In this moment of unprecedented crisis, our team is working overtime to support our members and their workers. So many USFWC members are struggling right now. Some are grinding away at grocery stores and health care facilities, while others are stymied by business being ground to a halt.
Overall, we’re hearing how hungry you are to get updates about each other, and to know how those of you who are home can help out. We’re posting daily updates at usworker.coop/covid-19 . You should check that site regularly as new campaigns, solidarity funds, economic relief policies, and workplace practices come to light. This page includes resources in both English and Spanish to support your co-op, vulnerable workers, and the close knit worker co-op community.
As you can imagine our team has been busy behind the scenes. Here’s some of what we’ve been up to:
- We are compiling resources for cooperative businesses, including available relief funds, business wage scenario guidance, toolkits, and best practices around health and safety and remote work
- Advocacy efforts are in full swing. The USFWC and DAWI are busy reaching out to federal legislators and organizing information to guide state and local legislators. You might have seen our joint appeal with other co-op associations to Congressional leadership last week. We pushed for small business supports and family and worker protections in the economic stimulus bill that might already have passed by time you read this. Thank you to those who followed through on our appeal to call your congressional reps. All members are encouraged to join our Policy and Advocacy call this Thursday. We plan to host these calls every Thursday going forward during this critical time in advocating for worker ownership in a reorganized economy and culture of public health.
- New and expanded support systems are in place to help businesses like yours receive financial relief. These include millions of dollars in the Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the Small Business Administration. More on this below.
- We’re sharing opportunities to support each other. The worker co-op movement is strong because we are resilient, agile, and ready to offer support. Here’s our hub with links to patronize and otherwise support USFWC members and a place to add your own opportunities.
- Over the next week, USFWC staff and board will be reaching out to each workplace. Look forward to a call from our teams to check in, understand your challenges, and explain how to access some of these government programs.
- Our dental and vision benefits are still in full effect. Email us at email@example.com if you have questions about coverage.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if there is anything your organization needs or any way we can support you during this time.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans – Apply now
In this time of crisis, we are also winning long-fought battles for cooperatives. The third stimulus package that is expected to pass in the next few days includes an unprecedented exemption from the personal guarantee requirement, which will cover worker co-ops up to 500 workers for loans up to $200,000.
While loans may not be considered a helpful tool at this time, but we urge you to apply as soon as possible for these highly favorable loans
- These loans have incredibly low interest rates (3.75% for businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits), and are among the best, safest loans for your organization.
- Payments are deferred for 1 year. Interest does accrue, but the low interest rates and long terms still make them very low-risk, in addition to no prepayment penalty.
- Funds can be expected in as little as 30 days
- The USFWC will be furiously advocating for loan forgiveness, to turn these loans into grants. The developments on economic response are very fluid right now, and we expect the federal government to continue to reduce burdens on small businesses
We know that the loan page is currently down due to high volume, but we will add links to the paper application to print and send on our website at usworker.coop/covid-19.
COVID-19 Support and Solidarity Call
It’s time to exercise Principles Six and Seven. This call is an opportunity for anyone in the USFWC’s network to come together to share resources and strategies for dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on the worker cooperative community. The USFWC will share highlights of the many publicly available resources we have collected so far, and participants will have an opportunity to connect with each other through industry-specific breakout groups.
Spanish language call
Monday, March 30 | 12:00pm ET / 11:00am CT / 9:00am PT | 60 min
English language call
Monday, March 30 | 2:30pm ET / 1:30pm CT / 11:30am PT | 60 min
CHCA and Opportunity Threads needs your help!
These are unprecedented times and difficult for all of our communities. USFWC members Cooperative Home Care Associates and Opportunity Threads are working to try and get home care workers protective surgical masks. Our health care workers are on the front lines and many are having to work without personal protective equipment (PPE).
Immediate donations through the Opportunity Threads non-profit, The Industrial Commons, and the Carolina Textile District, are needed to support producers, procure materials and move as fast as they can.
Read the full statement here and please donate as you are able