In the spring, a month into the shutdown, CWOP’s founder, Rebecca Lurie, was invited to be on the Mayor’s Advisory Council for Labor and Workforce Development. While much of those council meetings were about the different ways workers all over our city were being most impacted and how they can be protected, we also discussed ways forward through this economic turmoil. Mayor de Blasio visited these meetings twice and each time, asking is all for innovation through these hard times, he explicitly referenced worker coops as a possibility for a transformative way forward. CWOP took up the baton and initiated (and reinvigorated) an ongoing discussion, intended to gather leaders who represent workers in different settings.

Our call to action is to cultivate, by industry sector and neighborhood, shared learning and practice with the mission to advance innovative possibilities for building economic resilience with cooperative solutions. Working together with regular monthly meetings we can apply cooperative principles to problems our workers, communities and businesses face to apply cooperative principles to problems they are most close to. Together we will explore sustainable solutions with industry cooperatives and company conversions that can support business continuity, resilience and succession planning.

We have had three meetings, July, August and September. They are each part learning and part talking.

July we heard from SEIU1199, Consortium for Worker Education, UFCW1500, NYC Dept. of Consumer and Worker Protection, the Mayor’s Office on Workforce Development, NYC Network of Worker Coops, Cooperative Home Care Associates to initiate the space and welcome common and shared interests.

August included learning about the Trust for Workers in Washington State, where 40,000 homecare workers will benefit from this cooperative solution. Home Care Workers Trust – presentation here

We heard from

From the NYC Dept. of Consumer and Worker Protection, we heard briefly about their research and recommendations for Municipal Policies for Community Wealth Building, NYC DCWP 

September meeting we heard from:

  • Andrea Armeni from Transform Finance,
  • Brendan Martin, Ghislain Guiebo and Scott Trumbell from The Working World,
  • Mark Winston-Griffith, Bianca Bockman and Ashleigh Eubanks with the Central Brooklyn Food Democracy Project,
  • Rob Newell, Paul Santarpis and Aidan Mohan from the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 1500
  • Roger Green with Citizen Share Brooklyn and the Campaign to Transform Interfaith.

Here is the  Cooperative Solutions Working Group Sept 24, 2020 meeting recording

The conversation linked together broad views of financing models and a local view of how Mutual Aid and systems thinking are creating a strategy for a food and justice based economic ecosystem in Brooklyn.

The ideas in these meetings are shared with intent to prime our collective hive-minds for innovation with a clear lens for equity and economic justice. The cooperative principles include Concern for Community. Every pitched idea brings this concern to the fore, looking for pathways to worker empowerment and community wealth. The economy is ours to rebuild!

To stay up to date with future meetings , we invite you to sign up for the CWOP mailing list HERE and noting that you want to be invited to these working group meetings. We truly appreciate your support. If you have any questions about the meeting or about the Community and Worker Ownership Project at CUNY’s School of Labor and Urban Studies  and this NYC Cooperative Solutions Working Group, feel free to contact us at our project’s shared email, CWOP@slu.cuny.edu