UnionCo-ops Council of U.S. Federation of Worker Co-ops ANNUAL REPORT 2014*

union coopUnionCo-ops Council of U.S. Federation of Worker Co-ops

Conference Calls

The UnionCo-ops Council of U.S. Federation of Worker Co-ops held monthly conference calls (except August) with a high attendance of twenty-two people, a low attendance of five people, and an average attendance of 12.27 people.


People from the following states and one Canadian province attended conference calls:  AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, Nova Scotia, NV, NY, OH, PA, TN, WA, WI.

Members of the following unions and labor organizations participated in calls or related activities:  American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees; United Electrical; United Food and Commercial Workers; International Workers of the World; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; International Association of Machinists; Communication Workers of America; National Writers Union; United Auto Workers; United Steel Workers; American Federation of Teachers; American Federation of Government Employees; Pioneer Valley Workers Center.

Associates with the following technical assistance and funding organizations joined calls:  Ohio Employee Ownership Center; Rocky Mountain Employee Ownership Center; Keystone Co-op Development Center; Cooperation Works!; Democracy at Work Institute; Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative;  1worker:1vote; Sustainable Economies Law Center; Worcester Roots; Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive; Fund for Democratic Communities.

Graduate students from around the country formed a committee to research topics that will be identified.

Presentations at Conferences and Meetings

Events in italics are union/worker co-op related presentations not organized by the UnionCo-ops Council but of relevance to our work.

Event: California Co-op Conference
Location: Berkeley, CA
Sponsor: California Center for Co-op Devt
Dates: April 11-13, 2014
Workshop: Worker Co-ops and Labor Unions
Facilitator: Libby Sholes, California Council of Churches /CA Church IMPACT
Event: Jackson Rising
Location: Jackson, MI
Sponsor: Cooperation Jackson
Dates: May 2 – 4, 2014
Workshop: Mondragon USA; CIncinnati Union Co-op Initiative
1worker:1vote? Email to Kristen 12/9/14 for more info
Facilitator: Kristen Barker
Event: U. S. Federation of Worker Co-ops Biennial Conference
Location: Chicago, IL
Sponsor: USFWC
Dates: May 30-June 1, 2014
Workshop: Union Co-ops: How Do They Work?*
Facilitator: Leah Fried / UE; Kristen Barker/ CUCI
Event: Reform and/or Revolution: Imagining a World with Transformative
Location: John Jay College College City University of New York
Sponsor: Left Forum
Dates: May 30th – June 1st
Workshop #1: Union/Co-ops: A Powerful Tool in a Broad-Based Movement to End Income Inequality and Create Transformative Economic Justice Through Worker-Ownership
Facilitator: Carmen Huertas-Noble Chair, CUNY School of Law
Workshop #2: New Pathways to Worker Ownership of the Means of Production
Facilitator: Brian D’Agostino, Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies @ SUNY
Event: Let My People Work: Faith at the Intersection of Immigration and Economic Justice
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Sponsor: Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice; CA Immigrant Policy Center
Dates: June 9-11, 2014
Workshop: Worker Co-ops and Labor Unions
Facilitator: Libby Sholes, California Council of Churches /CA Church IMPACT
Event: 1st Annual NYC Worker Co-op Conference
Location: CUNY Law School
Sponsor: New York City Network of Worker Co-ops
Dates: June 21, 2014
Workshop: N/A
Facilitator: Michael Peck, 1worker:1vote; Chris Michael, NYCNOWC
Event: Community Wealth Building Conference
Location: Denver metro area
Sponsor: Rocky Mountain Employee Ownership Center, Denver Foundation, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Co-operate Colorado
Dates: September 27, 2014
Workshop: Worker Co-ops and Labor Unions
Facilitator: Tim Allport, Denver Area Labor Federation, and Dick Peterson, Rocky Mountain Employee Ownership Center
Event: New Work New Culture Conference
Location: Detroit, MI
Sponsor: James and Grace Boggs Center
Dates: October 18-20, 2014
Workshop: Strategies for Community Wealth Building through Cooperation in Detroit
Facilitator: Deb Olson, Center for Community-Ba$ed Enterprise
 Event:  Orange County, CA, Green Party
 Location:  Irvine, CA
 Sponsor:  Irvine Ranch Water District Community Meeting Center
 Dates:  September 7, 2014
 Workshop:  Worker Co-ops and Labor Unions: How to create a Worker Cooperative Incubator
 Presenter:  Liz Ryder
 Event: Worcester Roots Co-op Training
 Location: Worcester, MA
 Sponsor:  Worcester Roots Co-op Academy
 Dates:  November 12, 2014
 Workshop:  How Union Affiliation Can Benefit Worker Co-ops and Vice Versa
 Presenter:  Mary Hoyer

Articles by UnionCo-op Council Associates

Scher, Abby (2014).  Leveling the Playing Fields for Worker Coops.  Truthout June 21, 2014,  http://truth-out.org/news/item/24406-leveling-the-playing-field-for-work… About the NYC coop initiative including an interview with CHCA but wasn’t about union coops per se.

Scher, Abby (forthcoming 2015).  Solidarity, PA.  Dissent magazine (Winter 2015 issue).  This is about Reading, PA, effort involving unions.

Communications / Marketing

  • Established the platform for a new website, but have not yet moved ahead to bring prior information onto site
  • Updated and distributed the flyer at conferences
  • Distributed updated running reports 2007-20014 at conferences
  • Reported to the USFWC board’s annual meeting
  • Purchased an ad in Dollars and Sense magazine’s 40th anniversary issue (12/14)

Right of First Refusal Language

Deb Olson’s Right of First Refusal language was refined for potential inclusion in labor agreements/contracts.  Exploratory outreach was suggested as follows:
Joe Murphy: SEIU AZ; AFL-CIO AZ; AFSCME AZ (Liz: current language is for private sector; different language is needed for the public sector re AFSCME)
Jeff Jones & Mary Hoyer: UFCW in western MA; possibly others

LVWORCS: Las Vegas Worker Ownership Resources & Cooperative Services
Liz Ryder and local students reached out to the University of Las Vegas regarding a possible worker co-op food concession as a healthy alternative to anti-union Aramark.  They also met with U. S. Senator Dean Heller’s staff.

United Food and Commercial Workers

Dennis Olson in DC and Ellen Vera in Cincinnati continue to work on labor union / worker co-op activities, via Our Harvest Farm and workshops at conferences around the country.Jeff Jones in western Massachusetts and southern Vermont organized three food co-ops.

Pacific Electric Worker-Owned LLC

An IBEW-affiliated worker co-op emerged in Los Angeles following Liz Ryder’s presentation at Los Angeles Eco Village.


The UnionCo-op Council’s USFWC Charter agreement was finalized and submitted.

*  If you see errors or omissions in this report, please contact Mary Hoyer at mhoyer22@comcast.net with information and appropriate language.  Thanks!