Cooperation in Childcare

Last month researchers, developers, academics, and cooperators got together to discuss the following question: how can we use success stories to build out childcare cooperatives as a solution to the problems in NYC? The convening centered around a report done by the Federation of Protestant Welfare Communities, the Democracy at Work Institute, and the ICA Group. According to this research, 52% of low income families in NYC are in need of subsidized childcare, and only 1 out of every 4 of these families are actually accessing these programs (the most common of which are Early Learn, Universal Pre K, Head Start, and Family Child Care).   The problem? Some of these programs are seasonal; for example, Universal Pre K only runs until June. Costs remain between $16,000 and $21,00 per year per child; with inadequate government reimbursement, many New Yorkers (including childcare workers themselves) cannot afford childcare High worker turnover (25%-50%) in an industry that is part time for most workers Low wages, with the average childcare worker making $12 an hour in NYC, combined with lack of benefits Inadequate […]

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LGBTQ Accessibility in Co-ops

Just last month, worker-owners from Sunset Scholars Tutoring Cooperative and Trusty Amigos Dogwalking Cooperative held a workshop on LGBTQ competency for worker-owners and allies. A representative from the NYC Commission on Human Rights came to meet the following goals: Increase cultural competency so that co-ops can work professionally with members of the LGBTQ community, including both clients and members Build awareness within cooperatives so that they can be more open, welcoming, and safe spaces Help members understand the difference between ‘gender’ and ‘sexuality’ Support members in practicing how to effectively communicate with/about LGBTQ issues The workshop contained detailed and shocking statistics, increasing awareness around the disparate wages earned, education accessed, and promotions received amongst queer-identified workers, especially people who identify as transgender and gender non-conforming. Participants shared stories, strategies, and questions in a lively and important conversation. Given that queer- and trans- identified individuals are actively shut out of our current economic system, it is especially important that cooperatives—which have the potential to provide necessary access to dignified workplaces for so many marginalized communities—push conversations about LGBTQ inclusion forward. Further, […]

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CEANYC Stands for Climate Justice

Five years ago, Superstorm Sandy blasted our city, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless. As a result, communities—primarily those comprised of low income New Yorkers of color—were devastated. As we saw in Sandy and Katrina, and have seen again with Irma, Maria, and Harvey, institutional support fails to keep our cities safe and rebuild the lives of those on the frontlines. Cooperatives—like housing cooperatives and community land trusts, food cooperatives, worker-owned cooperatives, community gardens, and housing cooperatives—on the other hand, have a history of immense resilience and support. It is community-owned and community-governed land and property that will provide people (us) necessary relief in the wake of disaster We know that climate change makes storms like Sandy more violent and intense, and we know that fossil fuels and an economy rooted in extraction and environmental racism are to blame. Disasters like Sandy will get worse as long as our elected officials keep supporting profit over people, whether it happens through fossil fuel extraction or luxury development on our city’s waterfront, and our most vulnerable communities will be the ones […]

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Snapshot: Rachel Isreeli

Worker Cooperative Developer at the Center for Family Life in Sunset Park Cooperative Development Program How did you first get into this work? I came into the world of cooperativism having worked primarily at the intersection of gender, labor and sexuality. Every aspect of our lives here, in the context where most of us reading this live, is controlled by gender. We are controlled by race. There are historical and creative constructions of extractive patterns, binaries, expectations, narratives that very efficiently serve the ruling class. Unlearning is a critical struggle. Through cooperative work, I hope we can unlearn the limiting stories we’ve been told about ourselves in the effort to create cultures both internal and external to the organization that challenge the sexist racist status quo. It is very hard to avoid replicating deeply embedded oppressive systems. It doesn’t always happen, but we continue learning and growing in our effort to try. What does ‘Solidarity Economy’ mean to you? A solidarity economy recognizes everyone’s humanity in the struggle to build community. On an interpersonal level, solidarity requires recognizing everyone’s needs, […]

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Disaster Relief

In the wake of Hurricanes Irma, Maria, and Harvey, we have seen that institutional and government responses consistently fail to meet the needs of those most directly impacted by climate disaster. Cooperatives, on the other hand, have a history of providing much-needed support and infrastructure in the wake of climate disaster. The folks who make up the solidarity economy in New York City come from communities hardest hit by climate change and thus are often sites of regeneration and climate innovation. We are accustomed to listening and meeting real, rather than imposed or cultivated needs. After Hurricane Sandy hit, worker-owned cooperatives were developed to put the neighborhoods most affected back together. It is no surprise, then, that our members are moving resources into on-the-ground, grassroots-led forms of relief in Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Texas. Check out where Caracol Language Coop is sending donations, support community-driven and highly localized relief efforts for Hurricane Maria and Irma, and give to cooperatives putting in immense work to uplift devastated communities in Texas.

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