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Join worker cooperators in Cuba this November!

We’re headed to Cuba!

The US Federation of Worker Cooperatives and Democracy at Work Institute are partnering with ethical travel company AltruVistas to provide a six-day exchange between Cuban and U.S. cooperative leaders from Monday November 27 through Saturday December 2, 2017. This is an amazing opportunity to discover the Cuban cooperative movement alongside your peers from Cuba and the U.S. while fully immersed in the rich culture and arts of Cuba.

We aim to notify applicants by September 25th. Preference will be given to applications submitted by September 20th.

Learn more and apply for the trip here.

Learn More
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Car washers celebrate their car wash business in South Los Angeles After the owner closed the company from one day to another, 13 workers were organized and re-registered the service as a cooperative

http://laopinion.com/2017/02/22/carwasheros-celebran-su-negocio-de-lavado-de-autos-en-el-sur-de-los-angeles/

Car washers celebrate their car wash business in South Los Angeles

The owners of the Vermont Gage Carwash celebrate the anniversary of their joint entrepreneurial initiative.PHOTO: AURELIA VENTURA / THE OPINION
BY:JACQUELINE GARCÍAFEBRUARY 22, 2017

After a battle to get unionized, the Vermont Gage Car Wash was one of 16 businesses that did it in 2014. But before enjoying the benefits of the union, the workers had to face a crisis.

Miguel Cruz was one of the 13 unionized workers of the car wash who already enjoyed worker protections. In 2015, the 31-year-old Mexican, who lived near work, saw one night that they were getting things out of business.

" The owner closed the business without telling us anything, " recalls Cruz.

The next day the employees came to work and the car wash service did not open nor did the owner appear.

"We were waiting three days for answers and for our check and she told us that she had already given it to the union," said Cruz, saying it was a lie.

02/22/17 / LOS ANGELES / Car washer Miguel Cruz joined coworkers and owners from Vermont Gage Carwash to celebrate their anniversary and their union. The celebration included music from Los Jorneros del Norte, vendors, merchandise from other local cooperatives, to celebrate the hard working spirit of this unique group of car washeros. (Photo Aurelia Ventura / La Opinion)Miguel Cruz at the Vermont Gage Carwash Anniversary Celebration (Photo: Aurelia Ventura / La Opinión)

They form a cooperative

The disappointment of losing their job, instead of cowing them, strengthened the 13 workers who decided to start the business themselves . With the help of their union United Steelworkers Local 675 and the Los Angeles Union Cooperative (LUCI) they began to raise funds.

The group registered the business again but this time as a workers’ cooperative . In this case the business is controlled by the workers who have invested some money. The profits of the business are equitable and the board of directors of the cooperative is in charge of voting in the decisions. Workers continue to benefit from their union and LUCI advises them on business development.

Union representative Manuel Ramirez said United Steelworkers Local 675 represents about 30 car wash businesses ranging from San Diego to Pasadena.

" We strive for workers to have safe drinking water, on-time breaks, overtime paid, contracts with a percentage above the minimum wage, and we also negotiate holidays and get paid for sick days that they do not use ," Ramirez said.

Most important, in this case, is that workers now feel they have a voice and feel they are being heard, the representative added.

02/22/17 / LOS ANGELES / Vermont Gage Carwash worker owners celebrate with the community their anniversary and their union contract. The celebration included music from Los Jorneros del Norte, vendors, merchandise from other local cooperatives, to celebrate the hard working spirit of this unique group of car washeros. (Photo Aurelia Ventura / La Opinion)The 13 workers who decided to join and form a cooperative celebrate the anniversary of their business (Photo: Aurelia Ventura / La Opinión)

Happy employees

José Manuel Zúñiga, 56 and part of the group of 13 carwashers that make up the cooperative said that when he saw the strength of his colleagues to fight for the business he decided to join. Zuniga had a little fear of losing his job, but he did not lose faith.

" I am happy to be part of this group because now I know it is a very strong obligation ," he added.

Rusty Hicks, executive director of the Los Angeles County Labor Federation (AFL-CIO), who was present at the car wash celebration said that this group of employees is a role model.

02/22/17 / LOS ANGELES / Vermont Gage Carwash worker owners celebrate with the community their anniversary and their union contract. The celebration included music from Los Jorneros del Norte, vendors, merchandise from other local cooperatives, to celebrate the hard working spirit of this unique group of car washeros. (Photo Aurelia Ventura / La Opinion)The community participated in the celebration, which included music by Los Jorneros del Norte among other attractions (Photo: Aurelia Ventura / La Opinión)

" The fight for workers to have a better life began in this same place four or five years ago and now we are back where the employees have advanced and they have shown us that if you want something done right you have to do it yourself " , Hicks said congratulating them on having the courage to continue the business under his command.

San Diego Legal Workshop on Worker Cooperatives

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Please come join us and distribute this invitation widely

We would like to invite you to our Grand Opening Event for the Vermont Gage Carwash which is now owned by the workers. The event will be at 2:30 PM on February 22 at the carwash: 6219 S Vermont Ave Los Angeles CA 90034. We will have speakers for the Clean Carwash Campaign and city/county elected officials, along with the workers and unions involved. Music, vendors, other cooperatives with also be there. http://www.luci.coop

https://www.facebook.com/events/1321429297909365/?ti=as

Vermont Gage Carwash Cooperative Grand Opening Event

https://www.facebook.com/events/1321429297909365/?ti=as

The carwash that made history by being the first unionized carwash has made history again by becoming the first worker cooperative carwash. Come join us to celebrate this victory for working people.

In Solidarity,
Liz Ryder

lisryder
liz

510-326-2644

"Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed citizens to change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has." –Margaret Mead"

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TED Talk about LUCI: Los Angeles Union Cooperative Initiative

nikiokukted

LUCI Member , Niki Okuk, gives a TED talk at TEDx Crenshaw October 2016.  Today it was released to the public.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3h9I4vcX00

Niki Okuk

Title/Occupation: Worker – Owner, LA Union Cooperative Initiative

Bio: Niki grew up in Los Angeles attending Audobon Middle School, High School in Oakland, CA, community college in San Francisco, later majoring in Economics at Columbia University in New York. After working in development with the office of Joseph Stiglitz, and working in finance in Korea and Singapore. Niki completed her MBA with Nanyang University in Singapore, including a sustainability certificate at Sloan School of Business at MIT. She has has since returned to Los Angeles to build democratic and sustainable businesses, co-founding Rco Tires, a tire recycling and manufacturing company in Compton.

 

Title of Talk: Business/Entrepreneurship

How does this fit in with our theme: This years TedxCrenshaw is about taking stock and getting a clear view of our community’s strengths and weaknesses. Our economy is owned by people that do not live in our communities, such as stock market investors and CEO’s of major corporations. Corporate employment pushes down wages and externalizes cost to achieve ever increasing profits.  Those profits go out of our community to share holders and CEO’s that live all around the world, robbing our local tax pool as well as impoverishing our workers.  Corporate employment is pumping wealth out of our communities.   To affect real change to the social problems in our communities, we need a fundamental shift in the business paradigm.

 

Quoted from TEDxCrenshaw: http://www.tedxcrenshaw.com/speaks/niki-okuk/

Vermont Gage Carwash Cooperative Launch Event

The carwash that made history by being the first unionized carwash has made history again by becoming the first worker cooperative carwash.  Come join us to celebrate this victory for working people.
Speakers will include:
Clean Carwash Campaign
Carwasheros
Dave Campbell USW675

1Worker:1Vote Union Co-op Newsletter

national network of unionized worker-owned cooperative businesses
View this email in your browser
1worker1vote.org and Mondragon International North America are building a national network of unionized worker-owned cooperative businesses to overcome inequality of opportunity, mobility, and income.
Congratulations to two union co-ops making news recently!

Workers OK first contract, making Wedge first union co-op in Minnesota – "Workers at the Wedge voted Tuesday [April 5th] to ratify their first union contract, making the Minneapolis grocer the state’s first unionized co-op.

"Wedge Community Co-op workers voted last November to join United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1189, seeking higher wages, an equitable process for dealing with management and a voice in decisions that affect the co-op’s culture and working environment.

"In negotiations described by Local 1189 as ‘fairly smooth,’ Wedge workers made real progress on those issues. Read the article from the Union Advocate."

In March, Green Taxi Co-op received authority to operate the newest Taxi Co-Op in Colorado – that’s 800 new owner drivers! And, congrats to those at the CWA Local 7777 who played a big role in helping organize these worker owners! Read more about Green Taxi Co-op in Yes! Magazine.

Help us build a 21st Century Labor Movement!

As we prepare for CommonBound in July…We want to hear from you! Are you working to create a new vision for worker justice and organizing? Have you invested in new models that worked? Have you taken risks that failed, but taught you valuable lessons in how the labor movement can and should be innovating right now?

View CommonBound Track: "Building a 21st Century Labor Movement" for more, including how to contact us.

Upcoming Events

April 8-10: North American Forum on the Social Solidarity Economy Forum, Detroit, MI

April 14-15: Activating Markets for Social Change, Los Angeles, CA

April 22: The Cooperative Economy: Building a Sustainable Future, Cincinnati, OH

June 6: Good Jobs, Green Jobs 2016, Cleveland, OH

July 8-10: CommonBound 2016, Buffalo, NY

Visit our Events Calendar to see where we’ll be speaking and visiting! If you’d like to invite us to an event, please send us a note.

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Tune in!

This week, Peter Block and John McKnight of the Abundant Community spoke with two our our co-founders, Michael Peck and Kristen Barker, about how co-operatives are emerging as powerful forces of change and the role citizen-workers have in bringing new opportunities and family-sustaining jobs to local neighborhoods. Listen to their conversation.

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Get your own 1worker1vote.org t-shirt produced by a USW union co-op! $20 each.
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Register Today for the Worker Cooperative National Conference!

REGISTRATION IS OPEN

Every two years we come together for one weekend, to build a new economy based on shared ownership and real democracy. Our keynote this year is from the organization Define American, Jose Antonio Vargas, and we are thrilled to announce that registration is live!

Who should come?
The Worker Cooperative National Conference is for coop members, developers, technical assistance providers, lenders, social movement partners, and interested community members. It’s a great opportunity for your coop or organization to orient new folks to our community and learn from successful cooperatives.

What will happen?
We will have workshops and speakers, tours, parties and special intensive sessions. Our conferences are a little bit legendary.

You will build skills and share knowledge to strengthen your worker cooperative. You will develop strategy and collaborate to build our movement. You will make friends with worker-owners, make plans with coop developers, and make common cause with community allies. Learn, teach, grow, brainstorm, scheme, laugh, dance, and leave inspired!

We have early bird prices and a 15% discount available for group registrations of four or more individuals from the same company. Scholarships and a community rate are available on a limited basis.

Buy Now
Interested in having your name in lights as a sponsor? Contact Roodline Volcy at rvolcy for packages designed to meet your needs and budget.
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Copyright © 2016 Democracy at Work Institute, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you have interest in our National Conference

Our mailing address is:
Democracy at Work Institute1904 Franklin St., Suite 400
Oakland, CA 94612

www.institute.coop

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