CFL is excited to announce a fall training series for organizations interested in worker cooperative development in NYC. This 6-session training will focus on socio-political foundations of cooperative development, coop basics and development models, and tools for organizing worker cooperatives.
This training is intended for organizations who want to explore creating a worker cooperative development initiative as a vehicle for economic justice in their community.
Read more here, and sign up for the information session here.
Tuesday, September 18th
10am – 11:30am
New Economy Project
121 West 27th Street, Suite 804
New York, NY 10001
On August 12th, historic legislation was passed in the form of the Main Street Employee Ownership Act — legislation which promises to “support small businesses that save jobs and invest in their workers and communities by transitioning to an employee-owned business form such as a cooperative (co-op) or an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).”
“We applaud this commitment to provide education, microloans, and training through the Small Business Administration, which will cultivate healthy business successions to employee ownership, saving critical business assets and keeping our communities strong and prosperous,” said Melissa Hoover, Executive Director of the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI). More from DAWI:
Thousands of worker cooperatives and ESOPs in the US have demonstrated that employee ownership is good for businesses, workers, and the local economy. Companies that transition to employee ownership see an increase in productivity by 4 to 5 percent, tend to survive longer than conventional firms, and have fewer layoffs. With a more equitable pay ratio and demonstrated impacts for workers across the wage spectrum, “employee ownership has great potential to stabilize employment, to root productive capital in communities, and to increase the assets and incomes of working families,” according to the National Center for Employee Ownership.
This legislation, which improves access to capital and technical assistance for employee-owned businesses, will greatly help worker co-ops, includes directives to SBA to:
Finance the sale of businesses to their employees
Work with Small Business Development Centers across the country to provide training and education on employee ownership options
Report on SBA’s lending and outreach to employee-owned businesses
The Public Bank NYC Coalition believes public money should work “for the public good, not private gain.” To that end, it advocates for a public bank that can:
support vital sectors of our local economy and divest from banks that are financing destructive corporate interests, including speculative real estate, private prison and immigrant detention companies, the global arms trade and the fossil fuel industry.
The Laura Flanders Show just released a video profile featuring Deyanira del Río from the New Economy Project, Linda Levy of the Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union and Enlace’s Cindy Martinez, highlighting the need for a bank and what it aims to do. Check it out!
On Friday, May 11th, in collaboration with Democracy @ Work New York, the Murphy Institute hosted a fascinating panel exploring how progressive local innovations stand to solve long-standing, seemingly intractable issues around poverty and inequality. Panelists included:
Michael Menser, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Brooklyn College, Earth and Environmental Science and Environmental Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center, Chair of the Board of The Participatory Budgeting Project, and author of We Decide! Theories and Cases in Participatory Democracy
Gabriela Alvarez, Chef and founder of Liberation Cuisine, a catering company dedicated to preparing meals collectively with sustainable ingredients and practices. Alvarez recently took her passion for healing and organizing with food to Puerto Rico to help with relief and rebuilding efforts
Kali Akuno, co-founder and co-director of Cooperation Jackson, a network of cooperatives and worker-owned enterprises and the author of Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi
Yorman Nunez, Program Manager at Community Innovators Lab MIT and coordinator of Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative
Miss the panel or want to experience it again? Watch it here:
In New York City worker cooperatives, participatory budgeting, and community land trusts are on the policy platform of the City Council’s progressive caucus and elected officials in the democratic party are pushing legislation for employee and worker ownership at the state and federal levels. With greater visibility and support from the public sector some believe that these pilots and experiments for neighborhoods to drive wealth creation and capture and create equitable economic opportunities can reach into broad-based and mainstream policy.
There is an opening here to expand the horizon of what is seen as possible for genuine equitable urban economic development, and its relationship to labor, communities and the political economy. In short, we can change the conversation from mostly pushing for greater accountability and transparency in the existing economic development order, to a conversation about what should come next and what policies and institutions would be a part of getting us there.
Last year, the Community and Worker Ownership Project and John Mollenkopf at the Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center were pleased to host Professor Sofia Arana Landin for research on cooperative economics in New York City. Her work was extensive in building foundational thought for a comparative study of cooperative enterprises’ success and challenges in the US as compared to other countries, especially in the European Union.
Professor Arana teaches taxation law and cooperatives at the public university in San Sebastian, Spain. Arriving to the states shortly after the inauguration of the 45th president for this research, the juxtaposition of opportunities and constraints was almost too much to bear. Nevertheless, she persisted.
This month was the bi-annual Labor Notes Conference of the “International Troublemakers and Boat-Rockers Union.” Those who have never been before can imagine it as the place where grassroots union and worker organizers meet union leadership on their terms, led by those previously left out of leadership in our unions. Youth, women and people of color speak, lead and shine.
At this year’s event in Chicago, Verizon workers and teachers led the day. With 3,000 attendees, the conference had workshops and panels celebrating and teaching the hard-learned ways to organize for deepening democracy and justice at work. Continue reading Dispatch from the Labor Notes Conference→
A conversation about workers, communities and social justice