-op Index Program, and (3) the free CWCF staff Consultation Program. The program will be in place for three years, starting in the near future. Through the Staged Granting Program, CWCF will offer small grants (initially $500, with an additional $500 possibly available on a matching basis), to assist worker co-ops which are CWCF members to hire a co-op developer or other professional to help with a challenge which the co-op is facing. Assistance can be sought in any area needed such as marketing, financial administration, governance, conflict resolution, legal issues, etc. Start-ups which are not yet incorporated will be eligible under some circumstances. More information on all 3 program components will follow soon.
Suite � l'enqu�te aupr�s des membres fait au d�but avril, la FCCT a d�cid� de lancer un programme d'assistance technique pour les membres. Le programme aura 3 volets:
(1) le programme de subventions par �tapes, (2) le Programme de l'Index Coop, et (3) le programme de consultation du personnel FCCT. Le programme en entier sera offert pendant les trois prochaines ann�es, � compter d'un avenir proche. Avec le programme de subventions par �tapes, la FCCT offrira de petites subventions (initialement 500 $, avec un montant suppl�mentaire de 500 $ possiblement disponible sur une base de contrepartie), afin d'aider les coop�ratives de travail qui sont membres de la FCCT d'embaucher un d�veloppeur coop�ratif ou un autre professionnel pour aider � un d�fi auquel la coop�rative fait face. La coop�rative peut chercher cette assistance dans tous les domaines, y compris le marketing, la gestion financi�re, la gouvernance, la r�solution des conflits, les questions juridiques, etc. Les coops en d�marrage qui ne sont pas encore int�gr�es seront admissibles dans certaines circonstances. Des renseignements en d�tail sur les 3 volets du programme suivront bient�t.
|James Mitchell Will Bid Farewell to CWCF /James Mitchell dit au revoir � la FCCT|
[Le fran�ais suit.] It is with regret that we inform you that James Mitchell, who has done communications and other work for CWCF since April 2012, from Ottawa and then Quebec City, has resigned effective on June 15th. He will be leaving to pursue his career in education. James has taken a contract position in Qu�bec following some supply work earlier this year. James stated that he has enjoyed his time with the CWCF and has made lasting relationships with many in the worker co-op sector. We thank James sincerely for all his work at CWCF and wish him the best as a teacher!
C'est avec regret que nous vous informons que James Mitchell, directeur des communications pour la FCCT depuis Avril 2012, qui a travaill� � Ottawa et puis � Qu�bec, a donn� sa d�mission � compter du 15 juin. Il quittera pour poursuivre sa carri�re dans l'enseignement. James a pris une position comme enseignant � contrat au Qu�bec � la suite des travaux de suppl�ance plus t�t cette ann�e. Il a beaucoup appr�ci� son temps avec la FCCT et a fait des relations durables avec de nombreuses personnes dans le secteur de la coop�ration du travail. Nous remercions James sinc�rement pour tout son travail � la FCCT et nous lui souhaitons le meilleur comme enseignant!
|CWCF Communications / Administrative Assistant Sought|
[Le fran�ais suit.] CWCF is now seeking to fill the role of "Communications and Administrative Assistant." This position is for 24 hours per week, and the deadline to apply is June 2nd. The start date is June 17th or as soon as possible thereafter. It is strongly preferred that the person be bilingual, and the location of the position is strongly preferred to be Calgary. The job posting is available here. Please share this link with others who may have interest. La FCCT cherche un Adjoint en communications et en administration. Le poste est pour 24 heures par semaine. La date limite pour faire demande est le 2 juin. Nous allons rendre disponible l'information en d�tail en fran�ais, sous peu. (Visitez le lien en anglais, ci-haut, et quand la version francaise sera pr�te il y aura un lien.)
|CWCF-CoopZone Conference Nov. 7-9: Educating Each Other for Empowerment!|
The Conference Planning Committee has been hard at work to outline the content of this highly participatory Conference to be held in Edmonton, Nov. 7-9th. The structure of the Conference will modeled on last year's successful event. Some highlights will include:
* A Forum Discussion on Effective Meetings and Decision-making,
* Keynote Presentation by Yvonne Chiu, etc. from the Multicultural Health Brokers Co-op: Empowering Immigrant Workers; How We've Built our Worker Co-op,
* Workshops on topics such as Effective Marketing Strategies, Accountability and Personnel Policies, Good WC Governance, Access to Capital, and Worker Co-ops 101 / Opportunity Assessment,
* Sharing Worker Co-op Stories Session,
* Networking opportunities, including social time, a hike and an outing to visit the Multicultural Brokers,
* Member Consultation on the concept of the Indivisible Reserve,
* And much more!
We will be launching the registration process early this year, and the early-bird registration deadline will be in early September. We hope to see you there!
|CoopZone Training Program|
CoopZone is pleased to again be offering its co-op development training
courses in 2013
-14, starting in September
. The basic information about the courses is available here: www.coopzone.coop/Courses
. CoopZone is offering various levels of training: the Advanced Program (Years 1 and 2) for those who wish to become active developers; the Foundation Program for those who may become developers or work in the early stages of development, and the Introduction to Co-op Development course.
The shorter Introductory course will be appropriate for people interested in understanding the types and roles of co-ops, and the basic co-op development process. All of these on-line courses are designed to fit around a full-time job. The Course Director is Peter Hough, and experienced co-op developers provide mentoring to students.
Here's what some of the students this year have had to say: "I've been applying what I have learned from the course to my day-to-day work with co-ops right from the start of the program and would highly recommend it to anyone who works with co-ops, social enterprises, and those involved in community economic development on any level." (Mark Sparrow, NSCC). "After working and consulting with non-profits for over 20 years, Co-op Zone training has given me the understanding and tools to finally be able to work with co-ops. During the course I had 4 groups engage me to help start or transition their co-op, and my assigned mentor as well as the CoopZone network helped guide me through it. Thank you!" --Rick Juliusson, FreeRange Consulting, BC. "I would absolutely recommend the CoopZone program to anybody interested. The course is pretty amazing in the way that it creates a common community amongst us aspiring co-op developers and several fully established and tremendously experienced ones. The instructors are great, and the mentoring system gives me the chance to have hours of one-on-one time with an expert in my desired field." --Joel Ratcliffe, Ontario "The Advanced Co-op Developer training has enabled me to connect with other Co-op Developers and a Mentor which allowed me to apply what I am learning directly to the groups and projects I am working on, in real time. I would recommend this program for anyone interested in Co-op Development as we are often working alone or in small teams in communities; the course allows you to feel part of a co-op team!" --Amanda Hachey, CEC-NB
For those who are thinking about taking one of the courses, there will be a webinar held on May 22nd, and another on June 19th, each time at 12 noon Eastern Time for 60-90 minutes. These webinars are open to anyone. Please RSVP to Hazel Corcoran (email@example.com) by the end of the day prior; you will receive the dial-in information by the start of the day of the call. (If you do not receive it by then, please write again at that time.)
|CWCF Health and Dental Plans|
[Le fran�ais suit]
CWCF has partnered with CBA, a firm with more than 25 years of plan consulting experience, to provide members with access to a unique Health & Dental plan at discounted rates from The Co-operators. Are you and your co-workers protected? Managing the risk of an unexpected illness is a real issue. Protect yourself and your co-workers from the high cost of health care expenses, through an Employee Benefit Plan.
* A benefit plan is an effective way to keep great people from leaving your co-op!
* Offering benefits can give workers more value than a raise. A pay increase is taxed. Investing money on a benefits plan is a very tax-effective form of compensation, putting money back in the worker's pocket.
* Stress-related absences cost about $3.5 billion each year. 2.6% of payroll is lost annually due to absenteeism. Keep workers happy by offering a valuable benefit!
CWCF has partnered with The Co-operators and CBA to provide Health and Dental programs at discounted pricing for worker and multi-stakeholder co-operatives. Every plan is unique and will be designed for your specific needs. Call the Member Service line at 1-800-463-2555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
to find out more.
|Just Us Coffee Roasters Co-op Target of Protesters|
Just Us Coffee Roasters Co-op
has become the target of protests after two ex-employees claimed they were fired for trying to organize a union. Two employees were dismissed from Just Us in early April. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the employees have alleged that the dismissals were due to their involvement in a union drive. However, Debra Moore, general manager of Just Us, said that the firings had
nothing to do with the union drive. "Just Us has never been and never will be against any unionization of its workers," she said.
The ex-employees and the union have filed complaints with the Labour Relations Board. There has been a series of high-profile protests organized, as well as a very vocal social media campaign. On a side note which is relevant, CWCF has been working with Just Us over several years to help enhance their policies and practices to bring more people into membership, and to have all employees more engaged. This has gone well, and the more recent "diagnostic" done with the Worker Co-op Index a few months ago indicates significantly improving employee perceptions of the co-op's functioning - among both members and non-members.
CWCF's view is that worker co-ops and unions share the same reason for existing: to improve the working conditions of working people. We have the same raison d'�tre, but different ways to try to embody it. There have been very good working relationships developed between the union movement and the worker co-op movement in Western Canada, in Quebec and in the US. Unfortunately not a lot of this relationship-building work has happened in Atlantic Canada, at least not yet.
Some worker co-ops are unionized; most are not. It is up to the employees in any given worker co-op to decide whether or not they should be unionized. Examples of unionized worker co-ops include all of the paramedic co-ops in Quebec, ParIT in Winnipeg and Co-operative Home Care Associates in the Bronx - the latter, with the SEIU.
Just Us has stated it is willing to consider voluntary recognition of the union, which means that a vote among employees would not need to take place, but rather that the employer posts that the union will be invited in unless the employees object. However, the union will not accept this unless additional conditions are met. We hope that there can be a meeting of the minds in the near future. If not, the hearing before the Labour Board will take place in late June.
Former worker-owner Ned Zimmerman in a blog post said this: "It is my sincere hope that this matter will be resolved amicably for all parties, and will furthermore act as a catalyst for increased involvement of caf� staff in the co-operative's democratic structure, whether through the formation of a union under SEIU Local 2 or facilitated membership in the co-operative itself." (Or both, CWCF would add.)
General Manager Debra Moore has stated, "With this opportunity in front of us, we are working hard to find a way to work together with the SEIU to not only benefit the workers at Spring Garden Road (caf�), but perhaps to be a model of how unions and co-ops can work together for the benefit of all."
|La Siembra Shows "Shift Change" / La Siembra a montr� "Shift Change"|
[Le fran�ais suit] At the end of April, La Siembra (makers of Camino fair trade, organic chocolate, etc.) hosted a screening of the worker co-op film Shift Change
in downtown Ottawa. The viewing was attended by a wide range of people from the local community, many of whom were new to the concept of co-operatives. After the film, there was a discussion and presentation by Jennifer
Williams and Santiago Paz, a member of a Latin American cocoa producer co-op, one of the tens of thousands of family farmers that benefit from fair trade co-operatives.
La Siembra a organis� � Ottawa en avril une projection de "Shift Change", un film au sujet des coop�ratives de travail. Beaucoup de personnes, venant de tous les horizons, ont particip�. C'�tait une opportunit� pour partager les informations concernants les coop�ratives. Apr�s le film il y avait une discussion entre Jennifer Williams et un membre d'une coop�rative du P�rou.
|Neechi Commons in the Spotlight|
, a 50,000-square-foot property in Winnipeg, held a highly successful Grand Opening on March 19th. Conceived and developed by Neechi Foods Co-op (an aboriginal worker co-op), the new Neechi Commons includes a grocery store, a restaurant, a farmers' market, a bakery, specialty boutiques, and an Aboriginal arts centre, among other amenities. Neechi has been a member of the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation (CWCF) since CWCF was founded. This is a very important expansion, and CWCF wishes to congratulate Neechi's board and staff for their extraordinary efforts to make this dream a reality!
Since its humble beginnings over two decades ago, Neechi been a locus of Winnipeg's
North End. The Co-op is named after the Ojibwa and Cree word for "friends," and the
Co-op embodies this name in its vision and its day-to-day operations. The store has
continually offered products that are inspired by the diversity of Canadian aboriginal
cultures. Neechi has committed to sourcing these products as ethically as possible, from
pickerel and whitefish from northern fishermen, to blueberry jam and wild rice from
aboriginal co-ops, to its famous bannock bread.
Neechi has been widely embraced by the community for its focus on establishing itself
as more than just a store. It is a vital link in local community economic development in
the North End. Winnipeg is home to the highest per capita population of urban aboriginal people. Once a thriving community, the North End is characterised by poverty, deserted boarded-up homes and storefronts, and highunemployment.
Neechi has made a commitment to address these problems head on. It has been a
provider of employment, particularly for youth, which empowers members of the
community and allows for economic reinvigoration. With the opening of Neechi
Commons, there is a significant increase in employment; eventually Neechi will hire
about 60 workers. The Co-op will include a strong staff development programme
that will work on team building and the enhancement of personal and community
self-esteem, as well as job-specific skills. This is augmented by providing employment
and training opportunities will compliment local high school programs and vocational
A focus on the promotion of aboriginal culture through education is integral to Neechi's
role in the community. The Co-op sells books in which members can learn about
a wide range of topics relevant to their lives. There is never a shortage of exciting
community events that help foster a sense of identity and solidarity. The Co-op also has
a "kids only" fruit basket at the front of the store where fruit is sold to kids at cost as a
substitute for candy. In the same vein, Neechi has declined to sell cigarettes because of
the social and physical costs that smoking has had, especially on children, in the area.
Cabinet ministers from both the Canadian and Manitoba governments say the new
business complex will strengthen the city's economy. The two governments partnered in
order to contribute $1.3 million under the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund toward the costs
of the project, and the Manitoba government has provided an additional $1 million.
Kevin Chief, Manitoba's Minister of Children and Youth Opportunities, stated: "This is a
wonderful example of the great things that can be accomplished through collaborative
partnerships between government and local communities. The province will continue to
provide funding support for exciting economic ventures like this."
|Ce que je retiens du Sommet 2012|
Hazel a parl� au Congr�s de la F�d�ration qu�b�coise des coop�ratives foresti�res (FQCF) en avril. Ella a trait� la question de l'importance du Sommet international des coop�ratives de 2012. � Le Sommet avait �norm�ment d'aspects positifs. C'�tait une occasion importante d'�changes et d'apprentissages pour les grands acteurs du mouvement coop�ratif mondial et aussi les petites coop�ratives. Le Sommet a beaucoup retenu l'attention des m�dias et du public sur les coop�ratives, ce qui �tait une des opportunit�s de l'Ann�e internationale. Un aspect qui �tait particuli�rment important pour nous tous, �tait l'activit� parall�le, � Imagine 2012 �. Cependant, dans la grande majorit� des sessions du Sommet m�me, les coop�ratives de travail ne se sont pas reconnues beaucoup. Il reste que cette vision amplement partag�e du mouvement coop�ratif "en �mergence" quant aux enjeux du mouvement coop�ratif, vision que nous endossons pleinement, nous encourage � continuer � oeuvrer inlassablement pour accro�tre le nombre de coop�ratives et b�tir une alternative concr�te au capitalisme destructeur.�
Les autres conf�renciers qui ont parl� de la m�me question �taient St�phane Archard de Desardins, Claude Lafleur de la Coop F�d�r�e, et Michel Lafleur de l'IRECUS,
|Du nouveau au CQCM avec le projet Groupe Coop Rel�ve|
Au cours des derniers mois, deux nouvelles personnes se sont jointes � l'�quipe du CQCM dans le cadre du projet � Groupe Coop Rel�ve �. Donc, monsieur Gaston B�dard, de la direction g�n�rale du CQCM, est heureux d'annoncer la nomination de monsieur Donald Gilbert au poste de directeur et de madame Nancy Dub� � titre de conseill�re principale au marketing et aux communications.
Monsieur Gilbert sera appel� � promouvoir la formule coop�rative dans le milieu des affaires, aupr�s des entreprises et des diff�rents intervenants, en rel�ve entrepreneuriale et en transfert d'entreprise, sur tout le territoire de la province de Qu�bec. Mme Dub� sera appel�e � conseiller et appuyer la direction du Groupe Coop Rel�ve dans la r�alisation d'activit�s de marketing et de communication pour tous les dossiers ayant un impact sur le positionnement du mode coop�ratif dans le milieu des affaires et dans le cadre de la rel�ve d'entreprises au Qu�bec.En attendant le tout nouveau site Internet au www.groupecoopreleve.com ouwww.groupecoopreleve.coop et pour en savoir plus sur � Groupe Coop Rel�ve � et ses activit�s, suivez-nous sur LinkedIn.
|FQCF to receive federal funding|
(Reprinted from CCA news briefs)
Quebec's Federation of Forestry Co-operatives
will receive $700,000 from the federal government as part of the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative administered by Natural Resources Canada. The Federation was one of 55 grant recipients under the program announced by the government on May 3. The Federation will use the funding to analyze and compare different supply chains for forest biomass used in bioenergy applications. The Federation represents 40 forestry co-ops with some 2,700 members across Quebec.
|Co-op Chair at the University of Winnipeg|
The University of Winnipeg 's Faculty of Business and Economics has created a position which is a first in Manitoba : the Chair in Co-operative Enterprises is aimed at strengthening the co-op movement and developing socially responsible entrepreneurs. The Chair position is possible because of donations totaling $625,000 by a collaborative partnership with the Manitoba government, the co-op sector and UWinnipeg.
The University is pleased to announce that, following an international search, Dr. Claudia Sanchez Bajo has accepted the position of Chair in Co-operative Enterprises. She holds a PhD in Development Studies from the prestigious International Institute of Social Studies (Erasmus University, The Hague) and is based currently in Belgium as she undertakes research on co-operatives and their role in financial crises. Dr. Bajo has substantial academic and industry-based experience with co-operatives in several countries, including Germany, Italy, and Costa Rica. In addition to direct experience working with co-operative groups in the areas of governance, business management and regulation, she has established herself internationally through publications, conferences, and research activities as a foremost academic authority on these subjects, including with regard to worker co-operatives. Importantly, she has significant capabilities and interests that will allow for active and meaningful engagement with the Manitoba co-operative sector.
|CCA-CCCM Congress: Early-Bird Deadline May 17th|
The early-bird deadline for the CCA-CCCM Congress is Friday, 17 May
. It takes place in Edmonton, from June 26-28, and is billed as "a must-attend event for co-operators from coast to coast to coast. Tell your stories, share your examples and help us build a vision for the future of Canada's co-operative movement." It will feature guest speaker Mauril B�langer, MP for Ottawa-Vanier / Liberal Advocate for Co-operatives, an Alberta-flavoured welcome reception, hosted and sponsored by Servus Credit Union, and NEW co-op learning labs focusing on sustainability, capitalization and government relations. The votes on the unity of CCA and CCCM will take place at the respective AGMs. This will be a great opportunity to network and to learn more about co-operatives.
|Amy Goodman interviews Mikel Lezamiz of Mondragon|
Amy Goodman of Democracy Now sat down recently with Mikel Lezamiz, the director of Cooperative Dissemination at the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation in Spain's Basque Country. In the interview Lezamiz describes how the Mondragon model is based on trying to attain full participation of worker-owners. He further describes the ascent of worker co-operatives in Spain, shedding light into how to bolster the burgeoning co-op movement. (Amy Goodman and Mikel Lezamiz were both featured speakers at CWCF's 2011 Conference in Quebec City, where we believe they first met each other.) To read the interview or watch the video, please follow this link
|Mondragon Corporation Wins Award / Mondragon gagne un Prix|
(Le fran�ais suit.) Mondragon Corporation was recently recognised at the Boldness in Business Awards, organised on an annual basis by the London-based daily newspaper the Financial Times
. The award, the Drivers of Change category, was received on behalf of the Corporation by Josu Ugarte, Director of International Operations. He declared that this award "will enable us to ensure that our Corporation continues to have a global impact and to set out our proposal for building a more just, united and equal society, in short, a better world". You can read the rest of the story by following this link
La Corporation Mondragon a remport� le prix "Boldness in Business" (Audace dans les entreprises) dans la cat�gorie "Drivers of change" (promoteur de changement) qu'organise chaque ann�e le Financial Times. Lors de la remise du prix, Josu Ugarte, Directeur des op�rations internationales, a d�clar� : � cela nous permet de continuer � promouvoir notre soci�t� au niveau mondial et de poursuivre notre projet de construction d'un monde plus juste et plus �quitable ; en fin de compte, un monde meilleur �. Pour lire l'histoire en entier, cliquez ce lien
|Mondragon's System A Beacon During Spain's Economic Troubles|
At a time when more then six million people are unemployed across Spain, co-operatives have managed to not only maintain, but also increase the number of jobs by 7.2 percent in the third quarter of 2012. By contrast, the unemployment rate in Spain has reached 27.2 per cent, the highest since 1976. Although it has recently slowed, the unemployment rate has continued to increase ever since the crisis emerged in 2008. In mid-2007 the rate reached 7.9 percent.
Figures released by the Spanish Ministry for Employment confirm that co-operatives have created 8,000 new jobs in the first half of 2012. To find out more, please follow this link.
|Can Large Factories Be Run as Worker Co-ops? A Mexican example|
How does a worker cooperative with 1,050 members function? TRADOC Co-operative in Mexico is a fine case study, displaying that a large group of worker-owners can make quality goods and maintain a co-op identity. It's hard enough for worker ownership to succeed when the business is small, because no matter what, you are competing in a market with cost-cutting business corporations. "Workers are impelled to hammer themselves and cut their own pay or be driven out of business", says the article, noting as well that most workers in Mexico lack sophisticated technical or general education. Yet the TRADOC Co-op is thriving with enthusiastic worker-owners and a modernised plant, They fought the closing of their plant by a German multinational by striking for three years, and afterwards all they wanted was for the owners to reopen it. In the end, the workers succeeded in operating the plant themselves. To find out more, please check out the article.
| New Worker Co-op Opens in Chicago|
| New Era Windows and Doors has just opened in Chicago. After being laid off by the struggling company, the former employees decided to organise themselves and open the business as a worker co-op. The process was long and arduous, dealing with numerous labour issues over the past five years. In 2008 the workers made national headlines when they occupied their factory to protest a sudden closure. Barack Obama and Joe Biden came out in defense of the workers' right to protest. Four years later, the workers protested again after new management used the same old tricks. This time, they decided to take matters into their own hands by purchasing and running the factory as a worker cooperative, something which took over a year to organise. Last week workers bought the business and are now in the process of starting operations. Click here to learn more, or watch a video here, at minute 42:55.|
|Worker Co-op Conversions: by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions|
Labour After Conflict
, a project of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, has produced a document called "Saving Jobs, Promoting Democracy: Worker Co-op Conversions". It focuses substantially on business succession to worker co-ops, with useful facts and helpful advice. The guide, which is detailed and colourful, has a glossary of useful terms concerning the financial side of co-operatives, and focuses on the approach taken in France to worker co-op conversions which has been the most successful in the world.
For more information, please follow this link to the document.
The Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation (CWCF) is a national, bilingual grassroots membership organization of and for worker co-operatives, related types of co-operatives (multi-stakeholder co-ops and worker-shareholder co-ops), and organizations that support the growth and development of worker co-operatives. CWCF's e-newsletter is available free of charge to anyone with an e-mail address and an interest in worker co-operative developments in Canada.
Please send any comments and suggestions to:
Editor of CWCF Newsletter