The plight of restaurant workers—many of them immigrants—was especially noticeable after 9/11, according to The Huffington Post: Mamdouh was realizing they had no safety net, and few opportunities to find one, due to the transitory nature of the restaurant industry. And that industry, like many other components of the city’s economy, was having troubles of its own during the fall of 2001. More than 12,000 restaurant jobs in New York vanished after the attacks, and by December, almost two-thirds of them still hadn’t come back. Together with a mix of restaurant workers that included former colleagues at Windows on the World, Mamdouh formed an organization to advocate for restaurant worker rights, and to help train workers in an industry where career advancement can range from difficult to nonexistent. With that, the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York (ROC-NY) was formed.
Stewart Perry and Raymond Russell's classic Collecting Garbage about the worker cooperative Sunset Scavenger is previewable online and available inexpensively used (especially previous editions titled San Francisco's Scavengers).Sunset Scavenger held a monopoly on the San Francisco's refuse collection for over 50 years before selling to a larger corporation in the 1970s as the industry changed from personal to automated relationships with clients.
At Golden Steps we begin by getting to know about the seniors' needs. Our goal is to provide care and support to the senior so they can continue to carry on a dignified life in their home. Companions are well prepared and eager to make the senior feel as if they are with family- cared for, attended to and loved.
What is a Cooperative? It is an autonomous association of people who are united, voluntarily, to meet their necessities and aspirations; economic, social, political and cultural.The members work in common by means of a social enterprise which is controlled democratically.We are a worker cooperative. The workers set policy, make business decisions, and generally run the organization.
The American Worker Cooperative provides Janitorial services, home repair and home remodeling services. The member owners and associates have a wide range of skills to assist you with every project. We pride ourselves on attention to detail, craftmanship and quality customer service. What can we do for you?"
Asheville's Cooperatively-owned "Firestorm Cafe and Books announces the launch of a new partnership with fellow worker-cooperative Equal Exchange, the oldest and largest Fair Trade coffee company in the U.S. On Monday, Feb. 27, the café will celebrate the joint venture with free coffee all day and more. Here's the press release:
"We've been told for years that we serve some of the best coffee and espresso in town, so we don't take a change in beans lightly (no pun intended). Although Equal Exchange, a company firmly rooted in social movement, seemed like a natural choice for us philosophically, we spent nearly twelve months exploring the potential partnership, during which time we researched their business practices, sampled over a wide array of their roasts and twice met with representatives from their cooperative. What we found was extremely exciting.
"Founded with the goal of fostering a Fair Trade movement with teeth, Equal Exchange has been an unwavering ally of small farmer co-operatives and sustainable farming around the world. Our new cooperative partners operate a market network of over two million producers, workers, investors, merchants, activists and consumers. Over the years they have used this standing to publicly speak out against agricultural child trafficking, push back against attacks on the organic certification standard and, most recently, take a lead role in opposing the dilution of the Fair Trade standard by domestic certifier Fair Trade USA…
"Equal Exchange was recently named one of the world's "Most Democratic Workplaces" by WorldBlu and, like us, has publicly supported the Occupy movement. It seems only fitting then that we should announce this partnership in 2012, a year that is being promoted by the United Nations and major cooperative federations as the International Year of the Cooperative.Please join us on Monday, Feb. 27 to sample our new roasts and join the conversation!
When you receive a massage at New Seattle Massage, the massage practitioner directly receives the money paid and contributes a portion of the price to the co-op for shared costs such as laundry, receptionists, facility rent & upkeep, administration and advertising. There is no other owner, other than each of us owning our own individual practices: no other individuals or stockholders gain profits from the work done by LMP's; no owner other than ourselves tells us how to run our business or how to give a massage.
We have created this co-op to better serve our clients and ourselves. Our facility offers clients amenities none of us could offer individually (steam room, sauna, showers), client calls are answered 84 hours/week and we are free from administrative tasks and laundry. Rather we can do what we love to do: provide massage."
The Workers' Owned Sewing Company was, at peak, a 70-worker democratic cut-and-sew factory that operated for 21 years in Windsor, North Carolina.The company was founded in 1979 out of the bankruptcy of a 12 year-old form called Bertie Industries (after Bertie County).The manager of that firm, Tim Bazemore, reorganized the company as a democratic enterprise and helped relaunch it with the help of consultants including Frank Adams of ICA.Bazemore owned all the shares for the first two years but then began to sell them to the workers through payroll deductions.An elected 7-member board was responsible for all major business decisions, including hiring and firing the plant manager.After several years of subcontracting, the cooperative was successful enough in 1983 to sell directly to K-Mart and Sears.
The success of the cooperative helped activists to persuade Guilford College's Business Management Department to sponsor four-day summer workshops three successive summers, and contributed to the founding of the Self-Help Credit Union, which in turn helped the cooperative to expand.In 1993 Bazemore was invited by Bill Clintonto the White House to speak to bankers and community economic developers that "poor minorities could build enterprises, create jobs, and instill confidence in their future" as Clinton announced his Community Development Banking and Financial Institutions Act.
In 1992 Kathy Hoke interviewed Bazemore about his childhood, his time in and return from World War II, his activism, and his enterprises.The transcription of the interview is an inspiring read, an exceprt of which is below.
Once Again Nut Butter is a 100% employee-owned, democratic ESOP that produces peanut, almond, and cashew butters, honey, and a variety of other products from the town of Nunda in Western New York.Once Again has been democratically operated for 35 years, has 30 employee-owners,and had revenues of $14 million in 2007.The company operates on a 1 member, 1 vote sytem, distributes profit shares equally to all owners, and has a 3.5 to 1 compensation ratio of highest to lowest paid employees.
Thecooperative will install, own, and maintain the panels that they install and sell the generated power to the host institutions.As a for profit business they are entitled to government solar incentives that non-profit universities and hospitals cannot receive.Because solar installation is not a year-round business in the Ohio, the cooperative diversified with a weatherization program for the colder months in order to create full-time jobs.
CEO Steve Kiel, who says he is like an employee of the cooperative's 20 worker-owners, explains his goals include structured wealth creation for the workers' long term economic security. A share of the company's surplus is allocated to the workers but retained in the company, capitalizing the business while creating long-term individual savings.
"Over the next twenty years, the cooperative they created faced its share of organizational and financial struggles, and they made some modifications, both to Burley's original product line and to its organizational structure. Through it all, the cooperative's worker-owners made every attempt to remain true to its fundamentals — making bicycling products under conditions of equal pay, equal ownership, equal distribution of profits, and equal voice in management, while retaining a social and environmental conscience. Grounded in these fundamentals, Burley grew to become a model of successful workplace democracy and one of the United States' largest manufacturing cooperatives, with one hundred full, voting members and nearly $10 million in annual sales.
"Such prominence, however, was not Burley's goal, and it arrived surprisingly quickly. In fact, it came as such a surprise that the cooperative struggled to accommodate the growth. In that struggle, Burley failed to anticipate and understand the end of its growth spurt or the fundamental changes occurring in the surrounding economy. In 2006, after nearly thirty years of cooperative manufacturing, Burley was on the brink of collapse as its competitors moved manufacturing to unregulated and lower-cost markets overseas."
In December, rumors surfaced that Checker would stay closed permanently. A variety of sentiments developed among the strikers. Some felt guilty about getting employees into something which might cost them their livelihoods. Some were frustrated and angry because the union was unable to reach a negotiated settlement. Some began to feel that if Checker did close permanently, it would be better than working for its management again.
In January, 1979, ex-Checker workers Steve Krumrei, Jim Cooley, Dave Everitt, Jim Symon and Jim Applebaum resolved to create a worker owned company. They felt they had, amongst the membership, enough expertise to be successful in the taxi business. When it became apparent that Checker management would not reapply for taxi permits, Union Cab incorporated. Later that month, it applied for 20 permits. From March to June, Union Cab contacted lawyers, made financial projections, applied to the Federal Communications Commission for a radio license and began seeking the estimated $150,000 necessary to begin initial operations.
By early June, Union Cab had only obtained enough money to put a down payment on the radios. Every day was a juggling act, as projected expenses had to be reevaluated in light of available sources of capital. Finally, a loan package was arranged: $95,000 came from the First Wisconsin Bank (Firstar), $35,000 from the Madison Development Corporation, $15,000 from Wisconsin Horizons and almost $15,000 fro the sale of preferred stock. On October 29, 1979, Union Cab of Madison Cooperative, Inc. opened for business, with 11 new cabs. It was difficult at the beginning, with no yellow pages ad and an average wage of around $0.80 per hour. The Cooperative lost $35,000 in the first three months. Losses were expected, but their magnitude concerned everyone. On February 14, 1980, the City permitted the cab companies to raise their rates. At that point, Union turned the corner."
"The Cheese Board opened in 1967, when revolution was in the air, in the slip of a space that now houses The Juice Bar Collective. On the first day of business, original owners Sahag and Elizabeth Avedisian grossed less than a hundred bucks after an initial investment of just a few hundred dollars on cheese. The couple began selling a selection of high-quality cheeses in stark contrast to the massive orange blocks wrapped in plastic that passed for American cheese then.
How times have changed. And we’re not just referring to the fact that worker-owners no longer streak naked across the median strip (as they did, legend has it, “back in the day.”) Today, the store sells 300 to 400 goat, sheep, and cow milk cheeses from all over the world, including many artisan American offerings. The store also sells its trademark sourdough baguette and baked goods, such as scones, muffins, cookies, and chocolate things, as well as focaccia, rolls, challah, and other breads.
The Avedisians, who had worked on a kibbutz in Israel, wanted to run a democratic shop where all the workers were owners and shared the wealth. So in 1971 the couple converted the business to a collective, bringing their six employees into the fold as equal partners. To this day, a new employee earns the same hourly pay as one who has been with the cooperative since the beginning. Elizabeth Avedisian, now in her 80s, still does two shifts a week at the store, without fanfare. Her ex-husband Sahag, who left the collective and the Bay Area years ago, passed away in 2007.
The process really started to snow ball when we discovered that an old friend of from the Bay Area, a coop founder himself, had begun coaching other organizations on the process. Shawn Berry (along with Tom Clossey) formally organized their wood shop, Woodshanti into a worker-owned cooperative in 2002. Since that time they have become a model for progressive business development, joining other long standing coops in Northern California like Rainbow Grocery and CELLspace. You can read more about Woodshanti and coops in general at www.go.coop.
"Ownership is voluntary but each worker/owner earns equity in the company through a labor input formula, so as a worker works more hours, they earn a larger share of the business in the form of equity and physical assets.We believe that individual worker ownership of jobs and full participation in the daily decisions of the workplace are an integral part of a free & democratic society.
"We formed Stumptown Printers in 1999 as an equal partnership of three owner/workers and operated this way for close to 9 years. When we decided to invite more workers to join us as the business expanded, we wanted a structure that allowed for complete inclusion of new workers. Inspired by the cooperative print shops New Earth Press of Berkeley, California and Lakeside Press of Madison, Wisconsin, as well as advice from members of Portland's own City Bikes Worker Cooperative, we reorganized as Stumptown Printers Worker Cooperative in January 2008."
Flashback 2004, many customers to Blue Scorcher will remember The Bread Collective, the more humble beginnings of the busy bakery/café — about 5 folks gathered together in the back of a former restaurant, to bake good organic bread together and tasty cookies, and make it available to desiring consumers. What seemed rather experimental at the time has since evolved into one of Astoria’s most popular community gathering places. On a recent stormy weekday afternoon, there was a substantial crowd both at the bakery takeout counter and at the restaurant tables, where patrons enjoyed a daily special of fragrant garbanzo tangine soup served of course, with a gargantuan chunk of bread hand made in the bread oven a few feet away. Unlike most restaurants, here one of numerous chef/cooks delivers your meal to you, a touch that seems especially homey. The Blue Scorcher has also long been a large part of both the social and philanthropic scene in Astoria, hosting the late summer Lughnasa Fest, celebrating local growers and sustainability practices, Full Moon monthly dinner gatherings, making the dining area available to numerous types of events and bread donations to community organizations.
As the Blue Scorcher has curbed some if its own community productions, the focus now has turned to the work of creating cooperative bylaws, and membership agreements as six worker members step up to the cooperative plate with earnest monies. And while a worker-cooperative model serves a practical economic approach, Iris Sullivan Daire speaks passionately to the humanistic qualities that the coop structure allows, “When you have a voice, you are more fully human. When you are separate from what you do [in your place of employment] it becomes enslavement.” The cooperative environment, as the Blue Scorcher proves too, is creating space for people to transition in life and in their relationship to work.
"Shot In The Dark Café worker cooperativeis a collectively owned and operated coffee shop / restaurant.We serve 100% organic, fair trade coffee and espresso.We have a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu,served 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even on holidays!Coffee, espresso drinks, house made chai, fresh cookies, homemade pastries.Great food and generous portions, options for vegetarians, vegans and carnivores, and breakfast all day!Live music & open mic night, art gallery, plenty of comfy seating, ethernet outlets, free WiFi and well-ventilated indoor smoking patio!We also offer a selection of cigarettes!
...Prosser was intent upon operating a business in which the workers were the owners when he bought Terranova Catering three years ago. He was buoyed by the availability of top-notch staff with whom he had worked at the Paramount Grill and other restaurants.There was a catch. Most of the workers he started with didn’t get it, Prosser says. “They couldn’t get used to a different way of doing things. Democracy can be frustrating.”
Fortunately, Prosser and his wife, Ann Murray, have found an ample supply of workers, many of them artists, who embrace the idea of becoming part of a worker-owned cooperative as he expanded Terranova and started Civilization restaurant, Prosser says.In addition to the 10 owners-workers, Civilization has 15 other workers, most of whom are interested in making the $1,000 commitment—which can be paid over time—to become owners, Murray says.Among those involved is Caroline Hines, one of the few original staff who has remained with the business. Hines, who manages the catering business, says being an owner makes people like their jobs better“It makes you responsible and aware of what needs to be done,” she says. “If I see that the plants need to be watered, I water them. If I see that the mat needs to be swept, I sweep it.”
"Local Sprouts' mission is to provide people in Maine with creative local and organic food and holistic learning through cooking food for our community. Local Sprouts is a new culinary and cultural organization that focuses on connecting people through sharing cooked food, mutual support, knowledge and developing local self-reliance."
In the not-too-distant past, North Carolina was a powerhouse in the textile and apparel industry. Unfortunately, trends toward outsourcing and a service-based U.S. economy have contributed to an overall decline in North Carolina’s textile and apparel industry, which has traditionally played a fundamental role in providing jobs and revenue for the state.
Enter Opportunity Threads. Founder Molly Hemstreet recognized the need for a new model of labor organizing in the South. Her idea was to take the pieces of this declining infrastructure that has long been a part of North Carolina history and to put the pieces back together in a more sustainable way.
Molly got in touch with worker-ownership pioneer Frank Adams and Maggie’s Functional Organics, a worker-owned sewing cooperative in Nicaragua, to work on the idea of bringing the model of worker-ownership back to the U.S., specifically to an area that has been hit by job loss in the apparel industry. The connection was then made to workers in Morganton, NC, a rural county with high unemployment but two critical resources: manufacturing mills and talented ex-apparel workers.
And so Opportunity Threads was born. Its principles? Dignity for workers, fair wages and worker-ownership, quality and sustainable production. The goal? Not only to recreate textile work in Southern Appalachia in order to change the lives of many workers, but also to build upon this industry by emphasizing fair trade and sustainability."
"When the new wave co-ops landed on the shores of economic reality, one common response was a return to the tried-and-true co-op model of member-owners and hierarchical management systems. However, a small and determined band of cooperators in Portland, Ore., disagreed with prevailing wisdom, and set out to develop a worker-managed and consumer-owned co-op model.
People’s Food Co-op, founded in 1970, went through many management system changes, from the general manager model to various iterations of worker collectives. We have had many near-death experiences due to mismanagement, ideological differences, and lack of funds. One defining moment for People’s came in 1991, when the store was struggling and the collective voted to close the doors. The board of directors fired the collective and hired a general manager and staff. Together, they developed tactics to improve People’s sales and management. The staff began working to return People’s to collective management, an approach that the board of directors finalized in 1993."
"Operating much like a worker’s cooperative, our services are not geared towards generating profit for an ownership structure, but rather we exist to provide meaningful and self-enabling employment for our members. We are a group of like-minded people working together to further our common goals of social equality, commitment to local communities, environmental awareness, and intellectual enrichment. Scribe Collective is a constituent unit of Modern Craft, a co-operative concept that merges residential and communal life with entrepreneurial and artistic ventures, committed to creating successful and replicable models for worker-owned corporations to combine effective management with the pursuit of positive social output."