USFWC Welcomes New Staff Union: “Federation Workers United”
Exciting news from the labor front. This summer, staff of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC) formed an independent union, the Federation Workers United (FWU), which was subsequently voluntarily recognized by Executive Director Esteban Kelly on July 14th, 2023. The union includes the full and part time staff outside of the USFWC leadership team.
The staff formed FWU to protect and expand staff pay and benefits, make collective policy decisions at the federation, and ensure our workplace culture is sustainable for all staff members. FWU is committed to serving and advocating for our staff, while USFWC members continue to be the guiding star of our organization.
USFWC’s Executive Director recognized the union in solidarity with organized labor and workers unionizing across the country, and in the spirit of strengthening our organization in service of our membership. Members of our board also expressed support for recognition of the union and have committed time and resources to understanding how staff unionization impacts their role as representatives of the USFWC’s membership.
As leaders in the movement for workplace democracy, USFWC leadership has collaborated with staff in setting up a gradual transition to become a democratic workplace. FWU members chose to form a union because they believe it would provide the most durable space for involving non-management staff in decision-making internal to the USFWC workplace. The union will also be a formal mechanism to balance sustainable and honest expectations between USFWC’s workers and our members.
This new union builds on years of work USFWC non-management staff, directors, and board members have been doing together to develop strong internal policies which support staff well-being: creating periods of Collective Rest for staff, implementing collaboratively created COVID safety protocols, participatory sustainable work planning, transparent budgeting and finances, and more.
The USFWC is committed to exemplifying the same rights and responsibilities that we advocate for in workplaces across the United States. It is our hope that more organizations will support, rather than obstruct, union organizing by voluntarily recognizing unionizing efforts when they arise.
Together, the FWU, board of directors, and leadership team will continue to steward the USFWC’s mission of building a thriving ecosystem for worker-owned and controlled businesses – and their cooperative leaders – to power movements for racial justice and economic democracy.
Federation Workers United, USFWC Board President Ricardo Samir Nuñez, & USFWC Executive Director Esteban Kelly