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Canada’s worker co-ops mourn the loss of co-op pioneer Mark Goldblatt

Canada’s worker co-operative movement is deeply saddened by the loss of CWCF’s Past President Mark Goldblatt, who died on Tuesday, February 3rd of an apparent heart attack. “Mark’s contributions to building the worker co-operative movement in Canada were instrumental in building the movement, and its national Federation,” said Hazel Corcoran, Executive Director of the Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation (CWCF). His outstanding qualities were his vision, intellect, dedication to co-operation, generosity, humility, sense of humour and fun, integrity, commitment, perseverance and inability to be uncaring or mean to anyone, in other words a sort of radical kindness. Mark Goldblatt’s personal engagement with co-operatives reflects the dynamism and innovation that have characterized the co-operative movement in Canada throughout its history. Although we have lost a great co-op champion, Mark planted many seeds which have grown and are growing into lasting co-operative organizations. Mark, as a member of Sound Advice Worker Co-op, joined the Board…

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Co-op World Music Project

A Melody of Co-operation Around the World: CICOPA World Music Project, a Legacy of the International Year of Co-ops Now Moving into the Co-operative Decade, by Hazel Corcoran, Executive Director, Canadian Worker Co-op Federation A CICOPA World Music Project resolution was passed in November 2011 in Cancun.  For the background, see: http://www.cicopa.coop/A-melody-of-cooperation-around-the.html Music selections, primarily from Canada, have been submitted.  A small committee has reviewed the submissions.  The committee members are: Rebecca Kemble (US), and Donna Balkan (Communications Manager, Canadian Co-op Association), Mark Goldblatt (Past President, CWCF), Colin MacDougall (Past director, CWCF) and myself, Hazel Corcoran (all from Canada). We are very pleased to announce that the CICOPA World Music Collection is made up of 4 songs, as follows. We hope that you will find these songs as inspirational as we do! 1. “Together” by Konfekoop – Basque Cooperatives Confederation, 4:54 minutes.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hV6cy11itX4&list=UUXT-g-EXpbL8tl_t6rFTiqg&index=1&feature=plcp 2. “The Big Idea Song”, by Greg O’Neill, of…

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CWCF commits $250,000 to the National Fund

CWCF Contributes $250,000 to National Co-op Investment Fund At its AGM on November 10th, 2012, CWCF approved a recommendation from its Board of Directors to pledge an investment of $250,000, contributed over a three-year period to the National Co-op Investment Fund, lead by CCA. This includes $175,000 from the $500,000 in CWCF’s Tenacity Works Fund, and $75,000 from an anonymous investor.  This pledge is an expression of faith in the NCIF as a sector-driven co-op development Fund supporting the expansion of new and existing co-ops (including worker co-ops, and with some focus on business successions), with leadership by people who understand the co-operative development process. The CWCF sees this fund as a vehicle for all of the co-op sector to share in the success of the co-op movement, through investing in new and existing co-ops.  The Fund will get started once the co-op sector has pledged a minimum of $20…

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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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Worker Co-ops in Michael Moore film: “Capitalism: A Love Story”

TOKYO – NOVEMBER 30: Director Michael Moore attends the ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’ press conference at Tosho Hall on November 30, 2009 in Tokyo, Japan. The film will open at a limited number of theaters in Tokyo and Osaka on December 5, and throughout the rest of Japan on January 9, 2010. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images) The film from Michael Moore, Capitalism: A Love Story, features United States FWC members Isthmus Engineering and Alvarado Street Bakery as examples of economic solutions.  Look for the section on worker cooperatives when you see the movie.  It was released on DVD on March 9th.   The DVD extras include discussion of co-ops by Canadian Tom Webb (with the St. Mary’s Masters of Management of Co-ops and Credit Union), and the Union Cab Worker Co-op. Michael Moore’s Official Website

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Steelworkers form Collaboration with Mondragon, the World’s Largest Worker-Owned Cooperative

Pittsburgh (Oct. 27, 2009) The United Steelworkers (USW) and MONDRAGON Internacional, S.A. today announced a framework agreement for collaboration in establishing MONDRAGON cooperatives in the manufacturing sector within the United States and Canada. The USW and MONDRAGON will work to establish manufacturing cooperatives that adapt collective bargaining principles to the MONDRAGON worker ownership model of “one worker, one vote.” “We see today’s agreement as a historic first step towards making union co-ops a viable business model that can create good jobs, empower workers, and support communities in the United States and Canada,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “Too often we have seen Wall Street hollow out companies by draining their cash and assets and hollowing out communities by shedding jobs and shuttering plants. We need a new business model that invests in workers and invests in communities.” Josu Ugarte, President of MONDGRAGON Internacional added: “What we are announcing…

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