NOBAWC Newsletter June 2015

Worker Coop Law Passes CA Assembly
NoBAWC members helped move this bill forward!SACRAMENTO, CA—On May 22, the California State Assembly passed AB816, a major step toward making California the twelfth state to establish a legal form specifically for worker cooperatives. This campaign is building on the momentum of worker cooperative policy initiatives happening throughout the country, as the cooperative business form gains recognition as a powerful tool for economic revitalization.

Assembly Member Bonta, who represents communities in the East Bay, introduced AB816 and was the principal author. “The worker cooperative model has great potential to have a deep and lasting impact on California’s economy, making it more sustainable, fairer, and more accessible to all California residents.”

The bill has two key parts. First, by passing AB816, the California legislature officially acknowledges the benefits of the model, finding that “worker cooperatives have the purpose of creating and maintaining sustainable jobs and generating wealth in order to improve the quality of life of its worker-members, dignify human work, allow workers’ democratic self-management, and promote community and local development in this state.”

Second, it allows companies to incorporate as a worker cooperative using an election under the Consumer Cooperative Corporation Law (which will be renamed the Cooperative Corporation Law). The worker cooperative election triggers a number of provisions in the existing law that recognize the unique characteristics of worker-owned businesses.

The bill was drafted by the California Worker Cooperative Policy Coalition, a group of worker cooperative businesses, developers, and technical assistance providers, including the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, the Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives, the Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives, the Democracy at Work Institute, the Sustainable Economies Law Center and the East Bay Community Law Center’s Green Collar Community Clinic (GC3).

The bill must still pass through the California Senate and be signed by the Governor before becoming law.

To help the passage of AB816, please contact Amy Johnson, Co-Executive Director at the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives atamy, or Christina Oatfield, Policy Director at the Sustainable Economies Law Center at christina, or visit to learn more.

Press Release:

Book group on capitalist crisis and workplace democracy

Our book club meets every two weeks on Sunday afternoons from 4 to 7 pm in Oakland. Our book choices alternate between books that discuss the crisis in capitalism and books that discuss worker direct democracy, as in worker coops.

Please check our website before responding to this so we can make sure we are right for each other.


Three Stone Hearth is seeking a full-time experienced Cook.

At Three Stone Hearth Cooperative our work is grounded in shared values of sustainability, community and health. Inspired by diverse cuisines, our weekly menus are prepared using the nourishing traditions approach to ensure maximum digestibility and nutrient absorption. We pack our foods in re-usable glass containers, compost waste, and purchase from local farms. Our mission is: We heal our community, our planet, and ourselves by building a sustainable model for community scale food preparation and processing that honors culinary traditions and provides nutrient dense foods for local households and beyond.

Job Summary
At Three Stone Hearth, the Cook is accountable for preparing raw ingredients, keeping a good pace, executing recipes or tasks as requested, tracking mise en place, jarring and labeling products, keeping a clean work space, and overall kitchen clean-up. We are using Holacracy as a governance structure, and all employees have an opportunity to evolve the company’s structure as part of their work. We are also a worker-owned cooperative, and all employees have a path to ownership.

Required Education, Experience, and Skills
• Minimum one year experience working in a commercial kitchen or equivalent.
• Food Handler’s or Safe Serve Certification, upon hire.
• Willingness and enthusiasm for going through candidacy process for worker-ownership of the Company.
• Co-operative experience a plus!
• Strong attention to detail.
• Highly organized; capacity to multi-task, set priorities, and respond quickly to changing needs.

Email shannon
Interested applicants should send a current resume and email cover letter to the address above. Please do not call, do not leave phone messages and do not drop in. We will only consider candidates that contact us through email. Email should include a basic introduction and a little about yourself, your email, phone number and your current resume.

AORTA is hiring

We are very excited to share that we are hiring new worker-owner candidates.

AORTA is a worker-owned cooperative devoted to strengthening movements for social justice and a solidarity economy. We work as consultants and facilitators to expand the capacity of cooperative, collective, and community based projects through education, training, and planning.
Our work ranges from one-time trainings and workshops to long-term consulting processes focused on supporting our clients with everything from policy development to strategic planning to anti-oppressive organizational transformation.

We are hiring new worker owners.
We are looking to hire up to three part-time or full-time worker-owners, ranging from 20-40 hours a week. We are only looking to hire people interested in being a worker-owner. We are looking for potential worker owners who are excited about committing to the cooperative for at least 5 years. We are strongly invested in our points of unity (which can be found on our website) as an organization, and would expect a new worker-owner to share those values.

We are looking to build up an internship/leadership development pipeline in our organization, as well as our capacity to coordinate volunteers and are interested in hiring people who can support that development.

We are looking for people who have an unwavering commitment to social justice. We want people who are excited about the prospect of working with organizations to help them transform and grow, who feel passionately about building leader-full movements, and who feel energized and confident facilitating large groups of people in meetings, workshops, and retreats. We want people who have a solid foundational understanding of cooperatives and solidarity economics, and energy to build up this area of expertise.

We pay ourselves based on a needs-based model of payment. The starting wage is $15/hour. It may be adjusted upwards from there based on cost of living in your city, number of dependents, and disability/health care needs. Wage adjustments are decided upon at the beginning of the fiscal year.
Our worker-owners are distributed across the country. Most of us work from home; we do not currently budget to compensate workers for office rental, cell phone service, or internet service.

To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to hiringby June 30th, 2015.
People of Color, trans and gender nonconforming people, people from poor and working class backgrounds, and women are encouraged to apply.

AORTA: Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance

“These are the times to grow our souls. Each of us is called upon to embrace the conviction that despite the powers and principalities bent on commodifying all our human relationships, we have the power within us to create the world anew.”
– Grace Lee Boggs –

Rune Kvist Olsen on ‘Leadingship’
Horizontal Leadingship instead of vertical leadership

Mobilizing a New Workplace Reality through changing the thought of leading and learning. This change necessitates a change from a vertical relationship powered by leadership to a horizontal relationship powered by leadingship.

YouTube video on “Leadingship” recorded in Wales 2012.

Western Worker Co-op Conference

September 20-22, 2015
at the Clark Kerr Conference Center on the UC Berkeley Campus

The conference will run from Sunday night through Tuesday evening. Lunch is included in the conference cost, which will be significantly cheaper this year!

Gopal Dayaneni will be our 2015 Keynote Speaker!

Keep an eye on Facebook page for updated information on presenters, costs, and more!

Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy 2015 Conference
July 9-12
Worcester, MA

Connecting for Impact
Only through strong and meaningful connections can worker cooperatives reach their full potential, providing positive solutions for many of the economic inequalities and injustices that face the Eastern US. Through these relationships, cooperatives reach new communities, distribute wealth equitably, hold true to cooperative values, and create successful businesses. Connecting for impact means creating a movement for real economic change fueled by worker-owners of every background.

The 2015 conference will emphasize the critical connections that are being made around our region and beyond, strengthening a movement that is growing at a rapid pace. Cooperatives in the Pioneer Valley and Philadelphia will demonstrate how cross-sector collaboration can build the cooperative brand and increase business success. Projects in Springfield, Cleveland, and the Bronx will illustrate the process of building scalable businesses through collaboration between worker cooperatives and anchor institutions. Existing work in New York, Madison, Quebec, and Puerto Rico will provide a model for leveraging relationships with governments, non-profits, and community organizations to fuel cooperative development. Worker-owned businesses across the country are actively engaged in creating a more just economy by reaching beyond their businesses to grow their cooperatives and our movement.

GEO’s third
Advancing the Development
Worker Cooperatives conference
July 10, Worcester, MA,

A diversity of kindred approaches to alternative political economics is emerging across the country. Many of them share a regional focus. This is showing unusual potential for advancing the development of worker co-operatives through inter-cooperative and cross-sector networking. We are calling this Regional Cooperative/Solidarity Economic Development (C/SE).

Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO) is convening a one-day conference that will focus on this emergence. It will take place at Worcester State University (WSU) in Worcester, MA, on July 10, 2015. Since it will be GEO’s third Advancing the Development Worker Cooperatives conference, we are calling it “ADWC 3.” The Earth Environment and Physics Department at WSU is co-sponsoring the event with us.

Cooperative/solidarity networks are emerging in western Massachusetts, central Massachusetts, New York City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Madison, Detroit, Jackson, MS, Austin, TX and the Bay Area, to name a few of them.

The purpose of this one-day conference is to explore ways to build local alternative economies that will help to solve economic and social problems in our communities. We are reaching out to leaders of these diverse political economic initiatives across the country as well as leaders from social justice and civic engagement movements who are and who want to be supportive allies in regional economic development. It is what GEO is calling Movements Moving Together.

The focus of the conference will be on 1) exploring the challenges and opportunities organizers and developers are dealing with in their regions, 2) identifying the resources they need and how the resources might be acquired, and 3) how we can work together cross-regionally over the coming years and decades.

Worker Coop Academy

The deadline to get your application in is June 14th.

This Fall at Laney College, SELC, Project Equity, and the East Bay Community Law Center will offer the second annual Worker Coop Academy! The Academy catalyzes the formation and expansion of worker-owned businesses that will provide good jobs for low to moderate income workers. The Academy is an intensive 14 week course that provides entrepreneurs, business owners, and economic development organizations the tools they need to build, strengthen, or convert to a worker owned business. Find more information

We held a webinar explaining what we’ll be offering this Fall and you can watch it online here:

Ricardo Samir Nuñez
Legal Services Director
Cooperatives Program Director
Sustainable Economies Law Center |
2323 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612
SELC: 510.398.6219 | Direct (Google Voice): 510.457.1809
Legal education, research, advice, and advocacy for just and resilient local economies.


Filmmaker J.J. Noire has recently completed a four part series celebrating the 40th anniversary of Other Avenues Food Cooperative, located in the San Francisco Outer Sunset district.

Vth International Gathering “The Workers’ Economy”

July 22-26, 2015
Punta Cardón, State of Falcón, Península de Paraguaná, Venezuela

Call for Participation

Since 2007, the International Gathering of “The Workers’ Economy” (Encuentro Internacional de “La Economía de los Trabajadores-Trabajadoras”) has taken place every two years. The gatherings have opened up a space for debate and dialogue between workers, social and political activists, academics, and intellectuals concerning the problems and potential of what we have termed “the workers’ economy”—based on self-management and the defense of the rights and interests of the population that lives by their work, within the rubric of today’s conjuncture of global neoliberal capitalism. What has inspired and guided the debates and discussions of these past encuentros (gatherings) were the experiments of self-management forged by the people of South America, such as: the worker-recuperated enterprises of Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil; worker cooperative movements; experiences in workers’ control and co-management in Bolivarian Venezuela; and the social and solidarity economy. These encuentros have been spaces where an increasingly necessary discussion—of the old and new problems faced by the working class and updated for our times of global neoliberal hegemony—is being revived and reconstituted.

The Gatherings of “The Workers’ Economy” are not just spaces for debate, but an international collective committed the struggles of the working class and peoples of the world.

Social economy in the Mediterranean Region

Social economy is a key player to turn the Mediterranean into an area of shared prosperity. There are currently more than 900,000 social economy enterprises and entities in this region employing about 9 million people. In the coastal countries, there are more than 147 million people members of Social economy entities.

The MedESS Initiative

MedESS is a multi-stakeholder initiative committed to the development of social and solidarity economy (SSE) in the Mediterranean. It puts actors and territories at the heart of its action to implement programs on key issues such as funding, training or the development of territorial support poles. Launched in Tunis in May 2013, MedESS was established during the summer 2014 as an association governed by French law with the main purpose of launching a Foundation by 2016. They are members of MedESS: MACIF, Crédit Coopératif, Region Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur, Groupe Chèque Déjeuner, Unipol, IPEMED and the ESMED Network.

Zapatista Collectivity in Chiapas

A “Seminar on Critical Thought” Organized by the Zapatistas Draws Over a Thousand Participants in Chiapas
Upsidedown World

Written by Christy Rodgers
Thursday, 14 May 2015

Moisés has been equally open and clear about the failures of certain aspects of the experiment: total collectivization of work did not function, nor large-scale barter projects, nor relying heavily on NGO-sponsored “development” or service projects. Direct governance of the base by the armed insurgency did not work either. “Se chingó, pues,” he will say ruefully about failed attempts, to much laughter from the audience. “The thing is you idealize us,” he admonished at one point, and again laughter erupted.

* * *
But his dominant story is how trial and error (“through error we correct ourselves” is another repeated Zapatista expression) led to a functional form of government by community consensus. It also led to the development of relationships of solidarity with providers of essential services such as surgery or dentistry, to a communal bank and cooperative income-generating projects (livestock, coffee, corn, shoes and boots) that provide basic sustenance as well. All this in the midst of constant attempts by the government to undermine and diminish them through monetary cooptation or paramilitary violence. And it has led overall to a sense of personal dignity that is immediately evident in every word a Zapatista speaks.

The Uganda Shoe-shiners Industrial Cooperative Society

The Uganda Shoe-shiners Industrial Cooperative Society was initiated in 1975 by homeless street boys and girls who had, for a long time, bore the wrath of the city authorities for operating without license. After organizing themselves into a cooperative and having attained legal status, they proceeded with a request to the city authority for the allocation of working areas in the city. Success followed, and in a couple of years they started manufacturing shoe brushes and using environment-friendly materials.

In 2007, the cooperative had more than 600 members and had created branches in other cities of Uganda. Thanks to their affiliation to the Uganda Cooperative Alliance, they benefited from training courses. The Cooperative Savings and Credit Union of Uganda provided loans to their members, who have clearly moved to the formal economy and enjoyed higher and more stable incomes since working within the framework of the cooperative.

Workers’ Buyouts in Europe
The New York Times This recent Times article on business transfers to employees analyses the history of the Editoriale Zanardi, an artisanal printing company located in Northern Italy and transformed into a ‪worker cooperative in 2014. It reflects how cooperatives can save jobs and know-how, showing the resilience of those enterprises in Europe.

It also mentions the latest workers’ buyouts in Spain and France together with the experience of CECOP (the European confederation of industrial and service cooperatives). It analyses the support given by Coopfond, an institution that has funded 40 worker coops since 2009, and interviews its general director, Aldo Soldi.

The Kbrones workers’ cooperative in Argentina
Cooperatives for prisoner rehabilitation
The Kbrones workers’ cooperative is the first in Argentina to have been formed inside a prison, and the second in Latin America. It was set up four years ago on the initiative of a group of inmates, and with the support of FECOOTRA, the Federation of Workers’ Cooperatives in Argentina.
Kbrones also helps many former prisoners in search of work, to reintegrate them into society and into the workforce. The president of the cooperative, Marcelo Vargas, stated: “It is complicated to set up a productive project inside a prison. People don’t even consider that work is an option. The prison service has a special area for this, run according to specific rules which are hard to understand. Having a job while in prison is an advantage which, alongside study, can give inmates the opportunity of an early release. The work is not seen as a job. This is the reason why our proposal for real work, real jobs, was received well by our colleagues.”
In order to create a proper structure for this, the Argentine Cooperative Federation FECOTRA set up ACCEL, the Department for Cooperatives in the Context of Imprisonment and Former Inmates, and drew up the Program for Promotion of Cooperatives for People Deprived of Liberty and Former Inmates. “I always say that the cooperative world gave an identity to us, has brought us back into society and into the culture of work. And an education, because it also educated us,” stated Vargas.
The worker cooperative is a viable alternative for life outside of prison, based on the values and principles of the cooperative model. “In the same way as for marginalized sections of our society, or for those for whom the economic crisis has meant losing a lifelong job, cooperatives in the context of prisons can provide a viable alternative for structuring and regularizing work. In this case it is not about the recovery of businesses, but about beginning the rehabilitation of people” said a FECOOTRA spokesperson.
“Our project is about setting up production facilities throughout Argentina, where all those of us who have been imprisoned can have work. We are trying to return workers to society” said Julio Fuque, one of the founding members of the Kbrones Cooperative.
Irish Mussel Coops on 18 months of ethnographic study in the West of Ireland’s Killary Harbour, the contribution that formal and informal cooperation has made to the persistence of small-scale mussel production is assessed in this article. Although formal and informal forms of cooperation are by no means the only conditions of the persistence of small-scale production in the Killary site, they are shown to have critically improved the survival chances of individual producers and of groups of producers. What is also shown is that informal cooperation has significantly eclipsed formal cooperation since 2000.

How small producers have survived in Irish rope mussel aquaculture is the question posed in this paper. Both large and small-scale producers continue to operate in aquaculture, even if frequently the economic pressures on small fish farmers are immense and some branches of aquaculture (such as salmon rearing) have tended to organize on an
ever-larger scale.

Worker Cooperatives in the Constitution of Spain
Constitución Española
Article 129 (2) [Cooperatives]
The public authorities shall effectively promote the various forms of participation in enterprise and facilitate cooperative enterprises by means of appropriate legislation. They shall also establish the means that will facilitate access by the workers to ownership of the means of production.
Artículo 129 (2)
Los poderes públicos promoverán eficazmente las diversas formas de participación en la empresa y fomentarán, mediante una legislación adecuada, las sociedades cooperativas. También establecerán los medios que faciliten el acceso de los trabajadores a la propiedad de los medios de producción.
Worker Coops in Literature
The Green House (1966)
a novel by Mario Vargas Llosa
[winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature]
Translated from Spanish by Gregory Rabassa
p. 47Governor don Julio Reategui thought that they were worrying over nothing. But Manuel Aguila: “no, nothing like that, Governor,” he stands up, they had proof… Pedro Escabino bangs his glass on the table, “Don Julio: the cooperative was a fact, the Aguaruna Indians were going to sell rubber for themselves in the town of Iquitos, the Aguaruna Indian chiefs had got together in Chicais to talk about that, and that was the true situation and the rest was blindness.” Except that Governor don Julio Reategui didn’t know a single Aguaruna Indian who knew what Iquitos or a cooperative was, “where did you get such a story from, Pedro Escabino?”, and he begged them please to speak one at a time, gentlemen.

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