Many excellent ideas, new connections at the General Assembly

The WORC’N General Assembly and social was a big success. There were over a dozen in attendance and many Boston Area co-ops represented: Boston Collective Delivery, Boston Tech Collective, Community Builders Cooperative, Sheba Green Cleaning Co-op, Quilted, Red Sun Press, as well as two start-ups: a Brazilian women’s green cleaning co-op and a machinists co-op from Lynn. We mingled, ate pizza together, and made some new social and business connections.

The General Assembly was conducted in English and was simultaneously translated into Portuguese. Steering Committee Ben Mauer facilitated the event and gave a report on the last quarter of WORC’N activity, with others filling in detail about the powerful Peer Resource Group which has met monthly since July as well as the Co-op 101.

The Steering Committee presented two goals for the following quarter:

  • A Speakers Bureau to aid the press and local colleges and universities in finding worker cooperators for stories and guest lecturers. Yochai from Boston Tech Collective, Ben from Quilted, Tony Dunn from the fledgling machinists co-op and Eric from Red Sun Press volunteered to be contacts.
  • A formal proposal to the group on A) who our group composed of (worker cooperators only? support organizations?), B) how that group makes decisions (consensus? vote?) and C) how to financially support WORC’N activities in terms of food and simultaneous translation in order to create an inclusive local worker co-op movement (membership? sponsorships?).

We concluded the General Assembly with a brainstorm of WORC’N goals for the next year:

  • Send a group to the Eastern Conference on Workplace Democracy in July
  • Network with community groups
  • Talk with the new mayor of Boston
  • Network with MassChallenge
  • Convene a city-wide symposium on sustainable business and cooperatives
  • Buying club for healthcare (group plans?) – the group NASRO was mentioned
  • Spread the word, continue to raise awareness of cooperatives and the cooperative model
  • Develop more business resources
    • List of experts in the Boston area (accountants, lawyers, support organizations, along with relative costs)
    • A howto for incorporating as a worker co-op in MA (a checklist of sorts – Yochai from Boston Tech Collective has developed a draft of this, and DAWN and TESA were also mentioned)
  • Find ways to help each other financially/create financial solidarity (co-ops doing well helping co-ops not doing so well)
  • A place to share leads with each other, or needs/have list (declare what we have to share, and what we might need)
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