WORCS was founded in 2010 in the depth of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis by Dr. Lisabeth Ryder who is a lifelong labor activists and has been involved in the worker cooperative movement since the early 1970’s. Though worker cooperatives are not by any means new to America they were not particularly recognized by the American mainstream, being popular amongst certain religious groups, labor organizations in the 1800’s, counter cultural movements in 60’s and 70’s, and primarily America’s rural sector during the mid to late 20th century. With the overwhelming success of the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation in Spain as well as several examples around the world showcasing their economic triumphs as a viable and desirable economic alternative.
WORCS seeks to become a catalyst in the building of the cooperative sector by creating spaces where like minded people can meet, give introduction on what worker cooperatives are and why they are beneficial, help groups find institutions to get loans or methods of raising capital, give prospective worker owners access to professionals when complex decisions need to be made, and become offer services that will become vital in America’s economic transition into 21st century economy.
- Loaning Capital to Worker Cooperatives during the start up phase
- Loaning Capital to Worker Cooperatives who are in dire need of Capital Expenditures
- Working with cooperative professionals: trainers, lawyers, experts, etc. to get start up administrative and standards of procedures establish the easy way. Educating the Public on Worker Self Directed Enterprises Organizing Symposiums and panels of leading professionals
- Podcasts that go over relevant material
- Creating films that educate people about alternative economics
- Creating Animations to help explain what a worker cooperative is
- Create a worker matchmaking site possibly a phone app for workers who have skills and interests similar to each other to help facilitate worker cooperatives to develop. Bring Existing Worker Cooperatives to start new Cooperatives in new areas
- Help convert existing businesses into worker cooperatives Find organizations, local and national, that want to build a coalitions around achieving these objectives
- Create Worker Cooperative Online Magazine
- Create list of worker cooperatives or regular support services to assist their development and growth. Find people in Unions that have the sympathy toward worker cooperatives and resources to contribute to their development.
- Stack Board of Directors of Credit Unions to start making it easy for worker cooperatives to get loans.
- Discover grants and apply for them to help fund projects