Board of Directors voting now open! Thank you to all of our candidates for taking advantage of this important leadership opportunity and offering their time and resources in service of our organization.
How to Vote?
USFWC voting members (worker cooperatives, democratic workplaces, cooperative developers and federation partners) are invited to cast one vote per workplace for the 2016 Regional Representatives Board of Directors election.
Deadline to cast ballot?
The deadline to vote online is SATURDAY, JULY 30, 2016 at 11:59pm pacific time. Members attending the annual Member Meeting at the Worker Cooperative National Conference on Sunday, July 31, 2016, are also invited to cast a ballot in-person.
YOUR VOTE MATTERS! This year, the Western regional seat has a contested election. The Northern, Southern, and Eastern seats are uncontested. However, even with uncontested seats, it is important that we receive quorum in our Board of Directors elections. Voting workplaces are asked to cast a vote, indicating support – or not – for their regional candidate.
ATTEND OUR ANNUAL MEMBER MEETING: Learn more and RSVP for our annual 2016 Member Meeting (virtual participation available).
(Region Includes: AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NV, NM, OR, UT, WA, WY, and Guam, AM Samoa, and Northern Mariana Islands)
Devra Gartenstein, Patty Pan Cooperative – Seattle, WA
I’m a member-owner at Patty Pan Cooperative, a worker-owned farmers’ market concession and catering company based in Seattle. We’re a conversion coop which grew out of a business I’d founded and run as a sole proprietorship for 15 years. The shift to a cooperative format has been transformative: my coworkers and I are deeply and creatively engaged in our work, and we’re thriving individually and collectively.
I’m fired up about the potential of worker cooperatives to transform both individual workplaces and the broader economy. Since Patty Pan’s conversion, I’ve been learning and connecting with like-minded cooperators, training as a DAWN peer advisor and also enrolling in a certificate program in Cooperative Management at Seattle’s Pinchot University. A board position with USFWC would be a meaningful and exciting way to continue this work.
In the Seattle area I keep crossing paths with people who are hungry for collaboration and synergy across cooperative sectors. We have a wealth of consumer coops and credit unions, but our worker cooperative sector is just getting off the ground. I believe there are opportunities for the USFWC to draw on this enthusiasm for the broader cooperative movement, using it to strengthen and foster worker cooperatives in particular.
As a member of a conversion coop, I’m also fascinated by possibilities for transforming existing businesses into democratic workplaces. Having made this transition myself, I’d make a worthy ambassador, using the credibility of personal experience to spread the word to other entrepreneurs about the benefits for themselves, their businesses, and their communities. A USFWC board position would give me broader reach in spreading this message.
Ricardo Nunez, Sustainable Economies Law Center – Oakland, CA
I’m Ricardo Samir Nuñez, the Director of Economic Democracy at the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC). SELC is a worker self-directed nonprofit that cultivates a new legal landscape that supports community resilience and grassroots economic empowerment. I have co-coordinated two Worker Coop Academies based at Laney College in Oakland, CA., supported the development and advocacy of the California state Worker Cooperative Corporation Act as well as the Oakland and Berkeley worker cooperative development resolutions, and was a DAWI Fellow in 2015. I am also on the board of the California Center for Cooperative Development. I am interested to serve on the USFWC Board of Directors because I see it as an essential piece of the worker cooperative movement building solidarity and cohesion amongst many stakeholders across the country. No other organization holds such a strategic and important space as the Federation to build resources, connections, and power on a national scale for the movement towards economic democracy.
I am currently a co-chair on the USFWC Economic and Racial Justice Council which provides a space not only to advance workplace democracy throughout our region, but allows the council members to share resources in combating white supremacy, patriarchy, and systems of oppression within our own workplaces. Even though it is a new Council within the Federation, I believe it shows how the USFWC is the only organization able to hold that space with any legitimacy and accountability to the worker coop community. The Council is building connections to movements by understanding how we can meet them where they are at, as opposed to building a siloed cooperative community insulated from local, regional, and global struggles of liberation. Another key moment exemplifying how the Federation is supporting and fostering growth and stability for the worker cooperative community was the leadership they were able to provide as a trusted partner in our policy campaigns. Without the Federation, the policies would never have been as relevant, substantial, or meaningful in building economic democracy in our region.
(Region Includes: IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, NE, ND, OH, SD, WI)
Damon Terrell, Union Cab Cooperative – Madison, WI
I wear many hats at Union Cab. I Drive taxi, answer phones, and dispatch calls, additionally I chair our Education Committee and Stewards Council. I’ve also spent time as a professional advisor to student organizations and governments in the University of Wisconsin system. I believe the roles I have served in professionally and in my personal life have prepared me to think and plan systematically, and to pursue common goals using shared values and a commitment to a better future. I am running for the USFWC Board of Directors because I believe that our diligent and intentional participation as well as our communal investment in an organization like the Federation represents a huge potential for impact in the development of community ownership. I am running for the BOD because I am equipped to positively direct the development and implementation of shared strategies to achieve organizational priorities and goals.
Many brilliant, hard-working people are currently being willfully ignored by the traditional labor market due to their identities and values. Simultaneously communities are being destabilized and undermined as business leaders shuffle properties among themselves without regard for the people that support and depend on their existence. I believe the USFWC is positioned to be a serious partner in opposing this trend of destabilization and disenfranchisement. I think USFWC is poised to help communities pursue the dignity of self determination and communal investment in necessary services. I think that a well coordinated presence from an organization like the federation would help communities like my own to develop the strategies and build the power necessary to impactfully expand community access to productive capital. I think we need to diligently support efforts to develop and convert business ownership through all available channels of possibility.
(Region Includes: AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, OK, PR, SC, TX, TN, VA – and US Virgin Islands)
Anna Boyer, C4 Tech & Design – New Orleans, LA
I became a worker-owner at C4 Tech & Design in New Orleans, Louisiana in 2008. I have served as the USFWC Southern Regional Representative since 2011. I would be thrilled to continue representing our members in the South and helping the USFWC to achieve its mission.
The USFWC plays a key role in supporting and strengthening the national worker cooperative community, and this is the kind of work that advances a movement into a fixture of society. As the national membership and advocacy organization for worker cooperatives, the USFWC should connect our members, support and collaborate with our partner organizations, and advocate for policy that allows cooperatives in all parts of the country to succeed, so that the cooperative business model can become accessible and common.
But right now, we are part of a live grassroots movement, in which people are seeking economic justice and recognizing workplace democracy as a means to achieve it. Much of the movement building work is also being done on the ground by individuals and cooperatives, with support from local organizational allies and national organizations like the Democracy at Work Institute. I see the USFWC as a conduit for keeping that movement connected and led by worker cooperatives, with a strong vision and voice. I believe the USFWC can play a powerful role in supporting and connecting regional groups so that members can engage in the cooperative movement at a local level, where they can organize with other workers and take action on issues that directly impact their lives.
I am excited about achieving the USFWC’s organizational goals, supporting the momentum of our membership, and being a part of the worker cooperative movement.
(Region Includes: DE, ME, MD, MA, NH, NY, PA, RI, VT, DC, WV)
David Morgan, Toolbox for Education & Social Action – Northampton, MA
David promotes democratic ownership and a cooperative economy through organizing, education, and research. He is a worker-owner at the Toolbox for Education and Social Action where he works with a wide array of organizations to develop democratic, participatory solutions to community needs. As Eastern Regional Representative for the 2014-2016 term, David has focused on expanding worker co-op networks in the region and spear-headed the development of the USFWC’s Advocacy & Public Policy Member Council. He believes in building a closely-knit and resilient worker cooperative ecosystem that is supported by a wide array of movements and institutions, and that the Federation has a critical role to play in that work.
I am committed to addressing our community’s most urgent technical needs: education, financing, network building, and advocacy. Together we can increase our impact in these areas by ensuring that our needs are met in culturally appropriate ways, including multilingual support and local leadership development. Similarly, listening to other movements will be key to showing that people can meet their needs democratically. I’d help the Federation build strong relationships between worker co-ops and social movements, structured ways of sharing ideas and building shared power. At the same time, nonprofit and governmental institutions are taking notice of our work, and I will work to help worker cooperatives embrace that power in the broad-based and participatory way that is at the core of our work.