On July 11, a couple dozen New Yorkers gathered at Starr Bar to enjoy some rice and beans, reasonably priced beers, and more importantly, to learn about the New York City Network of Worker Cooperatives new training series they are launching in partnership with the Murphy Institute.
This information session was the first convening of multiple to support New Yorkers looking to take ownership of their work and create democratic work environments. NYC NoWC’s Tammy Shapiro started by asking the attendees to pair up and explain to each other their relationship with ‘work.’ Unsurprisingly, the crowd responded with things like ‘not being able to avoid sick days’ or ‘having to do whatever my boss tells me for fear of losing my job.’ The alternative the group was looking for? Worker-owner cooperatives!
After walking everybody through some powerful statistics—like the fact that women and people of color comprise the vast majority of worker-owners in New York City—as well as an overview of logistics (what type of support cooperatives need and what New York has to offer in terms of technical assistance), attendees were given the space to ask questions and network with each other. Folks were there looking to start composting or beekeeping cooperatives, to find democracy and ownership after working years in top-down and exploitative fields, and to connect with likeminded New Yorkers.
The following sessions of the training series will cover ‘A People’s Guide to Building the New Economy’ and ‘Business Model Canvas for Worker Cooperatives’ (both held at Mayday Space) culminating in a weekend-long September intensive. While groups may not come out of the series with a full-fledged worker cooperative, they will be well on their way… and have a network of people supporting them!
For more information on the training series or how to sign up, click here!