Just a friendly reminder we have WORC’N General Assembly tomorrow at 7pm (yes, 7pm not 6pm — so you Equal Exchangers, don’t be shy to add a detour to your commute).
The location, agenda, and some yearly updates for a taste of inspiration are below.
Make Shift Boston
549 Columbus Ave
Boston MA 02118
Facilitators listed below
- 10m Report-back/reflection on the year (James Bachez)
- 10m Plus/Delta/Insights for 2013 (Ben Mauer)
- 30m Updates/report-backs (Stacey Cordiero MCs)
- US Federation update (Ben Mauer)
- Boston Center for Community Ownership (Stacey Cordiero)
- WORC’N members
- Discussion items
- 5m #BosCoop social media campaign (Joel Wool)
- 10m Update on intersectoral and Q&A (Micha Josephy)
- 10m Propose calendar for year & feedback (James Bachez)
- 15m Propose we postpone membership discussion until intersectoral effort is further along & feedback (Stacey Cordiero)
- 5m Proposal for a cooperative vision and strategy reading group (Matt Gabrenya)
- 5m Potential partnership with Future Boston (Joel Wool)
WORC’N Yearly Updates
A Yard & A Half Landscaping Cooperative
The 11 members of A Yard & A Half Landscaping Cooperative completed our buy-out of A Yard &A Half LLC on Jan 1! Muchisimas gracias to Micha & Maggie from CFNE for all of their help, and to WORCN members for all your advice and support. We’re still looking at options to stabilize working capital, but we’re pressing on! We’ll have our annual meeting in April, and are hoping to diversify our Board as worker-owners become more comfortable with democratic decision-making.
A couple of members are participating in the Center to Support Immigrant Organizing’s grassroots leadership institute in Spanish, and Carolyn gave a workshop on their experience of coops as model for business succession and democratic ownership at this weekend’s NOFA conference. (Notes & slides available)
Dorchester Community Food Co-op
The Dorchester Community Food Co-op had a successful year in 2013, recruiting members, developing new outreach and engagement strategies, soliciting building proposals, selecting an architect, relaunching its winter farmers’ market, partnering on a “Fresh Fridays” cafe series and appearing numerous times in the media. After working with the Sustainability Guild to revitalize a vacant lot on Bowdoin St. in Dorchester––the property that will likely be the initiative’s future home––the Co-op was featured on Boston.com, in the Boston Globe Metro Section, and on WCVB’s Chronicle. The co-op is now in a major member drive and is developing a plan to raise the remaining capital needed to hire a full-time General Manager and build the store.
Cooperative Fund of New England
2013 was a landmark year for the Cooperative Fund of New England. In addition to having our Executive Director, Rebecca Dunn, inducted into the Co-op Hall of Fame (heroes.coop), we disbursed the second largest amount of loan funds in our 38 year history. CFNE made over $3.8 million in loans to 38 co-ops and community groups across New England and eastern upstate New York State. In Greater Boston, CFNE and its affiliate, the Cooperative Capital Fund, made loans to five worker co-ops: A Yard & A Half, Boston TechCollective, CERO Co-op, Dollars & Sense, and Red Sun Press. We look forward to another strong year in 2014. We are also currently working to help the Boston Center for Community Ownership build its capacity to support urban cooperatives in the region.
For information about borrowing or investing in the fund, please visit our website at www.coopfund.coop.
Red Sun Press
2013 was a year of recovery for Red Sun Press. We re-staffed after some difficult transitions, regained our financial footing and reestablished a tight, efficient workflow in the shop.
The lease of a Konica Minolta/Komori C8000 digital press was a highlight of the year, enabling us to complete longer runs of high-quality digital output. Customers like Clean Water Action, Equal Exchange and Local 26/Unite Here responded with lots of orders for postcards, brochures, flyers and posters (including tons of election-related stuff).
We symbolically renewed ourselves mid-year with a rebranding effort, yielding a new logo and fresh marketing materials.
On a governance level, too, we are refreshing our business, moving towards a new organizational structure for the co-op and rising to new challenges in the shifting economic climate. To help carve our new path we welcomed 2 outside advisors onto our board, friends and community leaders with the business and co-op experience needed to balance our busy crew of worker-members.
WORC’N will be having it’s second Quarterly General Assembly & Social this Thursday, September 12, from 5:30pm to 8pm
General Assembly: 5:30pm
Social: around 6:30pm
Location: Make Shift Boston, 549 Columbus Ave, Boston MA 02118
First, we’ll hold a General Assembly, where the Steering Committee will report out on our work, and we’ll discuss ideas and proposals that folks send in advance. If you have a proposal or idea, please send it to Ben Mauer (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Then we’ll have a good old fashioned food and social hour. You are welcome to come to either or both parts of the evening, and are strongly encouraged to invite other members of your co-op to attend.
See you soon!
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
- 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)