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Today, a conference about worker cooperatives has started in Quebec, it will last until October 15th 2011. This event is split into two parts. The title of the first conference is ‘Business Succession and Employee Ownership Conference’, which takes place from the 11th to 13th October. The second one named ‘CICOPA North America Conference: Cooperation without Borders’ will take place from the 13th to 15th October.
The objective of the first conference is to raise awareness of worker cooperatives as an alternative for businesses without successors and to develop the expertise of stakeholders through the exchange and analysis of their experience. In the coming years the world is facing a very significant phenomenon, and one with major socio-economic consequences: the mass exodus to retirement by business owners from the so-called "baby boomer" generation. It is estimated that about 200,000 Canadian businesses will change hands in the next fifteen years. The phenomenon will be proportionately comparable in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere.
Faced with this threat of business disintegration and accompanying massive job losses, the alternative to transfer these companies to their employees through the worker cooperative model appears increasingly to be the ideal solution and a tremendous opportunity for the worker cooperative movement to grow. The worker cooperative model (along with related models like multi-stakeholder cooperatives) helps to maintain and develop these enterprises, and helps workers maintain local control over their future.
The second conference, “Co-operation without Borders", has the objectives to provide a venue for the worker cooperative movements in Quebec, the rest of Canada and the United States to come together and share experiences. The organization of this Conference is a historic event. For the first time, hundreds of members of worker cooperatives from across North America will meet and share their experiences together to improve their governance practices and democratic management of their businesses, and to demonstrate together their solidarity and common will to build a caring economy based on ownership and control of enterprises by workers. The Conference is being organized by CWCF with support from ’le Réseau de la coopération du travail du Québec’, the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives and other partners.
For more information: http://www.cooperation2011.coop
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