The North American Worker Co-operative Conference

From October 11-15 in Quebec City, Canada, worker co-operators will be attending two exciting conferences. The first is the Business Succession and Employee Ownership Conference and the second is the first North American Worker Co-operative conference. People can learn more about both conferences at Congres International:

Here are the blurbs:

About this Event
In Canada, nearly 200,000 business owners will retire in the next ten years. This phenomenon will be comparable in the U.S. and Europe.
The unprecedented scale of this phenomenon means that many businesses are at risk of not finding individual buyers — or having only foreign competitors to sell to.
Business transfer to employees using the co-operative model appears increasingly to be a very promising option to maintain and develop locally owned businesses and employment in many places. “

For the first time, members of worker co-operatives from all regions of North America are invited to meet together and share their experiences. This event will bring together members of the US Federation of Worker Co-ops, the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation, and several worker co-op federations in Quebec.

“This Conference will provide an opportunity to:

  • Develop expertise by sharing best practices of management and governance with worker co-operators from Quebec, the rest of Canada and the U.S.
  • Learn from the experience of worker co-operators from various other countries: Spain, France, Italy, Argentina, who have been invited as guest presenters.
  • Show our solidarity in building a caring economy based on ownership and control of co-operative enterprises by their workers.

This continental solidarity among worker co-ops will be manifested publicly at this Conference by two major actions of North American worker co-op federations:

  • The creation of a North American association of cooperatives working with our collective voice in international forums for cooperation: “CICOPA-North America”. (CICOPA is the French acronym for the international Worker Co-op Federation, and this will be a sub-regional entity of CICOPA-Americas.)
  • The drafting of a joint declaration for 2012, the UN International Year of Co-operatives, which will set the out the public policy platform of the Federations.

These should be two very exciting conferences–I am still trying to figure out a way to get there, but if you have the ability you should go.

About John McNamara

John spent 26 years with Union Cab of Madison Cooperative and currently helps develop co-op in the Pacific Northwest. He holds a Masters in Management: Co-operatives and Credit Unions from Saint Mary's University and hopes to finish his Ph.D. in Business Administration soon. He has served on the board of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives and the Board of Governors for the Democracy at Work Network. He currently sits on the Co-op Circle and Mission Circle for Sociocracy for All. He teaches on worker co-operatives and democratic management in the summer at The Evergreen State College.
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