In our Congress in Quebec, we did it! We did something extraordinary. We gathered. We created CICOPA North America, covering all of Quebec, Canada and the United States – to a minimum.
It’s a matter of collecting human beings, regardless of their country or their language or their differences around the values of cooperation work. By being together, we learned that what unites us is far greater than what divides us. We must remember that the theme of the work of Congress was: Cooperation without borders, and this is what we have begun to live. To make this even clearer, the Federation of Paramedic Cooperatives of Quebec decided to join CWCF during the week of the conference, which means that all worker co-op federations of Quebec are now part of CWCF. CICOPA North America unites all three federations of worker co-ops of Quebec, CWCF and the US Federation of worker cooperatives.
This newsletter is only on the two Congresses on Transition Planning and Worker Cooperation we held in Quebec City from October 11th to 15th. I think it will be helpful for me to give you my view of this historic joint event, and allow this edition of the newsletter to give you an overview of the content, which was very rich and is largely available video, or by reports or PowerPoint presentations.
It should be mentioned that we have considered the possibility of inviting the Mexican worker co-op federation, as well. CICOPA now that America is organized into sub-regions (North America, MERCOSUR, etc.), Mexico will have to choose between an affiliation with the worker co-ops of Central America, and us. They would be welcome if they want to participate in CICOPA North America. However, the only member of the ICA in Mexico affiliated with CICOPA is an association of cooperatives of all types such as CCA, CCCM or NCBA. So we decided to wait to find the worker co-ops.
According to all Testimony: Participants in both events were very satisfied, although certainly we could have done some things differently. Approximately 300 people participated in one or both congress. (Do not worry, we read the evaluation forms, and YES, we will have many more opportunities where the participant (s) will be able to speak at future conferences.) In addition, we have established a firm foundation on which to build for both (1) the transfer of business to work cooperatives, and (2) the development of the movement of labor cooperation in Quebec, Canada and the United States, with the within CICOPA-North America (the new entity of the global body of worker cooperatives, CICOPA). Those who attended the event seemed to become more enthusiastic and found a spirit of dynamism. Jocelyn Lessard, CEO of the Federation of Forestry Cooperatives in Quebec, has said « We feel the values of labor cooperation, which vibrate here. I am convinced more than ever that the cooperation of labor, that is the future. « And it all happened in the context of the approach of the International Year of Cooperatives 2012 and protests on Wall Street and in cities across réclaiment space for « 99% » who do not have been with the current economic system – which has enabled many speakers to make the connection with the cooperative system. Some of our participants even participated in the demonstration of « Occupy Quebec, » or have returned home and home to give out leaflets and presentations on the cooperative movement in the occupation demonstrations of their cities.
I was touched by the enormous generosity and solidarity of all those who participated, no matter-what level. By speakers who came from near and far: from Europe, South America, the United States or different regions of Quebec and Canada. Our president Alain Bridault, the other members of the Board of CTCF and NETWORK by the Planning Committee, for our employees and some volunteers who have worked incredibly during the event, and often before and after the event . We were very fortunate to have the presence of Federal Minister Steven Blaney, MP for Lévis-Bellechasse. Minister Blaney was very generous with his time, from an entire evening to the Congress on the transmission of entreprses employees with us and giving a passionate speech. I was also touched by the generosity of our sponsor and we thank them all at the end of this report, below.
The fact that we could also hold a first meeting of the Steering CICOPA North America Committee, just before the official launch (with representatives of boards of directors and management of the CFTC, and the American Federation NETWORK – with other federations in Quebec being invited) means we were able to choose our president, Rebecca Kemble who is also president of the American Federation. She will participate in the General Assembly and World Conference CICOPA and CICOPA-Americas in Cancun, Mexico from 15 to 18 November 2011. The CFTC will be represented by Alain Bridault and myself. This will be the General Assembly of the founding of CICOPA-Americas and another important step in the progression of movement of labor cooperation. Note that the members of the Steering Committee of CICOPA-North America: Rebecca Campbell (Chair), Melissa Hoover (DG, American Federation), David Smathers-Moore (director, American Federation), Claude Jordan (administrator, CTCF and CEO, NETWORK), Jamie Campbell (Director, CFTC), Jocelyn Lessard (Director General, Quebec Federation of Forestry Cooperatives) and myself. We try to involve as representative of another federation in Quebec.
For me personally, I was very happy to be in the company of cooperative labor from across North America and around the world. A special and quite unique element for me was to be able to spend time with people who have the same job as me other DGs federations and confederations of labor unions. It’s not often that happens, and it’s amazing how much we have in common!
The way I see CICOPA-North America as well as the whole movement internationally is that it’s an addition with great added value to what the existing federations. It is a meeting place where we can help each other, but I think it will always be in our own federations that we will find the closest connection between members and between members and their federation. In other words, it is an addition, not a replacement of existing federations.
We took videos of all plenary sessions and many workshops (with nearly 2/3 of French content – and they are divided by language). We have presentations of the minutes and other reports of several sessions. We put them on the site CoopZone (www.coopzone.coop) with eventual links to the sites of CTCF and www.cooperation2011.coop. The Congress Information of employees to companies transission is here; and the Congress CICOPA North America is here. If you would like to see pictures, we have a photo album of the CFTC on Facebook, and there also has pictures of social evening on Saturday in Old Quebec, etc. Rebecca in the album called » Freed from the hotel. »
That’s a lot of information, and if you have time to watch only a short video, I recommend the Secretary-General’s closing words CICOPA Bruno Roelants here (in French); or the Rebecca Kemble closing words (in English) here. If you gave a presenation or you have taken notes, and you have not yet submitted the document (s) (s), if you Please submit them as soon as possible. We will improve the content as and measured we can. A document which I would draw your attention is the reference document on the transfer of businesses: http://www.coopzone.coop/Transmission_dentreprises.
The next year, 2012, will tour the United States to host the CICOPA North America operations. Their Congress will be held in Boston from June 22 to 24, 2012. (Since June 24 is a big party in Quebec, maybe we will insist more to the international side on 22 and 23 June). We are given an appointment! In addition, the Steering Committee of CICOPA North America and all federations that are part must devise ways to come together without always having to travel, using the power of increasingly strong technology.
Last but not least, thank you to the sponsors of the Congress: Major sponsors: Co-operators, the Government of Canada (Agriculture Canada) and the Government of Québec (MDEIE, and the Office of the National Capital Region).
Other sponsors were: CQCM, Fondaction, Filaction, Neuvaction, Caisse Desjardins solidarity, the Council of promoting cooperation of Manitoba, Vancity, Big Carrot, Steelworkers, GrowthWorks, MCE Councils, Assiniboine area, Alterna, Just FHC Us !, Canada, the CLC, CCCM, the ACLDQ the Funeral Home of the capital, and SOCODEVI.
We could not have done it without you. A big thank you!
I took the time to write my words in French and English, and I apologize if I’ve made mistakes. You will see that there are more French content in this copy than usual, especially the 3rd and 5th article, and especially in the video links (look especially the phrase « Video-Fr »); it continues!
Send me articles in French for our future newsletters, please.
As always, if you have a question or comment, please contact us.