Grassroots Economic Survival
In a collaborative mechanism both parties — municipalities and sharing economy organisations — play active roles in the governance process. At least two city roles can be identified here: the ‘city as a negotiator’ and the ‘city as a partner.’
Insert an image into the text Publication date Mon, 11/11/2019 - 12:00
[I]n the eight years since the launch of the FFP [Fair Food Program], despite the expressed interest of smaller, local food retailers to do their part and engage with the Program, these buyers had no avenue to support the change underway on Fair Food farms. That was because the very engine that drove the program’s unprecedented success — the market consequences for violations of the FFP’s standards established in the CIW’s agreements with some of the world’s largest purchasers of produce — relied on the participating buyers’ overwhelming purchasing power to provide the necessary incentive for growers to remain in compliance with the Fair Food Program Code of Conduct. So for eight years, small, local grocers could not participate in a model founded on the market power of multi-billion dollar retail food corporations.
But today, Friday, November 8th, 2019, that is all about to change, as New York City’s fabled Park Slope Food Coop – one of the country’s largest, longest-running consumer coops – is launching a new partnership with the CIW in support of the Fair Food Program. The partnership will combine financial support for the monitoring and enforcement body of the Fair Food Program (the Fair Food Standards Council) through the contribution of a portion of the proceeds from the sale of FFP produce with a commitment to educate coop members about the importance of human rights protections for farmworkers though in-store promotions and educational events. And, perhaps most importantly, this exciting new partnership will open a vital new avenue for countless other similarly situated consumer coops, local retailers, restaurants and small restaurant chains to participate in the Presidential-medal winning human rights program.
Insert an image into the text Publication date Mon, 11/11/2019 - 12:00
Luis Razeto Migliaro considers the relationship between spirituality and economy.
We are fast approaching the 4th Biennial Union Coop Symposium. Join practitioners, social entrepreneurs, labor organizers, co-op workers, and community development practitioners in learning about practical tools on how to start and run union worker cooperatives and developing connections between union coops across North America (and beyond!). A full schedule is available so that you may plan your day and attend the sessions which you find the most informative. Join us ahead of the Symposium for a pre-conference Co-op Policy Workshop at Cincinnati City Hall and a screening of the films Shift Change and Don't Give Up Your Voice co-hosted by Cincinnati World Cinema at the Garfield Theatre on Thursday the 14th, at 10:30 am and 7:00 pm respectively.
If you find yourself in the Cincinnati area, but are unable to commit to two full days of intensive cooperation, come for the Symposium Dinner Friday night, for a delicious meal and a wide array of inspiring speakers. Tickets and further details about the Symposium and lodging options are all available here.
Insert an image into the text Publication date Thu, 11/07/2019 - 12:00
Earlier this week, Howard Brodsky, Co-Founder, Chairman and Co-CEO of CCA Global Partners, Inc. made history by winning the International Rochdale Pioneers Award during the biennial International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) Global Cooperative Conference, an event gathering delegations from over 106 countries in Kigali, Rwanda, to celebrate cooperatives vital contribution to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Brodsky Co-Founded CCA Global in Manchester, NH in 1984, bringing scale to entrepreneurial family businesses by creating an international enterprise of 15 unique cooperative businesses in multiple sectors of the economy from home furnishings, business services, sports retail stores, to childcare, nonprofits and more. Together, they serve 1 million small businesses in four countries and 20,000 childcare centers across America.
Beyond his innovations domestically, Brodsky has emerged as a leader in the global cooperative movement, founding Cooperatives for a Better World (CFBW), a not-for-profit dedicated to sharing the benefits of shared ownership and the cooperative business model. CFBW has partnered with cooperatives in 14 countries, reaching over a quarter of the world population.
In the digital economy there is a tendency towards market concentration through what is known as the “network effect”. People join Facebook because most of their friends are there, making competition difficult and driving the market towards concentration.
The network effect also drives businesses towards “blitscaling”, where losses are subsidised with investors money in order to grow the market share.
The dilemma for platform cooperatives is the following:
1. The cooperative model is better suited for monopolies and monopsonies than shareholder businesses.
2. The cooperative model is less suitable than a shareholder business at growing market share while making a loss, as it is difficult to have outside investors subsidise the initial losses.
Insert an image into the text Publication date Tue, 11/05/2019 - 12:00
An interview with Angelica, Bianca, and Noa of Tribe Co-create, conducted by Malikia Johnson as part of the Take Care of Each Other World Tour.
The Austin Cooperative Business Association announces a big win for cooperatives in Central Texas, as the Austin City Council passes an express directive to the Economic Development Department to pilot a worker cooperative development program in fiscal year 2020. This program will create outreach and education materials, and provide direct technical assistance to groups seeking to form worker owned businesses as well as cooperative conversions, in which an existing business is sold to its workers.
The specifics of the recommendation include $50,000 for a pilot program to provide training, technical assistance, referrals, and outreach, $20,000 for providing technical assistance to owners and workers when converting businesses to co-ops, and $5,000 for advertising costs to promote succession to a worker cooperative to a wider audience, and assisting the city’s Small business Program with developing an online “How To” guide.
Insert an image into the text Publication date Fri, 11/01/2019 - 12:00
There is a growing sector of worker owned staffing agency cooperatives. For example, the Staffing Cooperative consists of two staffing agencies - the Core Staffing Cooperative and the Tribe.
The Core Staffing Cooperative consists of formerly incarcerated individuals. This is a group of people who typically have difficulty finding employment and when they do, it's often found through staffing agencies. The workers elect 7 of the 9 board of directors, with investors having the two remaining seats. So far, the recidivism rate of the workers stands at 0%, and the markup fees are lower than the industry average.
The Tribe is a digital on-demand staffing platform owned by the workers, specialising mostly in software development.
Insert an image into the text Publication date Thu, 10/31/2019 - 12:00
On the whole, the 59-unit co-op seems fine. Its vacancy loss is low, Hawthorne has reported a surplus in four of the past five years and the building condition is good. With its mortgage paid off in 2018, the co‑op has been making almost three times its former contribution to the capital reserve.
Instead of coasting comfortably, Hawthorne made a successful application to CMHC’s Preservation Fund to pay for an energy audit, aging-in-place conversion assessment and building condition assessment. The co-op has now reviewed the energy-audit recommendations, which have payback periods ranging from less than a year to, in one case, about 28 years. They will enable the co-op to cut back on the energy and water used by members.
Insert an image into the text Publication date Tue, 10/29/2019 - 12:00
A small group, formed an ISP Co-op called Clatskanie Co-op. This group of people (up to 60 members now, I beleive), connect to each other and the main antennae through a node system. They literally connect a web nodal structure to create their internet service provider. They use Althea Mesh technology. I will let Althea’s page speak for itself, however it is a very interesting process.
The big value here is that this creates an affordable pathway for rural communities to access and control the internet. This means access to work and education opportunities, it means access to news and entertainment.
Insert an image into the text Publication date Mon, 10/28/2019 - 12:00
[T]here was a time when Germany was home to one of the West’s most ambitious social housing projects — and it was run by trade unionists.
This was, indeed, no small initiative. Until 1982, the German Trade Union Confederation — the Deutsch Gewekschaftsbund (DGB) — owned the largest housing and construction companies in Europe. Encompassing 400,000 apartments, its portfolio also included swimming pools, shopping malls, office spaces, universities, congress centers and health clinics. It was one of the world’s most significant examples of a cooperative social housing project — one built not in the interests of corporate profit, but from below, in service of residents themselves.
At its peak, the DGB’s Neue Heimat (“New Homeland”) had a turnover of 6.4 billion DM (around €3 billion in today’s money) and employed nearly 6,000 people, with dozens of subsidiary companies throughout West Germany and the world. The idea was to create affordable cooperative housing, democratically owned and managed by the broad sections of the population who lived in them.
Insert an image into the text Publication date Fri, 10/25/2019 - 12:00
Our T-shirts are unique because they are made in a workers co-op in Bangladesh run by former sweatshops workers and sold wholesale in the UK, ready for people to print their own designs on them. We then use the profits to fund our campaign work and garment worker unions that fight for the rights of workers still stuck in the sweatshop nightmare.
Insert an image into the text Publication date Thu, 10/24/2019 - 12:00
Good short article about our work. However, we share it with one clarification. We, Cooperation Jackson, were not largely responsible for the election of the current administration in Jackson, many of our members were part of the broad coalition that helped the administration get elected. This is critical for everyone to note and learn from in regards to understanding municipal politics and power.
Cooperation Jackson is only five years old, but the vision behind it is older. The original founders met through another organization focused on Black Liberation, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. They began to strategize to build a community of cooperatives in 2001, while many still lived in disparate parts of the country. Eventually, they chose to launch their participatory democracy project in Jackson, Mississippi. With a population of 165,000, eighty-one percent of which is black, Jackson is the capital city of the blackest and poorest state in the U.S.
Prior to the Civil War, Mississippi was one of the wealthiest states. That wealth was rooted in agriculture and built on slavery. Over the past century and a half, Mississippi has become famous for its musical, literary, and Civil Rights contributions and infamous for its racist politicians, lynchings and poverty.
“Jackson is a place that, with our limited energy and resources, we felt we could have an impact,” says a Cooperation Jackson founder, Kali Akuno. “There’s a rich history of struggle that’s already here and a high level of Black autonomous infrastructure.”
Insert an image into the text Publication date Wed, 10/23/2019 - 12:00
Among the finalists was political economist Jessica Gordon Nembhard, professor of community justice and social economic development in the Department of Africana Studies at John Jay College, City University of NY.
Her work includes study of community-based economic development, alternative urban development, co-op economics and worker ownership, racial and economic inequality, credit unions and community-based asset building.
In 2014, she published Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice based on 15 years of research, and she was inducted into the into the US Cooperative Hall of Fame in 2016.
Other finalists included economist Kate Raworth, whose ideas for a sustainable, people-friendly ‘doughnut economics’ has attracted the attention of the co-op movement.
Read the rest at Co-operative News
Insert an image into the text Publication date Mon, 10/21/2019 - 12:00
Construction companies seem ripe for the co-op model. The very nature of contracting means a team effort. Along the I-5 corridor between Bellingham and Olympia, there are three construction co-ops and more interested.
Northwest Construction Co-op in Olympia focuses on home remodeling with specialty in tile and linoleum. This co-op was part of the legacy of the Eggplant with some of its founding members also part of New Moon Café. Former members of the co-op also went on to form two other co-ops: Business Services Co-op and the NW Painting Co-op. They are not just building homes, these folks are also building co-operatives. As I understand, part of the spin-offs arose (in part) from the activities not being a core service of the co-op and it seemed smarter for the co-op to focus on its strengths and create new co-ops...
Insert an image into the text Publication date Fri, 10/18/2019 - 12:00
Central Brooklyn Food Coop (CBFC) is one of the only urban Black-led food cooperatives in the nation – and the only one in New York City. After six years of surveying and planning, we are ready to take root and open our doors in Summer 2020. Help us take the critical step of raising funds for our inaugural down payment so we can secure our home.
CBFC is here to center the long-term residents and communities of BedStuy/Crown Heights and collectively improve local food options. Our commitment to Food Sovereignty affirms and reclaims the power of food by providing access that is affordable, fresh, welcoming, and community-owned.
Insert an image into the text Publication date Thu, 10/17/2019 - 12:00
With nearly half of privately owned U.S. businesses with employees owned by boomers, Adams and Chittenden were facing an increasingly common problem: Develop a succession plan or close the business, which in their case would mean laying off eight employees and shutting a company they had built from the ground up.
Finding a competent buyer was unlikely because of the niche service Adams and Chittenden provided—artisan-level glass blowing for scientific applications. Even if they did find that magic buyer, the two were concerned about the livelihood of the business after they left; the two founders have nearly a century of glass blowing experience between them.
“You can’t just hand your head to somebody and say ‘here, use this,’” Adams said. “It’s transmittable, but not trivially.”
That’s when Adams and Chittenden started looking into cooperative conversion options.
“Passing it onto a co-op means that we still get to pass that tribal knowledge on,” Adams said.
Insert an image into the text Publication date Wed, 10/16/2019 - 12:00
Are you an heirs property owner? Are you looking for a path forward that leads to opportunity, wealth creation, and asset building for your family's land? You don't want to miss this opportunity to learn how to clear your title and create wealth-building opportunities on family land!
Atlanta, Georgia December 4th - 6th, 2019
Embassy Suites by Hilton, Atlanta Airport
The Federation's history of using successful land retention strategies has focused on outreach, education, and technical assistance in resolving heirs property issues, estate planning, and developing alternative ownership models such as corporations, cooperatives, trusts, limited liability companies, and intra-family buy-outs. The Federation's Regional Heirs Property and Mediation Center works with 600 heirs annually across the Black Belt Region.
Insert an image into the text Publication date Tue, 10/15/2019 - 12:00