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The Growth Factors of Worker Co-operatives – Interview with Bruno Roelants (2010 CWCF March/April E-Newsletter)

Bruno Roelants is the General Secretary of CICOPA (International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and Service Producers’ Co-operatives), which is the sectoral organization of the International Co-operative Alliance that promotes worker cooperatives. Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, CICOPA has a membership of 57 national and regional cooperative federations in 39 countries. CWCF recently had the opportunity to interview Bruno Roelants. Q: Where are the largest worker co-op sectors? A: Italy and Spain are by far the largest. In Italy alone there are 800,000 workers in worker co-operatives, comprising tens of thousands of enterprises. France is the third highest with about 2,000 enterprises. Q: Where is there rapid growth? A: In Italy the growth is from social co-operatives, which have increased 30% in the last 5 years. Q: How do you explain the huge scale of the worker co-op movement in Italy and Spain? A: First, the worker co-op movements there have been large…

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Union-Led Buy-Outs

Guides drafted in spring 2009 for union-led conversions to worker co-ops from other business forms, by the Western Labour-Worker Coop Council. 1of4 Union-Led Buy-Outs – Coop Basics2of4 Union-Led Buy-Outs – Checklist3of4 Union-Led Buy-Outs – Steps4of4 Union-Led Buy-Outs – Success

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Steps in a Worker Buyout of a Company

(1) Educate the supporters of the buyout. Supporters may include all of the hourly and salaried employees as well as local management. Frequently, in situations involving an organized workforce, those employees protected by a union contract are the initial proponents. (2) Establish a buyout association. Membership in the buyout association is usually open to all the potential future employee-owners. A leadership team is usually selected to put the buyout together on behalf of the buyout association. Through its leadership, the buyout association: a) Raises funds from members and solicits matching funds from government and other potential contributors; b) Contracts with and oversees the work of legal and financial consultants, and c) Develops a management team. (3) Do a pre-feasibility assessment. This assessment is a quick study by the development consultants of the key factors needed for the buyout to succeed. (4) Conduct a feasibility study. A professionally done feasibility study…

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The Co-operative Movement in the Next 100 Years: What are the Opportunities? The Challenges?

Ian MacPherson Professor Emeritus of History Co-director, the National Hub The Canadian Social Economy Research Partnerships The University of Victoria cluny1@uvic.ca Speech to Worker Co-operatives and Sustainable Development Canadian Worker Co-op Federation Vancouver October 2010 Video recording When Hazel Corcoran asked me to speak at this year’s meeting of the Federation, I was particularly honoured. One of my most pleasant co-op memories is the founding convention of the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation (CWCF) at Antigonish in April 1991. At that time, I was President of the Canadian Co-operative Association and I like to think that in that capacity I played a useful if modest role in helping make it possible. Most of all, though, I look back at that conference for its excitement, the kind of enthusiasm that often accompanies beginnings and formative periods within the co-operative movement. I also recall it for the depth of engagement by so many…

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