Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation

 La F�d�ration canadienne des coop�ratives de travail

December 2013
Vol 5, Issue  9                                                                          

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Month Year Vol 1, Issue 1
Month Year Vol 1, Issue 1
Happy Holidays from CWCF 
Best Wishes for a joyful holiday season /
Nos Meilleurs voeux de la saison !

In This Issue
IGNITE! Videos and Other Conference Presentations
New CWCF Members
CICOPA World Music Project
New CICOPA e-Magazine / Nouvel e-magazine de CICOPA
CWCF Video
Worker Owned Tech Collectives
ICA Events in South Africa
Les évènements deL'ACI en Afrique du Sud
Fagor Division of Mondragon Falters
Shift Change Report on Mondragon
Converting a Business to a Worker Co-op
All 4 Each Challenge Winners Announced
International Summit of Co-operatives. News
Worker Co-op Showcase:  IGNITE!  Worker Co-op Videos
(and Other 2013 Conference Presentations)

One of the most popular features of the 2013 Conference was the IGNITE! presentations, mostly by worker co-ops but also by Vancity & SEED Winnipeg.

People did a great job on these, and we will definitely keep this as part of next year's conference.  In fact, we will likely host a competition in advance of the 2014 Conference, so you might want to think about planning one now!

These are 5-minute videos which generally which convey the essence of the co-op or organization in succinct, dynamic and diverse ways. 
The IGNITE format is: 20 slides / 15 seconds each, auto-advanced.

Here is the list of presenters whose videos are now posted on YouTube:

Benjamin Ryder, Co-operative Communications

Blair Hamilton, SEED Winnipeg

Brian Scott, Communitas

Ciara Preteau,Organic Planet Worker Co-op

Debbie Raine,Careforce Homecare Worker Co-operative

Elvy-Del Bianco, Vancity

Eric Tusz-King, EnerGreen Builders Co-operative Ltd.

Graham Anderson, Shift Urban Cargo Delivery

Inouk Touzin, Theatre � Pic

Jake Rubin, The Big Carrot

Louise Champagne, Neechi Foods

Reba Plummer, Urbane Cyclist Worker Co-op

Rene Michalak, ReThink Red Deer 

Stephen Elliott-Buckley, Incipe Co-op


Click here to view the videos 


In addition, the 2013 Annual Report, resolutions passed at the AGM and all PowerPoint presentations made available to us are now on-line.  Click here to view the reports and presentations - in the documents available for download at the bottom of the page. 



New Worker Co-op Members
CWCF is growing! We are thrilled to report that in the last few months, five new worker co-op members have joined. They are listed below and you can read their brief descriptions by clicking here. 



1) THAAT Co-op, Hamilton, ON; ("The Hammer Active Alternative Transportation Co-operative Inc.").


2) Unite Strategy Digital Marketing Worker Co-op, Saskatoon, SK;


3) LeftHand Media Co-op, Burnaby, BC ;


4) Victory Gardens Co-op, Vancouver;  


5) Viridian Energy Co-op, Duncan, BC.




A Melody of Co-operation Around the World



CICOPA World Music Project, a Legacy of IYC 2012 - Now Moving into the Co-operative Decade by Hazel Corcoran



A CICOPA World Music Project resolution was passed in November 2011 in Cancun. For the background, click here or here.


Music selections, primarily from Canada, have been submitted. A small committee has reviewed the submissions. The committee members are: Rebecca Kemble (US), and Donna Balkan (Communications Manager, Canadian Co-op Association), Mark Goldblatt (Past President, CWCF), Colin MacDougall (Past director, CWCF) and myself, Hazel Corcoran (all from Canada).


We are very pleased to announce that currently the CICOPA World Music Collection is made up of four (4) songs, as follows. We hope that you will find these songs as inspirational as we do!


1) "Together" - by Konfekoop - Basque Cooperatives Confederation, 4:54 minutes.    



2) "The Big Idea Song", by Greg O'Neill, of Calgary, Alberta (originally from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia), 4:00 minutes.  You can also see a 90-second video version, here.


3) "Join a Co-op" by Emily Erhardt of Saskatchewan, 2:29  



4) "Ca nous appartient" (or "It Belongs to Us"), by Michelle Deveau, of Ch�ticamp, Nova Scotia, 3:35 (in French)  - words attached through the link below, in French & English. 


The last two songs were composed and performed by youth.  The Committee would like to continue this project in coming years, to invite in more music over the course of the Co-operative Decade. Please send submissions to : Hazel Corcoran, . We encourage submissions from all countries and regions. This article, and all songs in the collection are now stored on one CWCF web page.


One of the songwriters, Greg O'Neill, has written the following about the power of art and music in social movements - including the co-operative movement, in a paper called "Integrating Art and Social Change". 


"We need to say loudly and clearly what we are for, including through music and art. ... Let's let it loose. Let our Co-operative Movement be an explosion of creativity that is irresistible." 



New CICOPA (International) e-Magazine Published

(Le fran�ais suit.)

The November-December CICOPA (International) Worker Co-op e-Magazine has recently been published, and is available here. Highlights include:  Co-operatives for the 21st Century: "think pieces" from a series of scholars edited by Bruno Roelants; the Sustainability Scan by the Canadian worker co-op, Sustainability Solutions Group; the Impact of the Philippines' Typhoon Haiyan on Co-op Members, and more. 

L'e-magazine de CICOPA (international) de novembre-d�cembre a r�cemment �t� publi�e et est disponible ici. Les faits saillants comprennent: 
� Une croissance coop�rative pour le 21�me si�cle � des commentaires d'une s�rie de chercheurs sous la direction de Bruno Roelants, les Coop�ratives de d�veloppement durable par la coop�rative de travail canadien, le Groupe de solutions durables; l'Impact du typhon Haiyan sur les membres de coop�ratives, et plus encore. 



Video about CWCF
RCWCF Ligoecently Hazel Corcoran, Executive Director for CWCF, was interviewed for a 5-minute video series being produced by The Co-operators 

The Co-operators has been producing videos about its members. The CWCF video is now available on YouTube.

Co-operators In English, here.


En fran�ais, ici.    


The video covers topics such as the diversity of businesses that are worker co-ops, challenges and opportunities for worker co-ops, and CWCF services.   



Supporting Neechi Commons-Symbolizing How Aboriginal People Can Regain Control

CWCF has recently circulated this letter of support for Neechi.


Dear friends,


This letter is being circulated by the Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation on behalf of the signatories below, to let you know about a remarkable sister Co-operative that is blazing a trail in empowerment for its members and social justice in the community. A Co-op doing such principled work that it elevates the name of co-operative enterprise and by reflection enhances all of our reputations. We are talking about Neechi Foods Co-operative in Winnipeg. This Co-op needs your patronage and support.


Neechi Co-op has not chosen an easy path focused only on commercial viability. It has chosen to blaze a trail to be a transformative venture in the same spirit as other Co-operative pioneers. Its success will not only be a beacon of light in its local neighbourhood but also a shining example of the inherent power of the Co-operative form of enterprise to change lives for the better.


The most obvious and simple way that you can support Neechi is by purchasing products at the Commons. Another way is by signing up for Neechi's weekly e-mail promotion and updates.


Your support can help to ensure the success of this Co-operative. In the words of President Louise Champagne: "We will remain heavily focused on achieving the commercial profitability needed for long-term success. Neechi Commons symbolizes how Aboriginal People can regain control of land and economic decision-making within a modern community context."


 Click here for full version and signatories

The Argument For Worker-Owned Tech Collectives


Democratic technology companies offer benefits far beyond equity options and catered food, and now they're banding together into a co-op network to take their influence to the next level.   


Tech worker co-ops come in all shapes and sizes and operate across a wide variety of industries. From web development to graphic design, web hosting, engineering, manufacturing, and more--technology workers anywhere can band together to accomplish what they couldn't do alone. Recently, eighteen of these cooperatives launched the Tech Co-op NetworkClick here to read more..


ICA Events in South Africa, very intense and rich in content for CICOPA

The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) events in South Africa, which grouped 1200 people from 88 countries, were very intense and rich in contents for CICOPA, the international worker co-op association. The workshop "Access to Community Services - Social Needs, Cooperative Answers" and the launch of the report "Cooperative Growth for the 21st Century" figured prominently.


To read this report click here.



Les �v�nements de L'ACI en Afrique du Sud, un contenu riche et intense pour CICOPA


Les �v�nements de l'Alliance coop�rative internationale (ACI) en Afrique du Sud, en pr�sence de 1.200 personnes de 88 pays, a �t� tr�s riche et intense pour CICOPA, l'association mondiale des coop�ratives de travail. La session � Acc�s aux services � la collectivit� - des besoins sociaux, des r�ponses coop�ratives � et le lancement du rapport � Une croissance coop�rative pour le 21�me si�cle � �tait particuli�rement marquant.


Pour lire ce rapport, cliquez ici. 


Fagor Division of Mondragon Falters


In mid-October Fagor Electrodomestico (FE) of the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation, Europe's fifth-largest appliance maker-"white goods" such as dishwashers, cookers and other related household items-went into Spanish courts to restructure their financing due to the accumulation of large debts. FE sales have dropped by 37 percent since 2007, just before Spain's economic crisis began.

In the Spanish Courts FE now has four months to reach agreements with its creditors to stabilize the company whose total debt burden is now €800 million ($1.1 billion). To read more click here.



Shift Change Report on Mondragon, Spain

We arrived in Mondragon at a challenging time. Fagor Home Appliances, the first and largest Mondragon industrial cooperative was preparing to declare bankruptcy following the collapse of the housing boom in Europe. Two years ago when we filmed at Fagor for SHIFT CHANGE, we knew that production was down and some Fagor workers were transferring to other coops, but until our recent trip we didn't realize how difficult things had become. To read the full report click here

 Converting a Business to a Worker Co-op
The Democracy Collaborative posted an interview with USFWC Executive Director, Melissa Hoover, about the growing trend of existing businesses converting to worker cooperatives. Read the interview.




All 4 Each Create-A-Co-op Challenge Winners Announced







The Create-a-Co-op challenge finalists presented at the Central 1 Fall Conference.


The $1,000 grand prize winner was Abby Woodhouse, whose business plan is to create Agrisurf Co-operative - an environmentally-focused organization that would collect and convert the plastic wrapping of bail into pellets, and used the recycled material to build kayaks and other sporting equipment.


The two $500 runner-ups included Wyatt Croucher and Christian Andersen. Wyatt, an avid athlete whose idea is to create the Hamilton Equipment Exchange Co-operative - a sporting goods rental business that would encourage and expand opportunities of engaging youth in sports, whose families may otherwise not be able to afford it.

Christian's plan is to develop the Guelph Filmmakers Co-operative - a video equipment rental and production co-op. Her dynamic idea earned her first contract, when Jim deBlock of United Communities Credit Union made a surprise announcement confirming the arrangement during the wrap-up of the session!


Matthew Gerrits who was unable to attend, was also a runner-up for his idea - Listen-In Co-operative -a public speaking co-op.

All the four finalists were past participants of the Co-operative Young Leaders
program. For more information on All 4 Each, and how it's linking co-operatives, schools, young people and co-op values, contact Kerr Smith

International Summit of Co-operatives  

The December 4th newsletter from The International Summit of Co-ops is about  healthcare co-ops. To read this newsletter:

In English click here  

En fran�ais ici   



Other news in their December 18th newsletter, including a PWC study on agricultural co-ops, and a call for papers for the ICA Research Conference next June in Pula, Croatia (on the role of co-ops in local and regional development) can be read here.  La version fran�aise est disponible ici.   

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 cooperatives.  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: 


Kaye Grant 
Editor of CWCF Newsletter
(204) 257-1198