Cooperative Alliances, Federations, and Networks
Revision as of 16:15, 6 February 2013 by Mjray (add ICA)
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Cooperative alliances and networks are groups of cooperatives that associate with one another for financial benefit and/or a common goal to advance cooperative interests within specific regions.
International Co-operative Alliance
The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) is the worldwide body for co-operatives, formed in 1895. Its members are mostly the regional and/or national bodies for co-operatives around the world, so its membership list can be a good way to find co-ops in a specific geographic area.
United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives
The United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives was founded in 2004 to serve as the umbrella federation for Worker co-ops and other democratic workplaces in the country. Its stated mission is “to create stable and empowering jobs and worker-ownership through the development of a thriving cooperative movement. We advance worker-owned, -managed, and -governed workplaces through cooperative education, advocacy and development.”
Examples of Local Cooperative Networks and Alliances
In California, the Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives (NoBAWC) “is a grassroots organization of democratic workplaces dedicated to building workplace democracy in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.” This organization offers support to its member cooperatives, develops new worker co-ops, and generally promotes co-op enterprises throughout the region.
Western Massachusetts is the home to the Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives (VAWC). Since 2007, this alliance has primarily existed as a loose network of nearly twenty co-ops and allied organizations. Recently, VAWC has begun to evaluate alternative methods of organization in order to evolve into a more formalized association.
Another examples include the recently launched Neighboring Food Co-op Association, which is "a network of food co-ops committed to a shared vision of a thriving regional economy, rooted in a healthy, just and sustainable food system and collaboration among co-ops."
Non-Geographical Based Networks
The long established Cooperative Grocers' Information Network's mission is to serve "all retail food cooperatives by creating community and promoting the sharing and development of resources among members."
- The Portland Association of Worker Cooperatives (Portland, OR). They do not currently have a website.
- The Federation of Southern Cooperatives. The membership of this organization is primarily comprised of agricultural cooperatives and credit unions. Website: http://www.federationsoutherncoop.com/index.html
- The Data Commons Project. If there is no regional worker cooperative network to hook-up with in your area, you may find this on-line directory of North American worker cooperatives a helpful means for finding like-minded social entrepreneurs.
- The Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy. A non-profit organization, which is managed cooperatively, that was created to assist in the ongoing cultivation of the workplace democracy and worker cooperative movements. The conference takes place every two years.
- The Western Worker Cooperative Conference holds conferences on alternating years. The Western conference comes on the odd-numbered years. Website here: http://www.west.usworker.coop/
- The National Cooperative Business Association is the U.S. trade association for all types of cooperatives. Website here: http://ncba.coop
- The North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO). NACO's membership is comprised mostly of housing cooperatives. However, its membership is growing in other sectors, and it is giving increasing attention to worker co-ops. NASCO holds a yearly institute in Ann Arbor, MI during November. Website: http://www.nasco.coop/
- The National Society of Accountants for Cooperatives. Website: http://www.nsacoop.org/
- The Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute is a resource center that is affiliated with three big home-based healthcare worker co-ops in the Northeast United States. Website here: http://www.paraprofessional.org/Sections/wedu.htm
- The ICA Group is a nationwide provider of technical assistance to worker co-ops as well as ESOPs. Website: http://www.ica-group.org/
These are spotlighted conversations from this page's Discussion Area.
- What are the benefits of local cooperative alliances to co-ops, their members, and their communities?
- What are some of the major hurdles to establishing local cooperative alliances and associations? What can be done to overcome these difficulties?