GEO 74 (I)

The U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives Turns Two

By Maria Trigona

Inside the BAUEN Hotel, one of Argentina's worker-run workplaces, janitors, repairmen, receptionists and maids sit in an assembly with worried but determined faces and sheets of paper in hand. Each of the workers, some of whom have been working at the hotel since it was built in 1978, hold a court ordered eviction notice, a judicial document notifying the workers they must abandon the hotel or police will force them to leave.

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A VIDEO REVIEW by Frank Lindenfeld, GEO Collective

This video is about the struggles and successes of the unemployed worker movements in Agentina, intended for use by social change workshops. It is a useful complement to Naomi Klein and Avi Lewisâ??s film, The Take, about the recovered factories movement, where workers take over abandoned factories and re-start production under worker self-management. The dialogue in Work, Dignity & Social Change is in Spanish, with English subtitles.

By Len Krimerman

Every year the Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation honors one of its members with the "Worker Co-op Merit Award"--an idea we might well want to consider for our own USA Federation. This year they selected Edmonton-based MCHB, a truly remarkable venture which is addressing, in a very special way, the otherwise unmet needs of that city's "immigrant and refugee" communities.

By John W. Lawrence

At the National Conference of Democratic Workplaces, two workshops focused on the challenges of raising capital for worker cooperatives. The first workshop presented a series of case studies of innovative strategies for raising capital. In the second workshop "Building Community Wealth," lenders and foundations with a track record of investing in worker cooperatives described their mission.

by Chris Heneghan

Just over a year after the Boston Workers Alliance (BWA) was founded at a convergence of "jobless workers" from Boston's Dorchester, and Roxbury neighborhoods, members of their job creation committee were in New York City at the second national conference of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives discussing plans to establish a temp agency cooperative in the Greater Boston area.

By Len Krimerman, GEO Collective

I had expected the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC) conference to be extraordinarily good, but it exceeded even that expectation. There was a wonderful mix of energies, ages, languages, cultures, regions, sectors, perspectives...that often found common ground; there were issues discussed that usually are kept off the table; there were ever so many signs of a movement matured, full of experience and promise, ready to take risks and take off.

By Melissa Hoover

Worker co-ops, community organizing, asset-building, economic development, environmental sustainability. These connections came up again and again at the recent national worker cooperative conference, a co-op conference that was exciting to me in part for the number of people attending who weren't --as yet--in co-ops.

By John W. Lawrence

The keynote speaker at the Second U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperative Conference was Rick Surpin. In 1985 Rick founded Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA), the first worker-owned home care cooperative in the United States. CHCA now employs over 1,000 home care workers in quality jobs. Virtually all of the worker-owners of CHCA are African American and Latina women.

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This issue focuses on the 2nd National Conference of Democratic Workplaces in NYC last October. About 300 people from more than 100 different co-ops and support groups attended.

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