BAKERS: Wanna make a LIVING WAGE for a change? (Arlington)

Arlington CoopIf you’re passionate about baking and interested in making an actual living wage, too, let’s talk.

I’m looking for co-founders for a worker-owned co-op bakery in Arlington.

What is a worker-owned co-op? In a nutshell, everyone who works there is also an owner. Shared responsibilities and shared profits. We work together, are treated equally, produce some awesome products that people want to buy, and pay ourselves a living wage.

Most baking jobs in this area pay around $10 an hour. How are you supposed to live on that? In one co-op bakery in California, the average hourly rate is $24 an hour plus benefits like health insurance and paid vacation.* We can do that here.

The co-op doesn’t exist yet–we’re going to create it.

What it looks like will depend on the group’s decisions. If you’re interested in finding out more about this, check out the website:

There you’ll find more information about co-ops, about my initial vision, and a quick form to fill out to share your level of interest and experience. Once we have enough people on board to have a meaningful conversation, we’ll plan to meet and talk about next steps.

*Read about Arizmendi co-op bakeries here:

Linda Leaks on WOL Thursday

Tune in to WOL 1450 AM on Thursday, August 28, at 10:30 a.m. for Everything Coop, hosted by Vernon Oakes. This week Vernon interviews Linda Leaks, Cooperative Advocate and founder of the Justice Advocacy Alliance.
Ms. Leaks has over 27 years of experience in community organizing, cooperative development, community based economic development and is a Registered Cooperative Manager. She also is the founder of the Justice Advocacy Alliance (JAA). 

Prior to establishing the Alliance she worked in several capacities:

  • As an Outreach Coordinator for the National Low Income Housing Coalition, to coordinate the congressional advocacy of low income housing activists 
  • As a Community Organizer, to Establish tenant associations
  • As a Housing Cooperative Education and Training Coordinator, developing, training, planning and implementing curriculum for housing cooperative members

Ms. Leaks is also the Co-founder of the District of Columbia Grassroots Empowerment Project (Empower DC), However she credits herself as a life-long Cooperative Advocate, who has focused on creating affordable housing for all.

Vernon Oakes is President of Oakes Management Inc. As President, he has renovated and managed his own properties, and those owned by other entities since 1985. This former coordinator of the MBA program at Howard University, and MBA graduate of Stanford University, has used his business acumen to benefit the community by providing quality housing for all populations and being a consummate advocate for cooperatives.          

Don’t miss this opportunity join what promises to be a lively informative conversation. If you missed last week’s interview with John Zippert Click Here!

To listen Thursday’s show live online Click Here! 

Federation of Southern Cooperatives today at 10:30am

Tune in to WOL 1450 AM on Thursday, August 21, at 10:30 a.m. for Everything Coop, hosted by Vernon Oakes. This week Vernon interviews John Zippert, Director of Program Operations for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund. Click here to listen.

John Zippert has over 45 years experience in community organizing, cooperative and credit union development, community based economic development and rural development in distressed communities. Prior to working for the Federation, he was a fieldworker for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in Louisiana. He has a BA degree in history from the City College of New York; and has received extensive training in rural development.

Zippert has worked with the Federation on the development of affordable housing for low income people in Alabama, including development, loan packaging and construction of over 250 units of single family housing, self-help housing and four rural multi-family projects with 126 units. He also serves on the boards of many regional and national organizations to support rural development activities.

Zippert and his wife Carol are co-publishers of the Greene County Democrat, the weekly newspaper in their home rural community. They have published the newspaper since it was acquired in December 1984 by a community group in the county. The Zippert’s have three children and 11 grandchildren.

Vernon Oakes is President of Oakes Management Inc. As President, he has renovated and managed his own properties, and those owned by other entities since 1985. This former coordinator of the MBA program at Howard University, and MBA graduate of Stanford University, has used his business acumen to benefit the community by providing quality housing for all populations and being a consummate advocate for cooperatives.

Updates on Jackson Rising?

Once home to some of the most violent racists in the U.S., Jackson, Mississippi is now a key training ground for self-determination and organized “people power” throughout the U.S. South. From May 2 through May 4, 2014 activists, organizers and fellow revolutionaries from all over the world gathered at the Jackson Rising: New Economies Conference at Jackson State University. An estimated 500 people participated in some or all of the conference. Read more

Does anyone else have updates on what is happening in the cooperative movement in Jackson, MS?

Save the date: a visit from US Federation of Worker Co-ops Membership & Advocacy Director – Friday, Aug. 15

We have a place and a time to get together with Amy Johnson, Membership & Advocacy Director for USFWC:

Friday, August 15th, at Red Emma’s, 30 W North Ave in Baltimore – from 4pm-5pm in the Red Emma’s meeting room, with the possibility of carrying on the conversation over dinner/drinks in the Emma’s main space after 5.

For anyone coming from DC, Red Emma’s is very near Penn Station, so the MARC train may be a good option!

Purpose USFWC / Democracy at Work Institute Visit:

The purpose of the workplace visits is to learn more about worker cooperative needs on two fronts:

(1) new/improved benefits and services the USFWC can develop for members
(cost-saving discounts, 401k plan, group purchasing discounts, preferred
vendor discounts, and looking for your ideas!)

(2) needs worker coops have re: tools, best practices, standards, etc that
the Democracy at Work Institute can develop. Whether this is around
governance, new member onboarding, peer accountability & evaluation, other
HR needs, succession planning, financial planning, financial accounting,
etc…. whatever the challenges may be the business is facing, how can the
Institute develop tools/resources/templates and services to meet your

And she also has two written draft documents for member review:

(A) a draft definition of ‘Worker Cooperative’ that the Institute is
looking for member feedback (as mentioned at the Member Meeting in

(B) The Democracy at Work Institute’s working strategy for its first two
years of operation and seeking feedback on that (members agree with
strategy? disagree? have other ideas?)

See you there!

DC’s “anti-profit worker-run community film co-op”

Back around 1975 in DC, the Magic Lantern Cinema began and ran for at least six years. Here is a 1981 article discussing the lessons learned about this kind of film co-op:

“Radio City Music Hall it ain’t,” is how the Washington Star described the Magic Lantern Cinema. “An anti-profit worker-run community film co-op” was the first formulation that Magic Lantern organizers came up with for themselves back in the fall of 1975. Lately, the catchword has become “DC’s alternative film theater” — more vague but also more accurate. During its first five years, Magic Lantern has gone through a number of changes — in philosophy, politics, personnel and program. The general goals, however, have remained fairly constant. We seek to provide a showplace for independent and political films that do not receive theatrical distribution, and to do so in a setting that is “more than a movie house” and that supports and contributes to political education and activity in and around Washington, DC…

Five years ago, Washington DC’s worker-run cooperative community was still strong — a network of food coops, “anti-profit” bookstores, record stores, print shops, plant stores, etc.. At that time, two former film programmers at Catholic University who had become part of the network (one working at a food coop, Glut, and the other at the record shop, Bread and Roses) decided to set up an ongoing film series. Bread and Roses (bankrupted just twelve months ago by slumping sales and a whopping back tax bill) provided $100 as a loan for an experimental film series.

To read further:

Coop Housing Training

The next Mi Casa Coop Leadership Academy training will be held on Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 10 am – 12 pm at 2427 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE (Thurgood Marshall Academy). The topic is Coop Structure and Documents. We ask that Coop members bring their Coop Bylaws and House Rules. We will be reviewing them as we go over meeting structure, Robert’s Rules of Order, quorum, and exercises.
We will also set aside 15-20 minutes to talk about the September Coop Clinic and get your feedback on topics, exercises, or activities you would like to see incorporated into the day.
Should you need transportation, please let us know.
Attached is the English and Spanish flyer.
Have a great day!
Mi Casa Inc
Twitter: @MiCasaIncDC