The United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC) celebrated its 5th national conference in Boston from 22nd to 24th June. The event gathered nearly 400 attendees from the worker cooperative sector and external groups interested in the cooperative movement, nearly double the attendance of the first national worker cooperative conference in 2004.
Numerous sessions and workshops were held to share participants’ experiences and they explored possibilities for cooperatives, worker ownership and workplace democracy over three days. During those activities, several international speakers from CICOPA members participated, such as in the session “Lessons for Growth from around the World”, where Bruno Roelants (CICOPA Secretary General) and Hiroshi Shimamura (Japanese Union of Worker Cooperatives) took the floor discussing elements of successful cooperative movement-building. José Orbaiceta (President of the Federation of Worker Cooperatives of the Argentinean Republic, FECOOTRA) also participated via Skype video conference speaking about the principled approach to growing the Argentinian worker cooperative movement.
As CICOPA-North America is the newly launched branch of CICOPA, which now includes 2 of the 3 worker cooperative federations in Quebec, the CWCF, USFWC and the Mexican Confederation of Cooperative of Diverse Activities (CNC); leaders from CICOPA-North America held a discussion: “Building a Cooperative "Ecosystem" in North America”. There was a remarkable presence of Spanish-speaking cooperators who are based in the United States. This fact underlined the possibility to form a committee of the USFWC of Spanish-speaking worker cooperatives and also a plan from CICOPA North America to strengthen the relations between Hispanic cooperatives in Canada, United States and Latin America.
Regarding the atmosphere at the event, the current President of
USFWC and of CICOPA-North America, Rebecca Kemble, enhanced the great enthusiasm that she perceived from the participants: “I don’t think any of us were prepared for the level of energy, engagement and excitement that occurred”, she stated.
International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and
Service Producers' Cooperatives
Secretariat: C/O European Cooperative House - avenue Milcamps 105
1030 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 543 1033, fax: +32 2 543 1037