Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation

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

January/February 2015
Vol 7, Issue 1



Follow us on Twitter 

Like us on Facebook

 CWCF News
In November we introduced our listservs covering the following types of issues:

1) Member development/engagement,  2) Marketing, 

3) Financial, 4) General, 5) Managers'/coordinators' network  

As part of this year's member engagement process, we will soon be launching short questions to some of these lists.  Watch for our email and please consider responding.  Your interactive feedback/discussion of our questions will help CWCF  provide you, our members with the information and services you need. To get on the listservs, please contact Kaye Grant,  


CWCF has had a very productive visit to the US FWC;  is engaged in supporting our member Neechi Commons (both of which are the subject of articles, below); and is starting its planning for the next Conference - Oct. 28 - 31 in Montreal, in consultation with Quebec's RESEAU.    


See below also for a great presentation about CWCF that Hazel did at the 2014 ACCA Fall Gathering. 

In This Issue
Meeting of Worker Co-op Federations
"CWCF Compared" - Short Video, and PPT
Neechi Commons
Wishes for 2015 by Sustainability Solutions Group Worker Co-op
My Index Tool Development News, by Ryszard Stocki
Princile 6: Enacting Cooperative Values
Creating Better Jobs and a Fairer Economy with Worker Cooperatives.
Union Co-ops Council of U.S. Federation of Worker Co-ops
$5 Million for Co-op Development in Madison
If Apple Were A Worker Cooperative
Des ouvriers reprennent la plus vieille fonderie de France
Nice-Matin est repris par ses salariés
Job Posting: La Siembra Bookkeeper
NASCO Cooperative Internship Network Accepting Host Applications...
Meeting of Worker Co-op Federations - CWCF and USFWC

By Hazel Corcoran


I had the great fortune of meeting on January 20th with Amy Johnson, the new Co-Executive Director or "ED" of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC) and the new ED, Melissa Hoover of their non-profit development partner, Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI). Melissa was the first ED of the USFWC and held that position until recently. We met at their shared office in Oakland, California. I was in the Bay Area primarily to support a group seeking to replicate a very successful San Francisco area worker co-op in Calgary.


It was inspiring to learn more about the US worker co-op movement, and at the same time very thought-provoking, even sobering on a variety of levels. In effect, we discussed our many differences, but also the increasing number of similarities between the US FWC and the CWCF. We also discussed particular points of potential collaboration.


There are extremely few organizations in North America which have a mandate of federating the worker co-operatives in their regions. Of the active organizations, it's primarily only six: CWCF, USFWC, the Mexican Confederation of Co-operatives of Diverse Activities and the three based in Quebec: the Forestry Co-op Federation, the Paramedic Co-op Federation and the R�seau ("Network" of Worker Co-operation). There are also a variety of city-based initiatives such as the Winnipeg Chapter of CWCF, and the Network of Bay Area Co-operatives.   


Arguably at this point in history, CWCF has more in common with USFWC than with any other organization on the planet. Canada and the US have approximately the same number of worker co-operatives, on the order of 350-400 in each country - despite the fact that the US has almost 10 times the population of Canada. However, given the fact that a very significant majority of the worker co-ops in Canada are in Quebec, whose worker co-ops traditionally do not join CWCF (only indirectly, through the three Quebec WC Federations), CWCF (primarily serving Canada outside Quebec) and the US FWC have more comparable numbers of worker co-ops per population than might be obvious in the numbers per country.


Both CWCF and USFWC struggle to some degree figuring out how to offer value-added, valuable services to our worker co-op members on shoestring budgets. There are certain services / activities which CWCF has developed that USFWC wishes to explore and/or offer in their context. These include CWCF's self-directed RRSP program for co-ops and CED Investment Funds, and the proposed agreement with the Worker Co-op Confederation in France ("CG-SCOP") on sharing business succession materials / resources. In the other direction, USFWC is developing a webinar series for new members of worker co-ops, and has done a road trip for both meeting worker co-op members and also recruiting members - activities which CWCF might want to adapt and use in Canada. The USFWC is open to such exploration. 


Both organizations are offering services to worker co-ops in our countries. Although both have English as their primary working language, CWCF seeks to offer as much in French as possible and USFWC to offer as much in Spanish as possible. Both have regional structures yet it seems there may not be a critical mass for support in the worker co-op movement in North America for both a regional & a national level - with the clear exception of Quebec and a few others. Further there are similar challenges in making the regional structures work well in terms of multiple layers of dues, accountability, etc.


DAWI is the space for focus on worker co-op development, and it currently has funding from both the US Department of Agriculture's co-op development resource center program, and from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Combined, these and other small funders have enabled DAWI to have seven staff members across the country, whereas the roughly equivalent entity, CoopZone in Canada, has only about 6 hours per week of staff time.


What was perhaps most interesting is the fact that US FWC is accustomed to working in an environment with virtually no government support or prospect of same such that it has not developed much expertise or experience in lobbying, whereas CWCF was at least between the year 2000 until 2012 in a space where small but important government support was available- thus CWCF has had a significant focus on government relations.   Now while the USFWC enters a phase where government support to worker co-ops and development is becoming possible (whether state, federal or even municipal such as in New York City etc.), in Canada, true federal government support seems very challenging at this point in time. Although CWCF continues to lobby for worker co-op interests, CWCF would do well to focus on what we ourselves can support people in doing within the market economy and with our own resources - which is more the way the USFWC and its members have run their affairs.


This takes me back to the reason for going to the San Francisco Bay Area in the first place - which is to help a group in Calgary to replicate a highly successful Bay Area worker co-op. That is the type of market-based solution which we can do on our own, whether or not we have government help. Obviously, with some government support such as for financing or to pay for technical assistance, replicating a successful co-op, like any co-op development, is easier to do. However in the Bay Area, it's been done successfully both with a bakery/pizzeria co-op and also with an immigrant "least toxic" house-cleaning worker co-op. There has been little government support, yet with this "anti-franchising" approach, much has been possible.


This replication model has long been on the radar of CWCF, but for the first time we are working with a group in Canada, assisted by the Californians who have pioneered the approach - based on the strengths they saw in Mondragon, Spain but adapted for their region. We now seek to adapt their adaptation and essentially franchise it here, for the benefit not of a multi-national or other franchisee, but for the worker-owners.  This is a story to be continued.  



"CWCF Compared" - Short Video, and PPT
This presentation, done in 6-minutes, was presented at the 2014 Fall Gathering of ACCA.   A slightly different version was also presented at the 2014 CWCF Conference. In here Hazel presents a bird's-eye view of CWCF.  The theme was "How CWCF is Both the Same as, and the Opposite of, the Acadian People."  Hazel said that  "In making an Ignite-style presentation at the ACCA Gathering, fall of 2014, I took the advice I'd seen on making a memorable presentation -- to make it outrageous."  Click here to access the video and her PowerPoint presentation.

Neechi Commons 

Recently Winnipeg was recognized by Maclean's Magazine,however this was not a positive  recognition...Welcome to Winnipeg: Where Canada's racism problem is at its worst. It's clear that racism exists elsewhere but in Winnipeg it's more obvious, perhaps because there are 75,000 aboriginals there.  People in Winnipeg are taking action.  In response to this media coverage, Winnipeg's Mayor Brian Bowman stated that he aims to help confront racism. According to his press statement, "We're here together to face this head on, as one community," stated Bowman in the foyer outside his office, following a smudge in the office (Winnipeg Free Press, Jan 22, 15).   


The Human Rights Museum has recently opened also in Winnipeg.  But more at the grass roots level Winnipeg's Aboriginal people are also taking action.  In CWCF's view, there is important, great work unfolding at 865 Main Street in  Winnipeg. It is our Worker Co-op member, Neechi Foods Co-operative. Neechi means "friend", "sister" or "brother" in Cree and Ojibwa. A recent  visitor to Winnipeg, Carolyn Pogue, took the opportunity to visit Neechi and the Human Rights Museum and wrote a great  review here about Neechi Commons, and Winnipeg.    


 For the past 25 years, Aboriginal-owned and operated social enterprise Neechi has made groceries and Aboriginal specialty foods and crafts available at affordable prices in Winnipeg's inner city. Neechi is based on the principle that economic healing is needed to sustain personal and social healing for many among the urban native population of Winnipeg.  


It needs your help to achieve its goals. It hopes to become the cornerstone for the revitalization of commerce in a Winnipeg neighbourhood that has faced long-term economic hardship. The Co-op has created over 40 new employment opportunities for aboriginal youth and other neighbourhood residents.


In the words of Louise Champagne, founder of the enterprise: "Neechi Commons symbolizes how Aboriginal People can regain control of land and economic decision-making within a modern community context."


Currently they are working on a capital funding campaign to raise additional funds which Neechi badly needs to take it to the next level of community building, health promotion, Aboriginal self-reliance and determination, and economic development. CWCF has assembled a Neechi Support Committee that is actively working with Neechi to support its efforts.


If you would like to help combat racism in Winnipeg you can contribute to Neechi's success, please contact Hazel at or if you live in Winnipeg, please try to purchase food, gifts (at Neechi Niche), and other products from Neechi Commons.  


Plans are in the works for various other ways people can help; you can expect to hear more about this soon.  You can read all about it here or here: .    


Together, we can work together to ensure that Aboriginal people in Winnipeg are recognized and supported by everyone.



Wishes for 2015 by Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG)

Jeremy, a member at our Worker Co-op member SSG was asked by BC Co-op Association for his intention for 2015. Here is his response: 

"A hope that cooperatives and credit unions adopt sustainability and climate change action as an 8th Cooperative Principle and meaningfully enact this principle in their organizations and the work they do." 
Read here for more wishes from familiar names in British Columbia 


MyIndex Tool Development News by Ryszard Stocki


1. Interviews with experts to verify the model


In Wolfville, I presented for the first time the conceptual framework of my research. Its present form after some minor changes is presented on my web page. Now it is time to verify it and build appropriate tools to confirm the hypotheses about the role of expertise and lifestyle in co-operative isomorphism.  Some of the tools used in this research will constitute MyIndex - a new tool for individual diagnosis.


To develop MyIndex, I started to conduct interviews with co-operative experts.. The interviews consist of:

(1)    a map of co-operative world drawn by the expert with my technical help

(2)    myself describing the model to the expert,

(3)    discussion of possible amendments to the model - proposed by the expert,

(4)    experts recommendations regarding the optimal knowledge of co-op members and employees in the domains, and

(5)    detailed recommendations regarding the sources of skill and information to be tested. 


I have conducted two full interviews with Karen Miner and Sonja Novkovic and started to interview Tom Webb.


If there is anything you would like me to ask the experts, please send me your questions. You can click "MyIndex interview script" to see the whole script. 


Would you recommend any experts to interview?  Please send me their names and affiliations to my e-mail: ryszard(at)


2. CASC Conference and CoopIndex


Together with CWCF Financial Officer Peter Hough, we have decided to gather all CoopIndex results from Canadian and American worker co-ops and analyse the psychometric features of the tool.  I hope we can present the results of the analysis as well as a new version of the tool in March. 


3.  Cuban Co-operatives

The work on the Cuban version of the CoopIndex is in progress. Our whole team: Sonja Novkovic, Wendy Holm, Peter Hough, Tom Webb, and myself together with several colleagues from Cuba have prepared ourselves for discussion and workshops in Cuba in February.


Blog (

I have written a post explaining my rationale for diagnosing five domains of co-operators knowledge you can read it by clicking "Five domains of co-operative expertise". Feel free to comment the post.

If you want to read more about this research, visit the website here. You can also sign up for Ryszard Stocki's  newsletters here.

P6: Enacting Cooperative Values
Add a description
Chalkboard with P6 criteria at Seward Community Co-op in Minneapolis, MN

By Rubi Levine

Principle Six (P6) provides a pathway for everyday people to use our cooperatively owned community institutions to move money into the hands of small, local, and cooperative businesses. We believe that small, local producers are the backbone of healthy and sustainable regional food systems everywhere. We believe cooperatives are a powerful model for creating economies based on equity, democracy, and community-based economic development here, nationally and internationally.


 Through P6, we're re-investing in the work grocery co-ops across the US have been doing for the last 30 years, which is building social justice and sustainability in the food system. Co-ops built the natural and organic marketplace, but over time incredible consolidation has occurred in our food system. Large corporations now own, control, and profit from a vast percentage of the natural and organic food industry. P6 examines ownership and control and redirects profit to producers who create the kind of food system we want to support by focusing on small, local, cooperative producers.  Click here to read the article and/or watch the video. 



Creating Better Jobs and a Fairer Economy with Worker Cooperatives     

Worker cooperatives are a powerful tool for economic and community development. This resource, by the US-based Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI) describes their role in creating a more just economy. It provides an overview of the benefits of the cooperative form, with examples of existing cooperatives and quotes from worker-owners. The resource also describes current initiatives to develop cooperatives by nonprofits, as well as government initiatives to spur the growth of the sector.  To access this resource. click here.

Union Co-ops Council of U.S. Federation of Worker Co-ops Annual Report
The 2014 Annual Report of the Union Co-ops Council provides an update on their activities over the past year. Click here to read this report. To read this report click here.  If you want more information about Union Co-ops Council click here.



$5 Million for Co-op Development in Madison
In Madison, city government and cooperatives are working together to create opportunities for workers and neighborhoods.


The Madison Common Council, known as city councils or commissions in other cities, approved the initiative on Nov. 11, 2014. This allocation is the largest by a U.S. municipality. Earlier last year, New York allocated $1.2 million to help worker cooperative development.  


City and community planners hope to use the money to not only create jobs and cooperatives, but to boost poor neighborhoods, form union cooperatives, create group entrepreneurship and to develop cross-sectoral cooperative collaboration.  


Rebecca Kemble, President of the US FWC whom many of you may have met at our CWCF conferences, lives in Madison and is currently running for Madison City Council.  If you want to read this full article click here. 

If Apple Were A Worker Cooperative, Each Employee Would Earn At Least $403K
Apple has 98,000 employees and earned $39.5 billion after tax over the past year. If Apple was a worker cooperative, then each employee would have received a $403,000 dividend on top of their salaries. Even the lowest paid worker would have earned at least $403,000 in Apple as worker cooperative. To read the full article click here.



Des ouvriers reprennent la plus vieille fonderie de France

Ville-Coop, decembre 2014, Num�ro 9


Le tribunal de commerce d'Albi a accept� l'offre de reprise de la plus ancienne fonderie de France par une partie de ses ouvriers r�unis au sein d'une soci�t� coop�rative et participative (Scop).Convaincus des perspectives d'avenir de leur entreprise, ils avaient d�cid� de pr�senter une offre de reprise dans le cadre d'une Scop � la suite du placement en liquidation judiciaire de leur fonderie en juillet. L'entreprise oeuvre dans le mat�riel ferroviaire, les manufactures de pneumatiques, la motorisation navale, terrestre, a�rienne, l'�nergie hydraulique, l'armement et le mat�riel agricole.,944625.php



Nice-Matin est repris par ses salari�s
Ville-Coop, decembre 2014, Num�ro 9

Les salari�s de Nice-Matin, un journal fran�ais, deviennent collectivement propri�taires de leur entreprise qui connaissait des difficult�s financi�res. C'est leur projet de coop�rative qui a �t� retenu par le tribunal de commerce de Nice. Le projet des salari�s �tait au coude � coude avec ceux d'investisseurs priv�s qui pr�voyaient la suppression de pr�s du tiers des effectifs. Les salari�s ont rassembl� un financement de   14,2 millions d'euros. La soci�t� coop�rative d'int�r�t collectif (SCIC) des salari�s pr�voit 159 d�parts "volontaires". Le projet est soutenu par la r�gion et certains �lus locaux.



Job Posting: La Siembra Bookkeeper
La Siembra, a worker co-op based in Ottawa, is recruiting for a Bookkeeper. To apply please submit your resume and answers to their questions to by February 6, 2015.Click here for more details. 


NASCO Cooperative Internship Network Accepting Host Applications

North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO)'s  Cooperative Internship Network is officially accepting host applications for 2015 internship positions!


They are reaching out to potential partners to participate in their matching process and host an intern this upcoming summer. Eligible host sites may be co-ops, organizations that support co-ops, or New / Solidarity Economy organizations. 


The NASCO Cooperative Internship Network allows cooperatives and other organizations to directly market internships to cooperative youth through NASCO's membership and networks without the hassle of a traditional intern hiring process. Through this service, NASCO is responsible for processing host/intern applications, advertising the internships, identifying potential matches, and coordinating communications between hosts and interns - hosts simply design their internship and make a hiring decision!


NASCO's 65 member organizations represent over 5,500 individuals, the majority of whom are youth living in housing cooperatives. Unlike typical internship applicant pools, their members are entering the workforce with a wealth of cooperative experience, advanced democratic competencies, and a deep appreciation for the cooperative model.


Applications from host organizations are due by Friday, February 20th - visit their website for more information or to apply.


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