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Prairie Labour Worker Co-op Council Workshop
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  1. Prairie Labour Worker Co-op Council Workshop November 18, 2006 CWCF AGM - Edmonton Presented by: Greg O’Neill (Co-op Ventures), April Bourgeois (Co-op Ventures and CWCF Board), and Les Steel (CLC) An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  2. Outline • Background • PLWCC • What Next? An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  3. Introductions • Who I am • Why I am here • What I expect to get out of this Workshop An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  4. INTRODUCTION TO THE WORKSHOP Co-ops and Labour – An Historical Sampler Rochdale - 1844 To commence, the manufacture of such articles as the society may determine upon, for the employment of such members as may be without employment, or who may be badly remunerated. An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  5. INTRODUCTION TO THE WORKSHOP Knights of Labor – 1869 • 1883: 50 – 60 Co-operative Stores • 1886: 150 – 200 Co-operatives • mines, foundries, mills and factories making barrels, clothes, shoes and soap • cooperative printers, laundries and furniture-makers; factories making boxes, nails, underwear, brooms, pipe, stoves; An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  6. COMMON CAUSE – COMMON GROUND • Economic Democracy • Common Good VS Individual Welfare • Wealth Shared VS wealth Concentrated • People before profit • “Harmonize the interests of labour and capital” An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  7. Divergent Paths 1970 - Present • The redefining of “Liberal Capitalism”, neo-conservatism and the forces of global corporatism. • Larger Co-operatives become business centric and focused on being competitive within their markets. (Retail Co-ops, Credit Unions) Some disappear. • Labour Unions under attack - changing legislation – offshore manufacturing –Flight of Capital – Declining Membership An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  8. Divergent Paths 1970 - Present • From common ground to indifference • Collective bargaining experience in larger Co-ops • Lack of a common table (National Labour – Co-operative Committee) • The loss of our collective history • Fighting separate battles separately An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  9. The Wheel Comes Round • Impacts of global corporatism come home to roost • The Rust Belt – manufacturing moved to locations with lower labour standards • Rise of Sweatshops • Rise of the service sector (McJobs) • Rural Decline – Death of one industry towns • Globalization holding down Canadian union wages - Conference Board of Canada An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  10. Impact on the Prairies • Dow BioProducts to cease production and shutdown Elie manufacturing facility • Weyerhaeuser Mills shut down, 300 out of work (Big River and Wapaweka – PA) • Moose Jaw – Worldwide Pork • Tolko Industries Ltd.: Permanent Closure Announced at Operations in The Pas, Manitoba • Dominion Bridge / Canron West Closes An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  11. PLWCC • Original meeting – Saskatoon, September 16 & 17 • 20+ attendees including union members, provincial labour federation staff, CLC reps, CVWC, SCA and CSC staff • Facilitators/Presenters included Lynn Williams president emeritus USWA, Dan Bell OEOC, Hazel Corcoran CWCF and CVWC members • Funding provided by Carrot Cache (Big Carrot), CWCF, SCA/CCS and CVWC An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  12. PLWCC • Outcomes of the meeting • Formation of PLWCC • Better understanding of the place of Worker Co-ops within the Co-op Sector • Better understanding of labour issues as they relate to worker ownership • Knowledge of the OEOC model and success factors required An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  13. PLWCC PURPOSE The purpose of the Council is to facilitate collaboration between labour and worker co-op activists and to improve conditions for workers in the Prairie region by promoting and facilitating worker ownership. An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  14. PLWCC COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP The Council is comprised of members from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba who represent the labour or worker co-op movements. Additionally, resource people provide support and mentorship to the Council. Membership is voluntary and without remuneration. An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  15. PLWCC MANDATE The mandate of the Council is: To build the capacity to respond where unionized employees want to explore buying out a business as a worker co-operative or other type of employee-owned enterprise due to business succession or a crisis situation; An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  16. PLWCC MANDATE To provide a common table on issues important to both the worker co-op and labour sectors, such as joint lobbying and mutual support for worker co-operative and/or unionized businesses; An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  17. PLWCC MANDATE To do outreach and to provide two-way learning opportunities between the worker co-op and labour sectors; An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  18. PLWCC MANDATE To provide workshops on topics specific to this mandate, including financing tools for conversions and other subjects as identified; An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  19. PLWCC MANDATE To coordinate the response to opportunities, including assembling a skilled team to respond quickly to crisis situations involving unionized employees in Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  20. PLWCC • Steering Committee • April Bourgeois (Co-chair) , David Winter (Co-chair CLC rep for the Prairie Region), Maurice Werezak (UFCW), Sam Sambasivan (UFCW), Hazel Corcoran (CWCF), Larry Hubich (Sask. Federation of Labour), Jason Foster (Alberta Federation of Labour), Warren Crossman (SCA), Chris McCarville and Greg O’Neill (CVWC). • MFL rep invited but not confirmed An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  21. PLWCC • 2 meetings by teleconference to date • Formalize terms of reference • Creation of brochure (Steering committee designed – AFL printed) • Planning for worker co-op presentations at labour schools • Discussions regarding Maple leaf Pork processing in Saskatoon An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  22. What Next • Creating awareness • Brochure distribution • Presentations like this • Participation with labour schools • Developing capacity • Local developers and labour reps working with OEOC (CWCF is contact point) • Identifying local professional expertise • Lining up potential sources of capital An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  23. What Next • Opportunity identification • None identified to date • Labour initiated (need the awareness/promotion piece to be working) • Facilitating the conversion An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  24. What Next The initial assessment of the viability of any worker buyout will be in the range of $7,500 - $10,000. This would include travel costs to an initial series of meetings for resource people, and fees for their services through the pre-feasibility step. Additional costs, if the union decided to pursue the project, would vary based on the scale of the buyout. It would be up to the union to decide whether to carry out the initial assessment through the pre-feasibility stage, and then to decide whether further steps are warranted based on the results of the pre-feasibility study. An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  25. Steps in the Process • Educate the supporters of the buyout. • Establish a buyout association - (future Co-op). • Do a pre-feasibility assessment. • Conduct a feasibility study. • Develop a Business Plan. An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  26. Steps in the Process • Negotiate the purchase and create the structure for the new employee-owned co-operative. • Arrange financing. • Close the deal with the seller. An Injury to One is a Concern to All

  27. QUESTIONS? An Injury to One is a Concern to All