Workshop Summary- Generations in Worker Co-ops

On October 15, 2011 there was a workshop at the North American Worker Co-operative Conference in Quebec City titled ‘Generational Change in a Worker Co-op’ hosted by EnerGreen Builders‘ Eric Tusz-King (pictured) and CICOPA‘s Bruno Roelants.

The following are notes taken by Eric Tusz-King, Member of EnerGreen Builders Co-operative, Sackville, New Brunswick.

Relationships are complex:

  • People are individuals with different experiences and gifts and concerns
  • People are the products of their generation and there are characteristics of different generations
  • Not all people of a generation are similar any more than individuals are similar

In the past it was about young and old and the old had experienced the same things as the younger generation. This is still true, but there are also differences in generational assumptions about life and work.

  • Commitment to work
  • Long term
  • At work
  • Accountability to others
  • Commitment to a cause
  • Commitment to family
  • Assumptions about roles and standards


  • Mentoring in carpentry and customer relations
  • Dealing with conflict
  • Seeing the complexity of situations
  • Having the new perspectives from younger generations
  • types of values – idealistic stretched the older generations who are either cynical or tired


  • Tension with impatience of the differences
  • Reckless vs. cautious
  • Practical vs. adventuresome

Dialogue and conversation with respect

  • Respect for each other
  • Respect the value of diversity
  • Get the assumptions into open – for clarification