This November we celebrated the 25th anniversary AGM for the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation (http://canadianworker.coop/) with a conference in Vancouver, BC.
In this episode, we present part 1 of our report on the conference with guests:
- Chris Nichols, worker-owner of Wood Shop Workers Co-op (https://woodshop.coop/)
- Josh Peterman, Each For All producer and new to worker co-ops
- And myself, Robin Puga, Each For All producer and worker-owner of CanTrust Hosting Co-op (http://cantrusthosting.coop/)
The conference theme was Solidarity Works and this was felt palpably at the conference. For my own worker co-op, this was the first CWCF event we ever attended. Instantly I felt welcomed to the federation and by the end of the weekend we felt like we were part of something larger than the sum of its parts.
Starting a business by yourself can be an isolating experience. You’re choosing to put all your energies and passion into your livelihood. There’s lots of risk and it’s all on your shoulders. With starting our co-op, CanTrust Hosting Co-op, the first steps were an interesting experience in connection. Myself and my two friends were starting a business together. We were connecting our energies and passions, and connecting our livelihoods. This is bonding.
For our co-op, we felt somewhat connected to the co-operative movement through my participation in the BC Co-op Association board; however we never really connected with other workers co-operatives in a meaningful way. In fact, it sometimes felt like we were on our own as a worker co-op. It’s just the three of us after all. Just us. It didn’t help that we had to explain what a worker co-op was to everyone we talked to about our business.
Our co-op has been active for over 7 years and although we were aware of the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation we never really felt we fit. Honestly, I’m not sure why we thought this way. I think it was mainly because we didn’t know who were their members or what it meant to be part of a federation.
This year our co-op joined the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation and attended the 25th Anniversary AGM. It was an immense amount of fun and so interesting to meet people from across the country who are following their passions.
Listen in to find out what you missed.