Category Archives: CWOP




This month the Community and Worker Ownership Project presented at the National Cooperative Business Association annual Impact Conference.

We are dedicated to promoting, through education and engagement a deepening awareness of cooperative models that raise workers’ collective power, knowledge and voice. We were delighted to be part of this conference to deepen the framework of diversity, inclusion and equity in worker education.

The NCBA is over 100 years old and has been advocating for cooperative entities and related legislation all these years. This year’s conference had the theme of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. CWOP facilitated a workshop on the diverse ways education is used to build and strengthen cooperatives. We featured several New Yorkers from the coop  movement here; Omar Friella with Green Worker Co-ops and Félix E. Gardón Rivera, from the NYC Network of Worker Coops. Other speakers came come from universities, unions and the cooperative ecosystem, all sharing how they work for Cooperative Principle #5; education, training and information.  Erin Hancock from St. Mary’s University; Stacy Sutton from University of Illinois, Chicago; Neil Gladstein from International Association of Machinists; Rebecca Bauen from Democracy at Work Institute and its School of Democratic Management.

Our own, Rebecca Lurie, framed the discussion to elucidate the many ways people learn, from on-the-job-training to professional development  to university settings. Most important to realize as the take-away is this: There is no wrong venue to teach cooperation, but many. Learning to strengthen cooperative businesses can happen in so many ways. We need to approach with awareness of best practices of adult education with principles of engagement and inclusion. You can see the full 75 minute workshop here:  NCBA workshop on Principle #5 And you can find the link to presenters’ resources here It is worth noting that this spring semester at SLU we will run a course intended to further the  competencies explored in the workshop in a Special Topics course, “Cooperative Management for Changing World”. If you have interest please reach out the your student advisor or Rebecca Lurie for more information.

Also at the NCBA conference:

CUNY Law’s own, Carmen Heurtas-Noble was inducted into the Coop Hall of Fame for 2020. You can see the video here! This was a great honor as the movement expands to recognize and better serve people of color and Carmen has been a champion for POC in the coop movement for nearly 20 years. This follows another CUNY professor, Jessica Gordon Nemhard, who was inducted in 2016 in recognition of her important book, “Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice”.

The School of Labor and Urban Studies was pleased to join the voices for worker education and power at this Cooperative Impact Conference.




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,





We are thrilled  to announce the Community & Worker Ownership Project (CWOP) has a new intern that will be working with us on communications and research. 

Lesly Calle has joined our team! She is a fourth-year Macaulay Honors student at the City College of New York pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Economics. 

For the summer term, she worked with the World Resources Institute under the Climate team, where she performed research on carbon pricing initiatives and learned of the disproportionate impacts carbon emissions have on low-income communities and communities of color. Lesly was part of the inaugural class of Climate Policy Fellows at the Colin Powell School of Civic and Global Leadership in the Fall semester of 2019. As a fellow, she worked with a team to develop a policy brief on single-use plastic mitigation and its effects on climate change. 

For the 2020-2021 academic year, Lesly was selected for the Edward I. Koch Fellowship in Public Service at CCNY, which helped her develop a partnership with CWOP this semester to help us develop and enhance our communications strategy. In the coming months, she will help to promote the understanding of cooperatives and economic democracy as part of the solution for our current economic injustices. 

Lesly is interested in social justice, economic inequality, and environmental policy and is looking to understand how economics can serve as a bridge for equality. Through this internship, she hopes to learn of the role cooperative economies play in promoting economic justice and building community wealth both locally and globally. To further her understanding in this topic, she is taking a class on Economic Democracy at the School for Labor and Urban Studies taught by professor Michael Menser. 

Lesly was born and raised in NYC and is a first generation college student. 

Sofia Arana Shares Economic Democracy Lessons From Basque Country

By Rebecca Lurie

Last week, CWOP hosted a conversation with Sofia Arana from the Basque Country. She shared a qualitative comparison of US tax codes and those of the Basque region in Spain as ways and reasons we have such difficult uptake of just and equitable economic development in the US. Her chapter in the book The Basque Tax System, produced by The Center for Basque Studies and the University of Nevada, Reno, makes a point of thanking SLU as the host of her studies and research as she honors the ancient ways of the Basque Economic Agreement.  The information she shared offered a perspective we can use when trying to understand and advocate for policies and taxation that encourages stronger communities and better businesses. Her chapter offers insights gained living in her region of the world through  “The impact of the Basque Economic Agreement on Community Economic Development”.

Guests included scholars from Brooklyn College, the Graduate Center and Rutgers University, activists from the NYC cooperative community and representatives from the Deputy Mayor’s Office on Strategic Innovations.

Many thanks to Sofia for generating such a fruitful discussion and opportunity for a shared thinking. More to come!

Event: Putting Democracy to Work: How Women Lead Worker Cooperatives (7/24)

Wednesday, July 24, 2019: 6:30-8:00 PM
CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies
25 W. 43rd Street, Room 18A-B
New York, NY 10036


  • Adria Powell, CEO and President, Cooperative Home Care Associates
  • Maru Bautista, Director of the Cooperative Development Project, Center of Family Life
  • Rebecca Lurie, CUNY SLU Professor, Moderator

Join us for a presentation in connection with the SLU summer course “Theory, Practice and Principles of Cooperative Enterprise Management.” Over the past eight weeks, 25 SLU students engaged in learning and experiencing cooperative management techniques and approaches for bringing the change we want to see in the world.

This special final session will feature guest speakers from two of the largest organizations involved in worker co-ops in New York City. Adria Powell, CEO and President of Cooperative Home Care Associates in the Bronx, represents the cooperative with more than 2,000 workers who are members of 1199SEIU-United Healthcare Workers East. Maru Bautista, Director of the Cooperative Development Project at the Center for Family Life in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, serves the immigrant communities with start-up support and sector-based cooperative economic development. Both women serve on the board of Democracy At Work Institute (DAWI), and both are members of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives. SLU Professor Rebecca Lurie will host the conversation and moderate a discussion with the audience.

No RSVP necessary. Doors open at 6 PM. Light refreshments will be served.

Economic Democracy on Laura Flanders Show

Last month, SLU hosted Our Economy!, a conference where leaders in community, labor and the economic democracy movement gathered to vision for an economy that can work for everyone. The most recent episode of the Laura Flanders Show covers some of the conversations that took place at the conference, and which have been happening in SLU’s Community and Worker Ownership Project and beyond. Check it out here:

via Laura Flanders Show:

Our city’s economy – what is it for? New York’s has been very good at piling up profits and building tall buildings. But all that private profit has come at a cost to public services and public trust. Could it be different? On this week’s show, we talk about the new conversations that are happening between labor unions and community members. Between residents, workers, and employers about how everyone’s economy can move forward.