Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Austin's New Cooperative Development Center

Austin joins Cleveland (Evergreen Worker Cooperatives), Bay Area (Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives) and New York (Green Worker Cooperatives) in worker cooperative development.

Third Coast Workers for Cooperation

Third Coast Workers Cooperative (TCWC) is an new cooperative development center in Austin that works with low-income communities to help them produce their own environmentally friendly, worker-owned businesses.

TCWC houses the Co-operative Business Institute (CBI), which is a comprehensive, 16-week, training program. The program is designed to teach prospective co-ops the worker cooperative model, the green economy, and the legal, organizational and business aspects specific to cooperatives. The following eight months consists of technical support to help launch the new cooperative business.
Ultimate Goal

The ultimate goal is to empower low-income communities to create a network of worker-owned green businesses throughout Austin-combating the economic crisis and environmental concerns.
How it Works?

TCWC works directly with individuals and community based organizations to help members set up their own worker cooperative.

What is a worker co-op?
A worker cooperative is a business that is owned and controlled by the people who work there. Worker cooperatives can be found in a range of industries across the country and across the world–from restaurants in New York City to manufacturing plants in Argentina. In a worker cooperative, decisions are made democratically by the workers themselves and profits are shared equally.

Worker cooperatives offer a powerful alternative to conventional businesses. Instead of being driven solely by profits, worker cooperatives often have a “triple bottom line,” measuring success not simply by the money they earn, but by the well-being of their workers; their sustainability as a business; and their overall contribution to the community and the environment. Worker co-ops also tend to create:

* Long-term, stable jobs
* Higher wages
* Personal and professional development opportunities
* Deeper connection to the local community

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