Workers Co-op Alliance Meeting                                                                                              Meeting # 002

Kitchen, Comfort Station, Finance, Organization, Printing                                              Dec. 2, 2011


Facilitation: Shan

Notes: Sparro

Stack: Ben


This meeting was a continuation of Wednesday Nov 30, 2011 Meeting.



-Structure and Organization of Modified Workers Co-op Model

-Self-Employment Presentation

-Presentation of Flow Chart

-What to do, or not do about the 6K

-5 Minute Action Point Session


_ 5 minutes for each topic, additional time for topic based on consensus


  1. Structure and Organization of A Modified Workers Co-op Model

-Worker-Owned Co-ops can have a variety of legal structures. It is a model that is owned and managed by workers


*Facilitation decided to dovetail the next discussion in into section 1


  1. Self-Employment Presentation

Benedict: Leaf-letting is a low-overhead way to generate income.


  1. Presentation of Flow Chart

Pete: *Diagrams how the money flows between the affinity groups, OWS, donors, and working groups*

Working groups receive money from GA through proposals; they do not typically receive funding from direct donors. Affinity groups are the exception; they cannot function with existing restrictions on funding, such as earmarking and payment of services. They work directly with donors to provide services for OWS.


The co-op model is democratic. It is fair, equitable and sustainable. It can provide for job training to occupiers, and empower them to be autonomous.


Shianne: *Agrees with clarification on affinity group.* Establish clarification between a business/affinity group and OWS.


Merlisa: We cannot give a guarantee that we will only purchase goods and services from working groups.


Needs to be a system where working groups vouch for affinity co-op groups, so donors know they are supporting the movement.


Perhaps we put forth a proposal where GA will favor co-operatively owned businesses.


Shan: We are a low-key service organization. What are the basic principles for employing the model without being a direct democracr experiment? We suggest that groups piloting this model are legal, better coordinate intergroup processes, Create a separate governing body for project; specifically working towards promoting the principles of OWS.


Dale: Feel relationship has already been established


Gilbert: My vision for creating an individual economic base for the people matched the flow chart. There are people with skills already we can get these people employed. Some people’s skills require the use of workspace.


Pete: Nervousness about contracts. Contracts are necessary to be functional businesses. There is strength and opportunity in affiliation.


Sergio- The connection btw OWS and Affinity Groups already exists. For example, the deal between Outreach and Big Apple Printing; there is no contract, but there is a commitment.


Shan: This is an open pilot. We don’t know if it works until we try. The market failed us so we are creating something new.


4. What To Do Or Not Do With The 6k

*Facilitation made time keeping decision*


Dale: I don’t understand this. We could have gotten the 6k from Wellness Workers World, but we wanted the connectivity to the GA.


Shianne: Workers World feels there are two options. 1.) Take the 6k and begin operation, but that seems to violate some sort of norm. 2.) Give the money back in a supportive way. The money is irrelevant, how can we create a sustainable job creation model using co-ops.


Merlisa: Here is the problem with using the 6k 1.)Legal Passthrough 2.) Political Climate 3.) Effect on other groups working on the same issue 5.) Let’s build it better 6.) Get GA endorsement.


Sparro: Use this pilot to solve the housing problem


Pete: Legal pass-through is lobbying, that freaks me out. It costs money to build a business, 6k is not a lot of money. We could get more people involved and be bigger.


Shianne: Think beyond legality. What is the political association, and what should it be?


Sergio: How much money has been donated


Dale: the money would not be passed from 501 C3 to another. If we don’t take the 6k what does that mean for our working group? Are we even a working group?


Sparro: You got a funding proposal passed. You are a group.


  1. Action Points/Setting next agenda

Merlisa: Keep building restaurant for affinity group. Bring more people into pilot, legal, and draft declaration to GA.


Shianne: Define project pilot and affinity . Bring co-operative into affinity model. Choose indoor space for next meeting, and be on time.


Dale: Co-ops meeting scheduled for the 15th of December.


Shianne: We are all not represented, we can’t hijack their meeting.


Gilbert: Get better understanding of affinity groups. Will make an announcement rather than proposal.


Shan: Get liaisons from each working groups as project managers. Have liaisons come to small meetings instead of starting discussions in big meetings.


Action: Have pilot model efforts