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News from Our Members – May 2019

The Fairware Changemaker series, which highlights entrepreneurs and thought leaders, recently featured Chris Nichols, Operations Coordinator and Co-Founder of Wood Shop Workers Co-operative in Vancouver. The episode shows how Wood Shop creates custom furniture, millwork & metalwork using reclaimed and upcycled materials, while running a co-operative that provides meaningful employment in the Vancouver community.   Nova Scotia co-op Just Us Coffee was also in the news recently for an initiative it took to reduce its carbon footprint in the shipping of its coffee beans (pictured above). The beans travelled to Halifax from Mexico via a German schooner, instead of the normal process of transport by shipping container. And the latest in our member profile series, this one focusing on La Siembra, is available here. La Siembra is celebrating 20 years of providing fair trade sugar, cocoa, chocolate bars, and other products under the Camino brand.

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Arts and Culture Grant Winner Chosen

First prize ribbon award vector CWCF is pleased to announce that after reviewing the six submissions received, it has decided on the winner for this year’s arts and culture grants. Eyemole Arts and Technology Co-operative received a $1000 grant, funded through a bequest from the late CWCF President Mark Goldblatt, to create an online interactive story about the history of co-ops. Congratulations to Eyemole, and thanks to everyone who applied. It was a very strong field, and the committee’s decision was not easy. The awards committee’s decision was informed by the following considerations. In order to be considered the initial pre-screen criteria included the following: ·       The key players needed to be under 35 years of age ·       The project promoted co-operatives in general ·       The project could be completed within the year. All projects submitted were then evaluated using the following criteria, listed in order of importance: ·       The…

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News from the US Worker Co-op Sector

Carpenter Todd Hindmarsh, of Oakland, with the Arizmendi Bakery cooperative’s new construction business, works at a construction site in Berkeley, Calif., on Wednesday, May 23, 2019. The cooperative bakery, with locations in San Francisco, the East Bay and San Rafael, decided to take the red hot housing market head on by launching a new cooperative construction business. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group) Truthout’s Brian Van Slyke explores how business successions are a key source of the recent increase in American worker co-ops. In another Truthout piece, Robert R. Raymond, explores how “the American Dream” of immigrants is making a comeback thanks to worker co-ops. And Erin Baldassari of the Mercury News explores how Arizmendi, a California association of worker cooperatives best known for its bakeries, is addressing the state’s affordable housing crisis.

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News From Our Members

Local Investing YYC, an associate member of CWCF, focuses on providing capital to growth-oriented Calgary entrepreneurs and small businesses that generate financial, social and environmental returns. This means that Albertans can invest in selected local businesses through Local Investing YYC and see the impact of that investment right before their own eyes in their own community, as opposed to investing in portfolios traded on Wall Street and Bay Street. You can also read the latest in our member profile series, an entry focusing on London Brewing.

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Job Postings of Interest

whatIf? Technologies Inc. (whatIf) is an employee-owned firm that brings an evidence-based approach to planning through the disciplines of systems thinking, modelling, simulation and quantitative scenario analysis. We are driven by a shared focus on sustainability objectives. whatif is currently seeking a Model Analyst. The Model Analyst will work with the whatIf team to support the various stages of our modelling life cycle: data collection and processing; model calibration; scenario development and action analysis; reporting and visualization; and model updating and maintenance. The Model Analyst will regularly interact with project partners and clients. In other employment news, people who want to work for a democratically run business can now search for vacancies on a dedicated jobs and recruitment website. Launched in April 2019, Democraticjobs.coop advertises jobs at worker co-operatives. The website was developed by Glowbox Design, a worker owned digital agency from London, with funding from the Solidarity Economy Association’s Principle Six Plus Fund.

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CWCF Conference 2019:

Building Resilient Communities – Ecology, Equality, and Workplace Democracy Construire des communautés résilientes – L’écologie, l’égalité et la démocratie au travail This is the theme for the CWCF 2019 Conference, which will take place in Tatamagouche, NS from October 24th – 26th, in conjunction with CoopZone. As with all businesses, the climate crisis presents a challenge for worker co-ops. Unlike with many other businesses, however, it is one that worker co-ops are well-positioned to respond to because of their roots in their communities, voluntary and open membership, and democratic structure. The impacts of climate change pose disproportionate risks for historically marginalized groups. But developing a green economy by growing and strengthening the worker co-op movement also helps to empower people with the prospect of new employment opportunities, more livable communities, and more control over their labour. Through following sustainable practices and/or working directly in the green economy to help address…

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Quebec Worker Co-op Summit, June 17, 2019 /Sommet des coopératives de travail de Québec, le 17 juin 2019

Esteban Kelly (le français suit) The Worker Co-op Summit in Quebec City takes place on June 17th, immediately prior to the Congress of Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (“CMC”). This will be co-hosted by CWCF and the three Quebec WC federations.  Noam Chomsky will provide a video keynote.  The US FWC Executive Director, Esteban Kelly, will also be a featured speaker with exciting US Worker Co-op news.  The main workshop topics will be : 1)  Worker Co-op Governance:  Issues and Conditions for Success 2)  How Federations can Respond to the Needs of Worker Co-ops 3)  Inter-generational Panel on Motivation to Create a Worker Co-operative: Past, Present and Future The full program is below, and registration is available at this link. To view the site in English, make sure that “English” is chosen at the top of the page. Registration is only $50 + tax, which includes lunch, breaks and the networking…

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Upcoming Conferences of Interest

The joint Conference of the Canadian Association for Studies in Co-operatives (CASC), Association of Co-op Educators (ACE), and the International Co-op Alliance Research Conference will take place in Montreal, May 27-30, and Kaye Grant will participate on behalf of CWCF.   The theme is Co-operative Entrepreneurship, and more information is available here:  http://www.coopresearch.coop/registration-now-open-for-casc-ace-ica-2019-conference-platforme-dinscription-disponible-pour-conference-de-casc-ace-ica-2019/  The Congress of Co-operatives & Mutuals Canada will be in Quebec City, June 18 – 20th.  Additional information is available here in English, and ici en français. Reba Plummer will be CWCF’s delegate, and Hazel Corcoran will also be participating on behalf of The Co-operators.  CWCF has presented a resolution that the CMC membership take a position on fair tax treatment for co-operatives with indivisible reserves.  CWCF encourages its members and others to attend these Conferences.

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Report from the Executive Director, April 2019

Hazel Corcoran It is very exciting and energizing to be working under CWCF’s new Strategic Plan. The two main areas of focus are to Engage and Support our Members, and to Build Awareness and Scale Up Worker Co-ops, including collaborating with our members in the Solidarity Economy.  Thanks especially to significant member feedback, we have the sense that we are on the right path, and that we’re on the path together.  I’ll lead a one-hour webinar re: the new Strategic Plan on May 9th, at noon Eastern Time.  To RSVP, please click on this link.   In keeping with this new Strategic Plan, I am traveling more to meet with worker co-op members, and to help raise the profile of the worker co-op movement in the Solidarity Economy.  I attended and spoke on a panel early in March for a well-attended screening of the film A Silent Transformation in Toronto.…

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Worker Co-op Summit

9 am – 5 pm:  Keynote, Plenary discussions, and break-out sessions. Evening: Networking Reception Maison de la coopération 155 Boulevard Charest E, Québec This Worker Co-op Summit will be an unparalleled opportunity for learning, networking, and being inspired –  aimed at members of co-ops associated with CWCF and/or the three Quebec worker co-op federations:  the Quebec ” Reseau COOP” or Network of Worker Co-operation, as well as the Federation of Paramedic Cooperatives of Quebec and the Quebec Federation of Forestry Co-ops.  Highlights include: Sessions of practical interest to worker co-operators, with a focus on Governance issues in worker co-opsVideo of Keynote Presentation by Noam Chomsky (!!!)Presentation  by US FWC Executive Director Esteban Kelly  Roll-out of CWCF’s exciting new Strategic Plan. Simultaneous interpretation, French and English, will be provided.   This Summit will take place on the day before the start of the Congress of Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) (https://canada.coop/en/events/cmc-congress-2019-quebec-city), on June 18-20, also in Quebec City.  We encourage people to consider…

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