As a membership organization that heavily relies on member dues and donations to bring our programming to life, we are so thankful for all the support we’ve received throughout the years from donors and sustainers of the USFWC.
As we look to build a post-pandemic future that centers community well-being and worker control instead of profit and exploitation, we couldn’t agree more with what USFWC donors over the past year have told us:
“Workers make this world move. A fairer world for workers will be a better world.” –Ryan
“The new economy must be based on worker ownership and control!” –Rosemarie
“You meet peoples’ needs and bring our vision for economic democracy into reality.” –Zen
We are particularly proud to have met many of our members’ needs in this ongoing pandemic and provide opportunities to help make the economy more just through advocacy, conferences and technical assistance expansion.
We successfully completed our pilot year of the USFWC Worker-Owner State Advocacy Fellowship
Across the country, our Worker-Owner State Advocacy Fellows have been leading the way in grassroots advocacy for worker cooperatives. In California and Colorado, fellows are educating Small Business Development Centers on how to proactively support worker co-op development and conversions led by Queer, Trans, BIPOC and non-English speakers. In Pennsylvania, the policy landscape is being created to inform future state-level advocacy for worker-ownership. In Massachusetts, fellows brought legislators into their worker-owned businesses to discuss how to meet the real needs of worker co-ops at the state level. In New York, worker-owners are directly shaping legislative priorities and working to establish a state employee ownership center.
We organized a multi-day virtual convening, Worker Co-op Week
Amidst the global pandemic and climate crises our members have been facing, it’s been challenging to stay connected for mutual support. We were proud to unite 500 worker owners and cooperative movement builders for our three-day virtual convening Worker Co-op Week, which centered strategies to build a just recovery, share our prosperity and control our futures. The conference was ignited by a keynote discussion with NY Congressional Representative Jamaal Bowman and tenants’ rights attorney and interdisciplinary Afrofuturist artist Rasheedah Phillips. 23 workshops (including 11 Spanish-accessible sessions) were presented by and for worker owners on current topics that matter for the movement. We also gave recognition where it was due, by honoring nine worker co-ops and cooperators for their resiliency and leadership at the 2021 Worker Co-op Awards.
We expanded and relaunched our technical assistance program, The Co-op Clinic
This year, we expanded the Co-op Clinic with new video resources and online mini guides in English and Spanish, on topics ranging from democratic hiring and onboarding practices to conflict resolution strategies for worker co-ops. We brought together members, organizational partners and other service providers to celebrate this relaunch, where Co-op Clinic Client Ujamaa Farming Cooperative Alliance shared their experience developing their business plan and participatory governance structure in order to continue preserving seeds that are culturally significant to the Black community for future generations of farmers and families. We also introduced our brand new team of professional and culturally competent Peer Advisors that can provide worker co-ops with high-quality technical assistance from within the movement, based on their lived experience working in and developing cooperative businesses.
These accomplishments are just a glimpse of why it is more important than ever to #InvestInCoops by supporting the only national membership organization for worker-owned businesses and democratic workplaces in the U.S. We are counting on your support to continue to support frontline workers and those who have been exploited by our current economic system to own their workplaces and own their futures.