Real English Victoria Closes
Some sad news this week about a unique English-language school and worker co-op in Victoria. Real English Victoria has permanently closed after three years of teaching English based on students’ real needs, not a prescribed and often irrelevant curriculum which can be the case in many other schools. Finances seem to be the reason this unique project had to fold. Real English Victoria was a co-op made up of teachers and staff with support from the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation and Vancity. It gave students the chance to problem-solve, volunteer in the local community and learn English based on everyday issues.
Links: Real English Newsletter
Trouble at MEC’s Vancouver Flagship Store
Two hundred unionized workers at Mountain Equipment Co-op’s Vancouver store, have begun collective bargaining amidst a decline in morale and concern that MEC is moving away from its co-operative values.
Patrick Johnson, who’s leading negotiations on behalf of the United Food and Commercial Workers of Canada, says staff believe MEC is being run more like a corporation than a co-op. They are also seeking higher wages, better working conditions and improved scheduling.
David Labistour, who recently departed after 11 years as MEC’s chief executive officer, informed Vancouver staff that sales have been stagnant for several years, while operating costs and wages continue to rise. He said the current situation was not sustainable while empathizing with members trying to make ends meet living in Vancouver.
Branding analyst David Kincaid says MEC is at a critical juncture, and is largely perceived by the public as a well-known supplier of quality outdoor goods rather than a co-op.
MEC has been facing several controversies in recent years, including the lack of diversity in its advertising, pushback against CamelBack and other products owned by a U.S. company that sells guns and most recently, opening a big box store in a heritage neighbourhood of Toronto.
International Day of Co-operatives
Saturday July 6 is the International Day of Co-operatives. The slogan this year is COOPS 4 DECENT WORK and was chosen to support the Sustainable Development Goal #8 – Inclusive Development and decent work. This annual celebration of the co-operative movement began in 1923 and is organized by the International Co-operative Alliance. We’ll have a link to an interactive map showing how co-ops around the world are celebrating and you can add what your co-op will be doing. Tweet what co-ops mean to you using the hashtag #coopsday!