What is Cooperation DC?

This Sunday May 15th at 2pm join us at Shaw Library (1630 7th Street NW) to learn how you can get involved with Cooperation DC!

Cooperation DC’s mission is to expand dignified employment opportunities in low-income communities of color through the development of worker cooperatives, businesses owned and managed democratically by their workers.

Our vision is a city and world where all workers – especially those of us who have been most marginalized by our current economy – reap the benefits of our labor, have a meaningful voice in the workplace, and apply those democratic practices to other areas of our civic lives.

Come find out what’s happening this year with Cooperation DC and how you can get involved! At the meeting you’ll have the opportunity to join one of the following Cooperation DC working groups:

CHILDCARE: support the development of an emerging childcare cooperative in NW.
FOOD: Get involved with the planning of the First Annual East of the River Food Justice Conference. Support emerging food coops in ward 7 and 8.
POPULAR EDUCATION: Help plan and continue our popular wisdom circle series and other community learning sessions.
ORG DEVELOPMENT: Do you have website, graphic design or social media skills? This is the working group for you!

We’ll also discuss the process of creating a new working group. Feel free to invite a friend or neighbor and we look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Cooperation DC Meeting
Sunday May 15, 2016
Shaw Library (Community Room, Lower Level)
1630 7th Street NW

Green line to Shaw/Howard Metro
Street parking available

If you have any questions please email dcworkercoops@gmail.com or contact (202) 957- 4987.

in unity,
Cooperation DC

COO of NCBA International Programs on Everything Co-op

In celebration of NCBA’s 100th Anniversary, this week Vernon interviews Amy Coughenour Betancourt, COO of International Programs at the National Cooperative Business Association |CLUSA. Vernon and Amy will discuss NCBA CLUSA as a whole, and the International side of (NCBA CLUSA).    
Amy Coughenour Betancourt manages a $250 million international portfolio being implemented in 20 countries in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America in the areas of food security and nutrition, natural resources management, resilience, youth livelihoods, and cooperative development, among others. She has successfully led and grown domestic and international development non-governmental organizations for 25 years.

Prior to joining NCBA CLUSA, Coughenour served for nine years as the Deputy Director of the Pan American Development Foundation. She serves on the board of the Overseas Cooperative Development Council and the Executive Committee of the International Cooperative Alliance-Americas Region; and holds an M.A. in International Policy Studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a B.A. in German from Central College in Pella, Iowa.

To listen live online Click Here!
or Click Here! to Listen on your cell phone with Tune-in Radio

Jessica Gordon Nembhard into the Cooperative Hall of Fame

On May 4, 2016, USFWC co-founder Jessica Gordon Nembhard will be inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame. Author of Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice, tireless scholar-activist, co-founder of ECWD, active member of GEO, and a mentor to so, so many of us. If you are in a worker cooperative in 2016, you have benefited from Jessica’s efforts!

Her work is groundbreaking, and her vision and principled leadership have positioned worker co-ops as tools for economic and racial justice in the 21st century.

This is a big moment for the Hall of Fame, honoring the centrality of racial justice in cooperatives, the role of public scholarship, and the momentum built by the worker cooperative sector.

Retired Executive Director of the Mississippi Center for Cooperative Development on Everything Co-op

This week Vernon interviews Melbah McAfee Smith, Retired Executive Director of the Mississippi Center for Cooperative Development, and a 2009 inductee into the Cooperative Hall of Fame. Vernon and Melbah will discuss challenges and opportunities for co-op development in African-American communities, and how the cooperative model can be used to address societal problems in many communities today.

Melbah worked for nearly 40 years as a trusted co-op developer in some of the most impoverished areas of the country. She started her career with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, returning to her home state to lead the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives and the Mississippi Cooperative Development Center. Her visionary leadership and hands-on, grassroots approach to building communities have helped bring health care, economic development, and social justice to people in need through the cooperative model.

Don’t miss this opportunity to witness a true legend. Watch Ms. Smith’s Hall of Fame induction video, highlighting her extensive career in the cooperative movement below:

To listen live online Click Here!
or Click Here! to Listen on your cell phone with Tune-in Radio

Challenges & Opportunities for Co-op Development in African American Communities

Join USDA as Melbah Smith, a 2009 inductee into the Cooperative Hall of Fame, reflects on her 40 years of developing co-ops in African-American communities across rural Mississippi, Alabama, and the Deep South.  Melbah started her career with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, returning to her home state to lead the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives and the Mississippi Cooperative Development Center.  Over the years Melbah helped organize more than 25 co-ops and built a financial support network that includes state agencies and private funding sources.  Melbah was instrumental in the creation of Cooperation Works, a national network of co-op development centers and practitioners.
During the webinar Melbah will share insights into organizing co-ops in some of the poorest rural areas of the country.  She will discuss challenges and opportunities for co-op development in African-American communities.  Always the visionary, Melbah will also speak about future possibilities for co-op development.  Vernita Dore, Deputy Under Secretary of USDA Rural Development, will introduce our speaker.
When: Thursday, February 25, 2016 2:00 – 3:00 pm EST
Dial: (866) 900-7448; conference ID:  56312583

If possible, please use your computer’s audio and “chat” feature instead of phone lines.

P.S. You can listen to the event here:

Web Link:  http://cc.readytalk.com/play?id=707n05

Here’s the link to access the MP4 file:


United Automobile Workers President Emeritus on Everything Co-op

Tune-in to WOL 1450 AM Thursday at 10:30am, for Everything Co-op. This week Vernon interviews Bob King, President Emeritus, United Automobile  Workers, (UAW). Vernon and Bob will discuss his experience with 1worker1vote, and CB2E; and his involvement in the cooperative movement.

Bob King retired from the United Automobile Workers in June 2014, after completing a four-year term as president of the union. Prior to his term as President, King served three terms as vice president. In his last term as vice president, he directed the Ford, Severstal, and Competitive Shops/Independents, Parts and Suppliers Departments. King was first elected as a UAW vice president in 1998, and assigned to lead the union’s National Organizing Department. During King’s leadership the National Organizing Department assisted more than 80,000 workers in their efforts to join the UAW.

Known for his activism and passionate belief in social and economic justice, since retiring, King has remained very active in social justice causes in his community and globally. He was a visiting researcher at the University of California, Berkeley for the spring 2015 semester, and co-taught a seminar for both undergraduate and graduate students on “Labor and the Global Economy.” He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the 1Worker 1Vote organization, which is a joint effort of the United Steelworkers and Mondragon Corporation, to create and support worker cooperatives in the United States. King also serves on the board of CB2E, a Detroit organization also dedicated to creating and maintaining worker cooperatives locally.

To listen live online Click Here!

or Click Here! to Listen on your cell phone with Tune-in Radio

How To Convert a Business into a Worker-owned Cooperative

Cooperatives represent a growing segment of the economy with an estimated 30,000 enterprises and 100 million members in the U.S. alone. A great way to bring democracy into the workplace, coops can be built from scratch, but they can also be created by converting existing businesses into worker-owned cooperatives. For retiring business owners as well as entrepreneurs, selling a business to employees is a way to strengthen the business while getting a return on investment.

Melissa Hoover, executive director of the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI), says that coop conversions are one of the most promising sources of new cooperatives as they already have customers, assets and employees, which makes it less risky than a startup. She also notes that those coops created from conversions are among the most passionate members of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives.

Read more here.