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An Equal Exchange Story: When a founding member gets pushed out

Paper posted on March 6, 2011 was prepared for the Babson-Equal Exchange Cooperative Curriculum titled ‘The Worker Cooperative Life Cycle’ by John R. Whitman Ph.D. This is an academic- style paper that explored whether the Cook and Burress’ theory (2009) of the five phases of a co-operative fit the life cycle of Equal Exchange. The paper can be found at: http://cooperativecurriculum.wikispaces.com/file/view/The+Worker+Cooperative+Life+Cycle-Whitman.pdf As a non-academic I was more interested in the story of founding a worker co-operative, how democratic the worker co-operative is, and how a founding member can be forced out of a worker co-operative. John R. Whitman interviewed the founders of Equal Exchange in the paper. The following are excerpts from the paper in regards to this. Equal Exchange was founded from its founders compelling motivation to use their existing food warehouse co-operative skills to advocate on behalf of the interests of developing country farmers. The challenge faced by founders Jonathan…

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CWCF President Alain Bridault becomes a member of the CICOPA Executive Committee

CICOPA is the world organization of Industrial, Artisanal and Service Producers’ Cooperatives, or the “international worker co-op confederation”. It is a sectoral organization of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA). At the meeting of the Executive Committee of CICOPA held in February, CICOPA appointed Alain Bridault as a member of its Executive Committee. Alain represents North America on behalf of the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation (CWCF). President of CWCF since November 2009, Alain Bridault represents Region Federation member Le Réseau de la coopération du travail du Québec on the CWCF Board. Alain, who is also President of his worker co-op, La Coopérative Orion in Quebec City, is the first CICOPA Executive Committee member to come from Quebec. In recommending Alain to the Committee, CICOPA President Javier Salaberria (of Mondragon) described him as an “extraordinary new colleague”. His appointment was approved unanimously. A co-founder of the Bachelor’s degree in Co-operative Administration at…

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CWCF Presentation to the Standing Committee on Finance on February 15, 2011

CWCF Executive Director Hazel Corcoran and President Alain Bridault made a presentation to the Standing Committee on Finance in Ottawa on February 15, 2011. They recommended that the federal government: Launch a Co-operative Investment Strategy with two components : A Canadian Co-operative Development Fund; and A federal Co-op Investment Plan 2. Make the federal Co-operative Development Initiative (CDI) permanent; 3. Expand the CDI into the new area of conversions to worker co-ops. See the entire written presentation attached below. For the audio visit scroll down to Meeting 58 at: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/CommitteeBusiness/CommitteeMeetings.aspx?Cmte=FINA&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=3 In the picture is Hazel Corcoran, Peter Hough and Alain Bridault meeting Victoria MP Denise Savoie and Burnaby-New Westminster MP Peter Julian. They also met with Kings-Hants Nova Scotia MP Scott Brison (Peter Hough’s representative) and Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture), a ministry that includes co-operatives. Finance Committee Submission by CWCF 02 15 11 – English

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February 2011 CCPA Monitor Article – The Case For Worker Co-operatives

Attached below, please see CWCF’s article titled ‘The Case for Worker Co-operatives’ in the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ February 2011 issue of the Monitor. For more info on the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives go to: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/ CCPA_February_2011_The_Case_For_Worker_Co-operatives

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Marty Frost Recipient of CWCF Merit Award

The Worker Co-op Merit Award for Exemplary Contributions to Worker Co-operation was presented to Marty Frost. Peter Hough, who presented the award, warned us that if he were to relate all of Marty’s contributions to the co-operative sector he would keep us all night but instead he would just focus on those specific to worker co-operation. To the surprise of many in the room, Peter related the fact that that the existence of the CWCF in its form today or perhaps indeed its very existence, is based upon the initiative of Marty Frost. Back in 1989, Marty had a discussion with Bob Allen and Jack Quarter at the NASCO meeting in the USA about the worker co-op sector in Canada. The discussion led them to the conclusion that perhaps it was time to develop a national federation of worker co-ops. After his return, Marty set about fund-raising with the CCA’s…

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CWCF Recipient of CCA Governance Award

June 18, 2010 – The Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation is pleased to announce that it is the recipient of a 2010 Leadership in Co-operative Governance Award presented by the Canadian Co-operative Association. According to the CCA’s website, “The Leadership in Co-operative Governance Award recognizes governance innovation and excellence in co-operatives and credit unions across Canada. The awards seek to showcase the movement’s strengths in the area of governance and provide the opportunity for co-op and credit union boards to learn from each other. The Awards criteria are based on three factors: overall governance excellence; effective co-operative governance practices; and innovation in governance.” In their June 17, 2010 ‘Co-operative News Briefs’, CCA said that, “The Governance Award for small organizations went to the Calgary-based Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation (CWCF) for its governance structure review and subsequent changes to its membership and governance systems and structures. The panel also recognized CWCF’s success…

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The Art & Science of Cooperative Business Development: Co-op Developer Training

Canadian participants are welcome to attend this program.   Cooperative Business Development Training Program for Practitioners The Art and Science of Starting a Cooperative Business The CooperationWorks! Cooperative Business Development Training Program is a rigorous course for participants to develop the skills to start a new cooperative and assist groups to start new cooperative enterprises. The curriculum includes: The key steps of effective cooperative business development The unique aspects of cooperative finance, law, governance and management The essential tools for group ownership in building long-term success Financial analysis and pro forma financial statements for new co-ops Please note, at this time Cooperationworks is undergoing an assessment of its current training program to ensure we are delivering relevant content in the most cost effective and impactful way. The assessment is scheduled to be completed in late May. Until its completion, CW has not scheduled any additional trainings. Please check back for…

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