Thursday, March 29, 2012

Co-op Learning Opportunity Round-up

In This Issue
  • Spring, Summer and Fall Events
  • Co-op Teach-In
  • Worker Co-op Conference
  • NASCO Institute

An Ongoing Opportunity: Co-op Teach-in

Teach-in%20logo_920aThe National Cooperative Business Association has launched an exciting initiative to mark 2012, the International Year of Cooperatives. The Cooperative Teach-In engages campuses with the cooperative movement through the creation of events, programs, and projects on co-ops. Sign up as a participant today!

Featured Event: 2012 National Worker Cooperative Conference

worker-co-op-conf 2This event takes place every two years and in a different part of the country each time. We're lucky to have it in Boston, in the heart of the Northeast, in this International Year of Cooperatives. CDI staff will be presenting a workshop on "Co-ops Seeding Co-ops" and participating in panels on conversions to worker co-ops, co-op learning academies, and digital platforms for sharing information, as well as the "ask an expert" panel. Register today!

A Perennial Favorite: NASCO Institute

NASCO instituteHeld by North American Students of Cooperation each fall in Ann Arbor, Michigan, theInstitute attracts hundreds of cooperators from the U.S. and Canada for two and one half days of comprehensive technical programs and discussions. The 2012 dates and program are not yet finalized, but be sure to keep it in mind!

Master of Management - Cooperatives and Credit Unions

Remember that the deadline for Fall admissions to this 3-year program is May 31!

Cooperative Development Institute
The Northeast's Center for Cooperative Business
PO Box 422
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370 /
Tel: 877 NE COOPS (toll free) / 413-665-1271
Fax: 413-541-8300
Plant some seeds of co-op learning!
Dear Co-operator,

Spring is the season to think about cultivating new skills, new relationships, and new ideas. There is a wealth of educational co-op events taking place in the Northeast and beyond, so mark your calendar now and get set to grow and learn!
Spring and Summer Events

March 27-28, Syracuse, NY: Northeast Cooperative Council Leaders Forum and Annual Meeting and CoBank's Northeast Regional Customer Meeting. A gathering of Northeast agriculture and producer co-ops.

March 31, Syracuse, NY: 2012 Upstate Cooperatives Summit: Building our Economic Future. Upstate New York cooperatives - banking, grocery, housing, agricultural, worker - together at last.

April 11, Manchester, NH: Co-op Speaker Series, Session 3: Consumer Ownership. Registration is free and open to the public. Featuring St. Mary's Bank and Hanover Consumer Co-op.

April 12, Augusta, ME: "How to Talk Cooperative!" Free training for anyone who wants to make informal presentations about the benefits of co-ops, presented by CDI and Cooperative Maine.

April 14, Holyoke, MA: Western Mass. Jobs with Justice Educational, Organizing, & Membership Conference. CFNE will be tabling, and we're intrigued by the workshop "Good Green Jobs ~ owned by union members?"

April 21, Orono, ME: HOPE Festival and Green Expo. Cooperative Maine joins 70 social change groups and keynoter Bill McKibben.

April 21-22, Warren, VT: The Art of Small Business/Re-Inventing Small Business. Founder of South Mountain Company worker co-op, John Abrams, offers a course based on Companies We Keep.

May 1, New York, NY: Solidarity Economy Fair. Details to come, stay tuned!

May 2, Washington, D.C.: 2012 Cooperative Hall of Fame. A fundraiser for the Cooperative Development Foundation and always an inspiration.

May 12, Plattsburgh, NY: Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better Northern Adirondacks. A celebration of cooperatives young and old, and a community workshop, organized by CDI.

May 12-July 7, East Coast: Cabot Community Tour. From Miami to Portland, check the schedule for a celebration near you.

May 14-18, online: Financial Analysis for Cooperative Start-Ups.Session III in the premiere co-op development training byCooperation Works!

June 2-5, Tuscon, AZ: Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) Institute. For professionals who communicate for cooperatives.

June 8, Burlington, VT: 10th Annual Employee Ownership Conference. For those who want to learn more about employee ownership as well as members of existing employee-owned companies; presented by Vermont Employee Ownership Center.

June 13 & 14-16, Philadelphia, PA: Exploring Cooperatives: Economic Democracy and Community Development in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and Consumer Cooperative Management Association (CCMA) Conference. A cross-sector look at how to build great co-ops and networks, and how those help build great cities and regions; and the yearly gathering of food co-op participants.

June 22-24, Boston, MA: National Worker Cooperative Conference.Day-long intensive on co-op development, films, tours, workshops, speakers, and a big party. Do not miss!

July 8-20, Madison, WI: CUNA Management School. Professional development for credit union staff. See CUNA's other educational offerings as well.

July 13-15, New Brunswick, NJ: Conference of the International Association for the Economics of Participation. A presentation and debate about research on democratic and participatory economic organizations.

Fall Events

Fall, Bronx, NY: Green Worker Cooperative Academy. For teams ready to turn their business idea into an eco-friendly co-op.

Sept. 10-13, Kansas City, MO: Annual Conference for Purchasing Cooperatives. The only event by, for and about purchasing and shared services cooperatives.

Sept. 17-21, Madison, WI: Effective Cooperative Business Development for Practitioners. Session One of the Cooperation Works! professional development training.

Oct. 2-5, Seattle, WA: Annual Cooperative Conference. A cross-sector gathering of the nation's cooperatives.

Oct. 6 -11, Quebec City, Quebec: The Imagine 2012: Conference on Co-operative Economics and International Summit of Cooperatives. A world-wide gathering of the cooperative community in our backyard!

Oct 10-13, Reno, NV: 52nd Annual National Association of Housing Cooperatives Conference. The housing event of the year.

Did we miss something?

Drop us a line at! We will make sure to get the word out about your cooperative learning opportunity for 2012, the International Year of Cooperatives.

Happy learning and growing!

Monday, March 26, 2012

4/12: "How to Talk Cooperative!" free training session

How to Talk Cooperative!

Learn how to conduct informal, effective, small-group presentations about the benefits of Co-ops in your community and beyond

- Consolidate your knowledge of Cooperatives

- Add Co-op to your development expertise

- Develop your speaking and meeting skills

- Grow the Cooperative Movement

- Convey your passion!

Thursday, April 12, 2012, 9:30am to 3:30pm. Lunch provided.

West Room, Viles Arboretum, 153 Hospital St., Augusta, ME

Reservations only, in advance: 207-525-7776 or for reservations, questions, directions

Welcome to a free, enjoyable training session for future speakers about co-ops. This guided instruction is for anyone wishing to develop skills in this area. Learn to speak confidently and competently about:

  • What are Cooperatives? What is their history?
  • Why the Cooperative Difference Matters
  • Types of Cooperatives and hybrids
  • Values and Principles that inspire Co-ops
  • Examples of successful Co-ops
  • Bylaws and governance
  • Extent and diversity of the global movement
  • Handling FAQs and resources
  • Assistance with planning your presentation

Help your community to Celebrate: 2012 is the International Year of Cooperatives!!


Lynda Brushett, Cooperative Development Institute

Jane Livingston, Cooperative Maine & Cooperative Development Institute

Friday, March 23, 2012

New Union Cooperative Model To Be Announced Monday 3/26: United Steelworkers and Mondragon

Worker Ownership for the 99%:

The United Steelworkers, Mondragon, and the Ohio Employee Ownership Center Announce a New Union Cooperative Model to Reinsert Worker Equity Back into the U.S. Economy

WHO: Leo W. Gerard, International President, United Steelworkers (USW) Michael A. Peck, Mondragon North American Delegate Bill McIntyre, Director, Ohio Employee Ownership Center Dr. Martin Lowery, Executive Vice President for External Affairs, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), and past Chairman of the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA)

WHAT: Announcement of a “Union Co‐op” model, which combines worker ownership in a cooperative business with the collective bargaining process, developed as part of the ongoing collaboration between the USW and Mondragon, and with the assistance of the Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC).

The USW is North America’s largest industrial union representing some 1.2 million active and retired members in a diverse range of industries.

Mondragon is the world’s largest worker industrial cooperative, headquartered in the Basque region of Spain, with 85,000 worker-­‐owners and over $24 billion in annual sales.

The Ohio Employee Ownership Center is an outreach center of Kent State University, founded in 1987 by John Logue who worked tirelessly to bring the successful Mondragon business practices and employee ownership structure and governance to the U.S.

WHEN: 11:00 a.m. Monday, March 26, 2012

WHERE: 60 Blvd of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 – Lobby



Melissa Hoover of the US Federation of Worker Co-ops reports: "The press conference on Monday will be in person in Pittsburgh, and instead of live-streaming, there are plans to video it and post the video. We will send out a link when it is available.

As a USFWC staffer, I was honored to be asked to be on the advisory committee, and I reviewed the paper and gave my input to the model. It’s exciting to see this work coming to fruition in such a thoughtful, principled manner."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Registration Now Open for Worker Co-op Conference

In This Issue


We will offer Spanish-English simultaneous interpretation.

We will provide childcare on-site for all conference events. Please request childcare in advance when you register.

We are busy planning tours of Boston, its hidden histories and cooperative economies. Tour info will be available in April.

Friday, June 22 will be a worker cooperative film night. Let us know if you have a film or short video you'd like to show.

We'll have tables for vendors and attendees to display literature - these are available for very reasonable prices. Check back with us in April for more vendor information.

Greetings, cooperative enthusiasts!

We are pleased to announce that registration is now open

for the national worker coop conference. Take a look at

our gorgeous conference website for lots of information -

we update it daily.

We hope to see you in Boston!

USFWC Conference Staff, Stephanie and Melissa

Huge, appreciative, awestruck thanks to Patrick St. John for design and Carlo Mogavero for site building.

Conference Registration is Open!

The two day-long conference will feature over 30 workshops on everything from sharing practical skills and models to movement-building discussions. The conference also provides opportunities to get to know one another, get familiar with what's happening in cooperative development, and start and cultivate cooperative-to-cooperative business relationships.

Our keynote speaker is Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), the sponsor of the National Cooperative Development Act. Invited speakers include Bruno Roelants of the international worker cooperative federation CICOPA, and representatives from worker cooperative federations in Japan, Argentina, Canada, Italy and the UK.
Four days of activities and community

Friday, June 22, 2012
8:00-5:00 - Daylong Intensive on Worker Cooperative Development (MIT)
8:00-6:00 - Registration (NE)
9:00-12:00 and 2:00-5:00 - Local Tours (various locations)
6:00 - Keynote speaker, Congressman Chaka Fattah (MIT)
8:30pm - Worker Cooperative Film Festival (location TBA)

Saturday, June 23, 2012
8:00 - 9:00 - Registration
9:00-10:100 - Introduction and Welcome
10:15-11:45 - Workshops
12:00-1:00 - Lunch
1:00-3:00 - Workshops
3:00-3:30 - Coffee break
3:30-5:00 - Workshops
6:00-8:00 - Community Picnic in Jamaica Plain (Stony Brook T)

8:00-11:00 - Party at Spontaneous Celebrations in Jamaica Plain.

Bands, DJs and cash bar upstairs.
Games Room downstairs - Co-opoly, dominoes, Wii, arts&crafts.
Plus a special visit by the cupcake truck!
Kids and adults welcome.
Admission is free, but donations to the scholarship fund are encouraged.

Sunday, June 24, 2012
9:00-10:00 - Speaker: How We Built a Worker Cooperative Movement (international guest)
10:15-12:15 - Workshops
12:15-1:15 - Lunch
1:30-2:30 - Speaker: How We Built a Worker Cooperative Movement (international guest)
2:45-4:15 - Workshops
4:15-4:30 - Coffee Break
4:30-5:30 - Closing Plenary

Monday, June 25, 2012
9am-5:00pm - Coop Launch Day for local projects seeking technical assistance. Contact conference[AT] for more information.

*more specific schedule details will be posted as they become available*

Scholarships and Funding
Options for registration and travel scholarships

We have worked very hard to keep the cost of the conference affordable and accessible. We offer full registration, day pass registration, and a low-income option without meals.

This low-income registration is intended for Boston community groups, youth groups, and others who may not be able to afford full registration. There are a limited number of low income registrations. Low income registrations must purchase food separately on the day of the conference.

We will also offer a limited amount of scholarships to attend the conference. To apply, contact conference[AT]usworker[DOT]coop with your request amount and reasons for requesting.

USFWC members should fill out our member scholarship application. Application deadline is April 12.

The USFWC does not offer travel subsidies. However, we are in contact with funders who do support travel. We recommend you connect to these sources for travel funding:

Ralph K Morris Foundation Cooperative Leadership Fund

Common Counsel Foundation Grassroots Exchange Fund
Sponsor the Conference

We expect over 300 people from around the country to attend the conference. Sponsorship is a great chance to get your name out there - whether you're a cooperative, a support organization, a consultant, a lender, a funder, or a friend.

We depend on sponsors to keep the conference affordable and accessible to as many people as possible. Please consider sponsoring part of the conference. Your sponsorship will help:
- Provide 20-25 scholarships, focused on developing leadership in USFWC members.
- Support Spanish/English interpretation for an anticipated 30-40 primary Spanish speaking attendees
- Keep attendance affordable, with discounted registration for up to 75 Boston area community members

Ringmaster - $2000 or more.
Free conference registration for 2, large ad in the program.

High-flying trapeze artist - $1000 or more.
Free conference registration for 1, medium ad in the program.

Tightrope walker - $500 or more.
Discounted conference registration for 1, small ad in the program.

Acrobat - Any amount.
Your name on the sponsor list and signage.

All sponsors will be showered with dazzling smiles and effusive thanks, in print, in person and online.

You can also choose to sponsor a speaker, a coffee break, a workshop track, or the Saturday night community picnic. In return for your event-based sponsorship, we'll post signage and include your personal or cooperative name in the promotional materials.

Click here or email to sponsor.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Donate to Scholarship Fund for US Worker Co-op Conference

Boston-area co-operators: here is a fun chance to meet great co-op people and donate to a wonderful cause.

Everyone else: please consider making a donation anyway!
Scholarships to the conference will cost about $100 each, and the Boston organizing committee is hoping to provide at least 50! Please use to make a donation.

Hey friends!

We're having brunch on Sunday 3/25, raising funds for a
scholarship fund for this summer's National Worker Co-op conference
( It's not just a conference, it's a wonderful
opportunity for local co-op members, and aspiring cooperators, to
learn how to run a successful, democratic business. This is the
United Nations "Year of Cooperatives" and there is a TON of interest
from people who want to learn about this alternative to capitalist
businesses. The scholarship fund is meant to help provide access to
the conference for people who can't afford the registration. We're
expecting a flood of scholarship requests! Organizations like the
Boston Worker's Alliance, MassCOSH, and Worcester Roots want to send
20 or more interested people each to the conference - please help us
help them get there!

Brunch is this Sunday, March 25th at the showroom of the Community
Builders Cooperative - a 25 year old contracting company in
Somerville. The address is 24 Webster Ave in Union Square,
Somerville, and the event is from 11 to 2 pm. Tickets are $20 if you
reserve ahead of time, and $25 at the door. To reserve a seat, send
an email to Eric Johnson at You can make a
donation through our new fundraising site: . We're making a ton of food, and we
have some wonderful donations from local chefs and caterers - it's
going to be a great feast!

If you can't come to brunch, please consider making a donation anyway!
Scholarships to the conference will cost us about $100 each, and
we're hoping to provide at least 50! Please use to make a donation.


Scholarships Available for attending National Worker Co-op Conference


Announcing USFWC Member Conference Scholarships

The USFWC will offer 4 scholarships of $250 each to members of USFWC member workplaces to attend the national worker cooperative conference this year. These scholarships are intended for people who are interested in getting more involved in worker cooperative organizing and support at a local, regional or national level.

This scholarship has two purposes:

- To strengthen the USFWC by supporting the involvement of potential leaders

- To support our member workplaces in sending their members to conferences and events


Applicants must complete the Scholarship Application. (Also available by email upon request.) It is also recommended that applicants enlist the support of their workplace in covering costs for the conference (as appropriate to the size and capacity of the workplace), and such support will be taken into account in the application process.

Applicant must be a member of a USFWC member workplace. Women, transpeople, people of color, and members of identity groups not currently represented in the USFWC’s leadership are strongly encouraged to apply. Committee members will evaluate applicants on the strength of their applications, taking into account such qualities as: commitment to and knowledge about worker cooperatives, leadership potential, experience, and workplace support.

Guidelines for Use

Recipients will be required to use scholarship money to cover registration and travel costs for the conference.** Recipients will be required to attend the USFWC membership meeting during the conference. They may also be asked to serve as “listeners” during the conference. “Listeners” take notes throughout and share their observations with the group at the end of the event. Recipients are also required to complete a brief survey at the end of the program.

Deadline for Applications: April 12, 2012

Decisions from USFWC will be announced by April 23. Deadline for recipients to accept the scholarship is April 30.

Questions contact Stephanie Neely, or call USFWC (415) 379-9201.

**Scholarship will be awarded to the individual, not the organization. In the event that the awardee is not able to use the scholarship, it cannot be automatically transferred to another individual. The committee may re-award money at its discretion.

DVD set on starting worker co-ops now available

At long last! The 1st Edition of “This Way Out: A Guide To Starting A Worker Cooperative” is here!

Trailer here:

Go to to buy a copy. With tax and shipping and handling, it's a very affordable $30.

The video is in English, but there is a Spanish-language option on the DVD with a voice-over translation.

Here is a description:
Geared to small start-up's (10 or fewer people) with little, or limited, access to capital.
On the DVD delivering the info: Quilted, Box Dog Bikes, Co-Soap, Tech Collective, Electric Embers, A Taste of Denmark, Design Action Collective, Cheeseboard, Eco Care, Arizmendi, Bio Fuel Oasis, Mandela Foods, Other Avenue Natural Foods, Neil Helfman (attorney), Van P. Baldwin (attorney/CPA), Melissa Hoover (USFWC), Gary Bell (CEO, Cooperative Federal Credit Union), Jenny Kassan (Attorney), Kim Coontz (Calif Center Coop. Development), with a special appearance by Jim Hightower (author, commentator)

2 disc set, 248 minutes total

Track list:

Disc 1

1-Disclaimer :23
2-Intro 1:26
3-Intro to Co-op Principles 6:46
4-Intro to By-Laws 13:48
5-Choosing A Legal Entity 13:32
6-Subordination Of Capital, Democracy, Patronage 3:17
7-SubChapter T 2:13
8-DBA, Business License, EIN, Permits, Zoning 11:13
9-State Filings 2:17
10-Funding Your Co-op 30:05
11-How They Met 4:59
12-The Importance of Meetings 4:34
13-Hiring & Training 20:40
14-Unions & Coops 2:37
15-Resource List for Small Start-Up's 3:30
16-Credits & Thanks You's 1:15
TRT: 123 mins

Disc 2

Disclaimer :23
Bookkeeping Crash Course 30:26
Communication & Process 42:36
Advice for Start-Up's 14:02
Credits & Thanks You's 1:15
Meet & Greet 37:26

TRT: 125 mins

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Job Opening: Customer Support & SysAdmin at Worker-Owned Hosting Company

Technical Support and Customer Service

Position Focus: Customer Support and System Administration

Work will focus primarily on supporting both technical and non-technical
customers with their Domain, DNS, Web & Email Hosting Services.
Secondary focus on administration of FreeBSD unix servers.

Additional duties include participation in the development of a
cooperatively owned business.

Advancement based on your interest and skills in Unix system
administration, web application development (ruby on rails),
and/or business development.

Location: Work from your own home 98% of the time (high speed internet
connection required). If you live in Western Massachusetts we have a
shared office space that is also available.

You live in central TX, Massachusetts, So. Vermont, or So. New Hampshire.

Start Date: April 2012

Technical Skills Requirement:
--> You know how the Internet works
--> General computer troubleshooting skills on Windows & Mac
--> Strong Customer Service/Technical Support skills
--> Comfortable with the command line interface

Bonus Skills:
. hardware maintenance/repair and data center experience
. Unix (FreeBSD) system administration
. shell scripting
. ruby on rails programming

Work Hours & Compensation:
--> Flexible part-time (10-15 hours per week), available for one weekday
shift per week plus flex-time
--> Some on-call overnight and weekend emergency response duties
--> Long term permanent position, path to worker-ownership in the
--> Compensation: Starting $17-20/hour depending on experience and
worker-owner status. Full worker-owners also share in profits.
Provisional worker-owner period is 6 months to 1 year.

Our Technology Platform:
System administration: FreeBSD, Apache, MySQL, PHP, Ruby on Rails, Perl,
Common web applications used by our customers: Drupal, Wordpress,
Joomla, Moveable Type, Magento
Programming / Database: MySQL, PHP, Perl, Ruby, Unix shell scripting
Legacy: Windows Server, IIS/Cold Fusion

- You have experience or interest in cooperative ownership
- You are interested in being a long term worker-owner of Gaia Host
- Social Justice and Care for Earth are important to you
- Self-motivated and able to work independently
- Cooperative work ethic, works well in a team
- You have interpersonal conflict resolution skills
- You have consensus and group decision making experience
- You have vision in your life and the will to peacefully manifest it
- You have a sense of humor and know there's more to this planet than
the Internet

We are a diversity friendly cooperative! Please Apply.


Gaia Host Collective is a 7 year old worker-owned cooperative with
owners in Southern Vermont, Austin, TX, and western Mass.

We are committed to providing reliable Internet hosting services, while
minimizing our environmental impact and maximizing our social benefit.

Gaia Host offers Domain Registration, Managed web and e-mail Hosting for
small to large traffic websites and friendly customer service for
technical and non-technical customers.

Our hosting server infrastructure is located primarily in two data
center spaces in Somerville, MA and Bedford, NH.

Currently 3 worker-owners, seeking a fourth.


E-mail cover letter and resume with two references to

Current worker owners may be reached by phone at: (800) 672-8060:
Charles (x803), Benjamin (x802), or Matthew (x804).

In Cooperation!,

Benjamin Bradley, Charles Uchu Strader, and Matthew King
Gaia Host Collective

Reliable Internet hosting services from a worker-owned cooperative
dedicated to environmental and social sustainability.