This 2008 report, including Appendices A-C, provides information from the CWCF’s Member Relations project and worker co-op survey. It is available in English, below, and in French on the French part of the CoopZone site.
CWCF carried out this project, entitled “Strengthening Membership, Strengthening the CWCF” or the “Member Relations Project” from June, 2007 through March, 2008.
CWCF has been in existence since 1992. As a member-based Federation serving the emerging worker co-op sector, CWCF has focused heavily on worker co-op development. As of one year ago when we proposed this project, we had not placed as much emphasis on services to existing worker co-op members, and the relationship with regional worker co-op federations, as on new development. As of spring 2007, CWCF had a growing membership; 65 members; but there were approximately 250 -300 worker co-ops in the country (the majority in Quebec) which had not yet joined CWCF. None of the several federations representing worker co-ops in Quebec had ever joined CWCF either.
Other than those members that were using our services, CWCF had no idea as to how many of its members were aware of our services. Further, there were many worker co-ops that were not CWCF members that might want to join if they knew of CWCF and its member services.
Additionally, there are other services that could be offered. Potential services include group insurance plans, pension plans, web-based or conference call training programs, increased networking within the sector, etc. In addition to these ideas, other innovative services were possibly being offered by other federations of worker co-ops in other parts of the world, and CWCF wanted to research these additional possibilities.
In terms of the relationship between CWCF and regional worker co-op federations, changes were needed in our structure. For a number of valid reasons, the original vision and approach of CWCF as a Confederation (a federation of regional federations) did not come to pass. Therefore the CWCF board believed it would be preferable to move toward a system of direct worker co-op membership in CWCF by co-ops who wish to join CWCF. In order to make this change, which was first brought up by CWCF at our 2006 AGM, CWCF wanted to undertake a formal consultation with the regional federations as well as some of the co-ops in the provinces with regional federations.
Lastly, CWCF had identified its RRSP program as a modest profit centre. In order to take better advantage of this, CWCF wanted to have more worker co-op members and associate members using the program. Part of this project was to focus on researching the degree to which potential members and associate members were aware of the program, in the hope of increasing its use.
The primary objectives of this project were to help strengthen worker co-ops, and to strengthen the relationship between CWCF and its member worker co-ops, by:
(1) Researching what services worker co-ops (both member and non-member) would like to receive from CWCF, and innovative ways of delivering them.
(2) Researching whether worker co-ops were aware of all CWCF services that currently exist.
(3) Hosting meetings in four regions of the country for worker co-ops, for the purpose of holding consultations, as well as to provide an opportunity for networking.
Another objective of this project was to enhance the sustainability of CWCF, by:
(1) Researching and consulting with the regional federations of worker co-ops on a proposed new relationship between CWCF and worker co-ops in each region which has one or more regional federations, with the ultimate result of a change to the CWCF bylaws on this point.
(2) Researching whether a series of potential new associate members may be interested in joining CWCF in order to access our self-directed RRSP program for shares in co-operatives.
(3) Through carrying out the work in the prior section, CWCF intended to grow its worker co-op membership, strengthen the relationship between CWCF and its member worker co-ops, and help to ensure that its worker co-ops would be more stable and long lasting.
…continued in attachment.