Page 1

A historic event : Dame Pauline Green was elected ICA President and became ICA's first woman president. (page 10)

A framework agreement for collaboration in establishing Mondragon cooperatives within the United States and Canada. (page 13)

How cooperatives of developed countries can have a partnership with developing world cooperatives. (page 8)

The Editor’s Pen p. 2 Guadalajara Declaration: I Cooperative Summit of the Americas p. 3 The Pacto Verde Cooperativo: A commitment to Planet Earth p. 6 UN proclaims 2012 International Year of Co-operatives p. 7

The UN resolution recognises that the co-operative business model is a major factor of economic and social development, promoting the fullest possible participation in the economic and social development of people. (page 7)


Co-op Case Study: Equal Exchange p. 8 ICA General Assembly 2009 p. 10 Development Education Study Mission - Nicaragua p. 12 Course: Introduction to the Co-operative Movement: History, Philosophy & Prospects for the Future p. 12 Steelworkers Form Collaboration with Mondragon, the World’s Largest Worker-Owned Cooperative p. 13

ICA-Americas Newsletter is an e-publication of the International Cooperative Alliance for the Americas Phone: + (506) 2296 0981 Fax: + (506) 2231 5842 PO BOX: 6648 -1000 San José, Costa Rica


The Co-operative Green Pact was signed by ICA Americas members during the 1st Co-operative Summit of the Americas (page 6)

The I Cooperative Summit of the Americas "The Cooperative Model: response to global crises” took place in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico, from September 21 to 25, 2009. It was a successful experience which gave us the opportunity to prove the potential and the willingness to have dialogue among the people who nurture the cooperative movement in the region.

Manuel Mariño ICA-Americas Regional Director

This experience was not only a meeting point of co-operators, men and women, but also an opportunity to make a multi-dimensional analysis of global crises. Through a participative interchange of ideas the participants showed an interest to go beyond words and “walk the talk” with a number of proposals about the Summit’s thematic areas. The central thematic areas of analysis and discussion were: development paradigms and new economic order, growth and sustainability, climate change and global warming, as well as challenges of the cooperative sector regarding global crises. Through dialogue, a space for reflection and analysis was built and the participants agreed on the importance of revising current economic and social schemes. To this end, it was highlighted that global crises have brought about higher indebtedness, external current account deficit, destabilization of the economic activity and a wider gap in terms of wealth distribution. The main challenges ahead to face the present crises were also approached. Some of these challenges were: to uphold the institutional and political stability, to generate strategies in order to maintain and increase employment and the contribution of the cooperative movement to promote an efficient and competitive market of goods and services, among others. The main subjects of the Summit were the environmental problems which caught the attention of all the participants. Thus, cooperatives are called to engage in local and national initiatives so as to contribute to minimize the effects caused by environmental damage. One of the most positive outcomes of the I Cooperative Summit of the Americas was the Guadalajara Declaration which summarizes the position, beliefs, proposals and demands -concerning the global crises- of the participants of the Summit who represented cooperative organizations in the region. The I Cooperative Summit of the Americas means an important step forward, but not the only one towards a proactive approach from the cooperative organizations regarding the global crises. The challenge remains. It is men and women’s -involved in the cooperative sector- responsibility to put this Declaration into practice through specific actions so that cooperatives can effectively become an answer to the global crises. We are very proud to have held a Summit in which horizontal relationships ruled. This enabled us to reach genuine dialogue, which may sound very simple but we all know it is “easier said than done”. Every participant thoroughly listened to each other’s contribution with the firm belief that each person has great value and adds knowledge and ideas which are likely to lead the change.

ICA-Americas President, Ramón Imperial Zúñiga, reading out the final draft of the Guadalajara Declaration

In the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, within the framework of the I Cooperative Summit of the Americas "The Cooperative Model: response to global crisis”, 1200 participants from the American continent gathered at the Hilton Hotel so as to analize and define the position and challenges of the Cooperative Sector, regarding the global crisis and the interrelations with Development Paradigms and New Economic Order, Growth and Sustainability and Cooperative Organization for Economic and Social Development. Mankind is at a crossroads facing profund crises of multiple dimensions: economic, financial, social, values, cultural and environmental. This is a turning point. The indiscriminate use of energy resources, the pursuit of profit before nature and people, production and consumer paradigms, the wide gap between economically developed countries and developing countries, are some of the most serious signs of these times. The present situation means an opportunity for the cooperative sector, to strengthen its role enabling social cohesion and inclusion. THEREFORE: We declare that cooperatives are autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise. We reaffirm that the cooperative movement integrated in the International Cooperative Alliance - Americas has an

unquestionable and unavoidable role to play within each organization and its country. We firmly believe cooperatives contribute to employment creation, resources movilization and investments generation, which mitigates the effects of the crises and helps local, regional and international economies as well. We declare cooperatives promote people’s active participation in their economic and social development through cooperative principles and values. We underline that a balanced society needs private and public sectors as well as a strong cooperative sector, mutuals and other social and non-governmental organizations. We reaffirm that cooperatives promotion, guided by cooperative values and principles, should be considered one of the pillars for economic and social development at national and international level. We commit ourselves to: - Promote greater cooperative integration at national, regional and international level so as to get an effective economic advocacy in social, political and cultural terms. - Promote the creation of networks for development and strengthen the different cooperative sectors. - Develop inter co-operation models in order to generate productive and value chains, create jobs, local development processes and endogenous markets; and boost the creation of funds aimed at innovative productive investments.

- Promote the access to cooperative services for the most vulnerable sectors of the social pyramid. EDUCATION AND COOPERATIVE TRAINING - Promote cooperative education as a continuous process, coordinated and integrated in all levels and types of formal education systems. - Establish different training processes aimed at various groups of people (leaders, employees, members) who participate in the cooperative life. Education should be regarded as an investment. - Design and develop a model of training for cooperative trainers which makes the educational process in cooperative organizations easier. - Include in cooperative organizations’ regulations, the appointment of a Secretariat or Committee of Cooperative Education. - Develop permanent training strategies for cooperatives’ leaders and employees to favour competencies management coherently aligned with the strategic objectives of the organization. - Establish relationships with Education Centers in the communities where cooperative organizations exist to favour local development. - Incorporate new information and communication technologies, trying to reach all the national and international financing resources so as to bridge the digital gap. - Promote a real and effective participation of members strengthening their sense of belonging as owners, managers and users of the cooperative. - Make use of the Cooperative Social Balance as a management and communication tool, to measure the compliance

with cooperative principles in the day-to-day management of the organizations, both at institutional and functional level, keeping a balance between business and associative work. GOVERNANCE AND ETHICS - Generate mechanisms towards cooperative governance which are coherent with its values and principles. - Create an Ethics Code to guarantee coherence between speech and cooperative action. ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY - Raise awareness among our members and the community in terms of measures to prevent environmental damage, putting campaigns into practice in areas such as recycling and the use of renewable fuels (wind energy, sun energy, etc). - The cooperative movement shall work towards the design and implementation of clean productive processes, within the agricultural and industrial sectors. - Promote and adopt the Pacto Verde Cooperativo (Cooperative Green Pact) which is included in the present Declaration. - Influence national governments to adopt public policies aimed at boosting technological innovation, environment protection and clean production among others. - Foster a culture of prevention and protection of the environment within the cooperative sector. - Integrate an ICA-Americas’ special commission to study and analize the possibility of proposing ICA the incorporation of an eighth cooperative principle on the environment.

YOUTH - Promote the permanent participation of the youth in the cooperative movement, providing spaces and responsibilities to encourage young people to make decisions and get involved in the management of the institutions. - Ensure the generation transition and guarantee cooperatives’ continuity and sustainability. - Design and implement policies for the youth in primary cooperatives and their integration bodies. GENDER EQUALITY - Design and implement gender policies in primary cooperatives and their integration bodies. - Advocate for the values expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in all the subsequent international legislations which protect women’s rights. - Promote the establishment of Gender Committees within each cooperative organization so that there is an equal participation between men and women. - Include a gender equality approach in cooperative statutes and regulations. FINANCE AND INSURANCE - Promote a new financial global architecture to prevent speculative financial operations. Evaluate and minimize the impact of systemic risks, in the pursuit of healthier and stronger cooperatives. - Encourage the creation of a Cooperative Insurance Network to render services to all the cooperative enterprises in the region. - Analyze the feasibility for the creation of an investment fund at regional level, to promote and encourage new cooperatives and the development of the existing ones. - Continue the advocacy work of ICA-Americas and the cooperative movement so that the International Accounting Standards do not include capital as liabilities since it distorts its nature (IAS 32). We request the authorities and competent institutions to: - Fully apply ILO’s Recommendation 193. - Develop regulation and fiscal frameworks which respect the cooperative nature. - Consult cooperative organizations when formulating and revising legislations and policies concerning cooperatives.

- Promote those cooperatives which are inspired by the cooperative principles and values, put such values into practice and work in compliance with the law. - Acknowledge the right for cooperatives to operate in all the economy sectors. - Penalize the use of the cooperative model to evade taxes and/or compliance with work legislation. - Support the development of information systems for cooperatives in order to facilitate the supervision and design of promotion programs and cooperative credit. - Facilitate the access of cooperatives to support services aimed at strengthening the organizations and making them more feasible as a means to job creation and income generation. - Look for the governments’ support of United Nations International Year of Cooperatives. - Commit universities to promote active investigation programs aimed at strengthening and developing cooperative capabilities in terms of use, control and responsible management of natural resources. This is also intended to favor knowledge and experience interchange with national and foreign cooperatives and to enable cooperative leaders training programs. ICA-Americas members, participating in the I Cooperative Summit of the Americas, approve the content of this Guadalajara Declaration and commit ourselves to guarantee compliance with it.

Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico 24 September 2009


Environmental resolution signed by ICA - Americas members during the 1st Co-operative Summit of the Americas on 24 September 2009 in Guadalajara, Mexico. CONSIDERING: 1. that ICA-Americas, as the organization that represents and defends the co-operative movement, has decided to work in order to contribute to environmental conservation 2. that ICA-Americas, as the organization of co-operative regional integration, shall promote actions of its members to favour the environment. 3. that co-operatives are ruled by the 7 co-operative principles, being the seventh that “cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members” 4. that the deterioration of the environment, reflected in phenomena such as global warming, natural resources scarcity, deforestation, water and air pollution, the destruction of the biological diversity and desertification highlights the need for ICA-Americas to take action 5. that the impacts of the human being on Earth must be minimized and reverted as soon as possible to guarantee the sustainability of the global community 6. that co-operatives as social organizations can positively venture into environmental conservation 7. that through concrete actions, co-operatives can have a multiplier effect on society 8. that co-operators, men and women, have proved they have a genuine interest in working on environmental issues 9. that the deterioration of the environment negatively affects not only the flora and fauna, but also the well-being and the economy of the society 10. that ICA is working on environmental matters and in April 2008 adopted the “Strategy to Address Climate Change” aiming at measuring and reducing the greenhouse gas emissions, in order to communicate with, inform and motivate members towards a lower carbon lifestyle and influence governmental decisions to efficiently and rapidly diminish carbon emissions. 11. that all co-operatives contribute to the deterioration of the environment if certain practices are not corrected and if help is not given regarding this issue 12. that the American continent has natural resources that need to be preserved for environment conservation and the future generations 13. that the willingness of the co-operative movement today to generate positive changes in the environment needs to be taken into account AGREE TO: 1. Take actions both within their organizations as well as outside the co-operative movement to preserve the environment beyond what is expected by law, demonstrating their genuine co-operative responsibility. 2. Include environmental concerns for the environment in the everyday conduct of business and as part of their competitive business strategies. 3. Provide institutional support, within the ICA-Americas possibilities, to member organizations addressing environmental issues. 4. Disseminate information on events related to the conservation of the environment and natural resources. 5. Adopt the following distinctive symbol developed by the Confederation of Colombian Cooperatives (CONFECOOP), which will be used by co-operatives to highlight actions taken in compliance with the Green Pact.

UNITED NATIONS PROCLAIMS 2012 INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF CO-OPERATIVES The co-operative movement hailed the proclamation by the United Nations General Assembly of 2012 of the International Year of Cooperatives as an acknowledgement of the fundamental role of cooperatives in promoting the socio-economic development of hundreds of millions of people worldwide, especially in times of economic crisis. In adopting resolution 64/136 on 18 December, the Assembly noted that cooperatives impact poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. The UN resolution recognises that the co-operative business model is a major factor of economic and social development, promoting the fullest possible participation in the economic and social development of people in both the developed and developing world, and that, in particular, cooperatives contribute to the eradication of poverty. The resolution also encourages all governments to create a more supportive environment for co-operative development, particularly when it comes to securing finances for capacitybuilding. “The International Year of the Co-operatives is a well timed event that represents the depth of understanding of the entire co-operative movement,” said Pauline Green, ICA’s first-ever woman president. “The cooperative model is a better choice and offers the basis for a more sustainable way to do business when compared to traditional capitalist models now under scrutiny. What sets this model apart from others is that all co-operatives, whether they are small farmers or large consumer-owned entities, share the values of democracy, solidarity, equality, self-help and self responsibility, creating businesses that serve the greater good as opposed to maximising profit for the very few.” Iain Macdonald, Director-General of ICA, expressed his support for the resolution in a statement at ICA’s recent Board meeting, indicating that the International Year of Co-operatives is “well timed to remind the world that there is more than one way of doing business and that in a global economy we all have to work together. Whether it is in tackling the economic crisis, the threat of climate change, or food security issues co-operative enterprise offers real hope of solutions to these problems, and I have no doubt that the increased profile offered by an International Year will achieve great things.” Hagen Henry, Director of the ILO Cooperative Programme (ILO/COOP), said the move “recognizes the pivotal role cooperatives play globally in supporting sustainable development, eradicating and preventing poverty, and creating and securing livelihoods in various economic sectors, both formal and informal, and in urban and rural areas. Cooperatives, as social economic enterprises and self-help organizations, have a meaningful function in uplifting the socio-economic conditions of their members and their local communities in virtually all countries.” With this newly approved resolution, the ICA will mobilise the global co-operative community in creating a global campaign featuring a series of events around the world and targeted messages which all co-operatives will be able to use to promote co-operative business. It will work closely with the United Nations and its agencies in addition to other cooperative stakeholder to put the co-operative model of enterprise on international and national agendas.

RELATED LINKS The full text of the resolution can be downloaded from United Nations Press Release: ILO hails UN proclamation: WCM_041782/index.htm



In the last edition of the ICA-Americas Newsletter, Juan Somavia, Director General of the International Labor Organization (ILO), was quoted as saying at the 2003 ICA General Assembly “Would it be a dream to think that in the future every cooperative of developed countries would have a partnership with a developing world cooperative?”. Equal Exchange, a worker co-op founded in the United States in 1986, gives us an idea of what that dream could look like. That is because in those 23 years we have been partnering almost exclusively with farmer cooperatives in developing countries and today import approximately $10,000,000 worth of agricultural products annually from around 40 farmer cooperatives in Africa, Asia, and especially Latin America.

In fact, you cannot really understand Equal Exchange without first knowing about our strong commitment to 6th Co-operative Principle: Co-operation among Cooperatives. We have this strong sense of co-op solidarity not only because we think it is essential to the vitality of the cooperative movement, but also because it is by supporting other cooperatives that we can best serve society at large, in both the global North and South. So who is Equal Exchange? What do we do? And why the emphasis on strong co-op ties? Equal Exchange was founded by three men in Boston, Massachusetts, Rink Dickinson, Jonathan Rosenthal, and Michael Rozyne, who were already working together at a cooperative food distributor but who believed that the system for growing, processing, trading and marketing food was badly in need of reform. Equal Exchange is primarily a food importer, manufacturer and wholesaler of high quality Fair Trade foods and beverages, of which about 90% are certified organic. Today Equal Exchange sources 99% of their coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, bananas and nuts from 40 small-farmer cooperatives in 23 countries, including the U.S. Approximately 80% of this volume is sourced from roughly 30 Latin American farmer co-ops stretching from Paraguay to Mexico. We also work with US farmers for our fairly traded almonds, pecans and cranberries. In the US market we are best known for our pioneering role in bringing Fair Trade foods – starting with coffee – to US grocery stores, and for being a out-spoken proponent of the

Fair Trade model. With $35,000,000 in annual sales, 110 employees, and 92 worker-owners Equal Exchange is one of the largest worker cooperatives in the United States and, we think, the largest worker co-op coffee roaster in the world. By paying above-market Fair Trade prices, providing affordable credit, by working with the same co-ops year after year, and by maintaining very close ties that include regular visits – Equal Exchange has built up a strong supplier network that has proved extremely loyal and dependable. Equal Exchange not only makes a point to source from small-farmer co-operatives whenever possible but has actively encouraged their competitors in the multibillion dollar coffee, tea and banana industries to do likewise. We do this for many reasons but primarily because we believe that the cooperative model has demonstrated great potential to address the pervasive inequality in wealth, power and opportunity that is so

common in rural areas in developing countries. After two decades of working with co-op suppliers Equal Exchange – and countless researchers – have observed how cooperatives enable small-scale farmers who previously were caught in a poverty trap (ie too poor and isolated to do much to change their circumstances) to begin to work their way up the value chain, increase and stabilize their incomes, and use their cooperative to collectively tackle many needs in their communities, like health or education. One of Equal Exchange’s proudest accomplishments has been to help demonstrate to the North American coffee market that small-scale coffee farmer cooperatives in Latin America could be reliable exporters of high grade coffee. In 1990 that was a radical idea, but now many topnotch coffee roasters boast of their ties with farmer co-ops. Today Equal Exchange is hoping to replicate this feat in the tea and banana industries. Lastly, Equal Exchange sits at both ends of the table because we, too, are a co-op vendor. In fact, we might not exist today had not the nation’s food co-ops

provided the first market for Equal Exchange’s products. Even today food co-ops represent approximately 20% of Equal Exchange sales and have consistently been among the first retailers to stock new items from the worker co-op, like their snacks (sourced, of course, from California and Georgia farmer co-ops). Equal Exchange co-op centric model for promoting the greater good has not only won us the lasting loyalty of our many co-op vendors and customers, but also awards from other corners, such as Fast Company magazine and the Financial Times newspaper.

FACT FILE ♦ Equal Exchange sources 99% of their coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, bananas and nuts from 40 smallfarmer cooperatives in 23 countries. ♦ Approximately 80% of this volume is sourced from roughly 30 Latin American farmer co-operatives. ♦ $35,000,000 in annual sales. ♦ 110 employees. ♦ 92 worker-owners. ♦ Donating policy: 7% of net profits to organizations promoting the co-op model and Fair Trade. ♦ It invests 3% of net profits in to new start-up worker cooperatives. 50 United Drive, West Bridgewater, MA 02379, USA • Phone: (1) 774-776-7400 • Fax: (1) 508-587-0088

“Global crisis – Co-operative Opportunity”

The ICA General Assembly 2009 "Global Crisis – Cooperative Opportunity" which was held in Geneva, Switzerland from 16 to 20 November addressed the opportunities that the global economic, food and energy crisis present to co-operative enterprises and to the cooperative movement. The new President and Board were elected and it also included a homage to former president Ivano Barberini who was posthumously conferred the Rochdale Pioneer Award. Dame Pauline Green from the United Kingdom was unanimously elected by the General Assembly as ICA president, becoming the first woman president of the International Cooperative Alliance. Upon election, Dame Pauline stepped down as the Co-president of Co-operatives Europe and as ICA's Vice-president for Europe. In her speech following election she gave a message to the women serving in the cooperative movement around the world. “I want them (women) to know that nearly 115 years after its foundation, the ICA has its first woman president. I feel humbled to be that woman, but we all need to acknowledge that since its inception, co-operation has upheld equality between men and women as a key principle” said Dame Pauline. Dame Pauline also highlighted that it was time for the cooperative movement to begin to act like a global organization to force upon an unsuspecting world the knowledge that the largest 300 of the hundred of thousands of cooperative organisations across the world have a GDP equivalent to that of Spain, the 10th largest economy in the world.

Dame Pauline Green, new ICA President

“Together we employ 20% more people than all the multi national companies, and we are owned by nearly 1 billion people across the world. There is not another sector of the economy that can compare with those figures” she explained. She also took a moment to pay tribute to her predecessor, Ivano Barberini who was posthumously conferred the Rochdale Pioneer Award 2009. Juan Somavia, DirectorGeneral of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) presented the award to Baberini’s wife and daughter who attended the ceremony held at the farewell reception on 20 November. In addition to the election of the ICA’s president, the new ICA Board was elected by the delegates who participated in the General Assembly –more than 800 people. Among the 18 new Board members, four are from the Americas: Mr Paul Hazen, National Co-operative Business Association (NCBA), United States; Mr Americo Utumi, Organisation of Co-operatives of Brazil (OCB), Brazil; Ms Lourdes Ortellado Sienra, Cooperativa Universitaria Ltda., Paraguay; Ms Kathy

Bardswick, Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA), Canada. Ramon Imperial Zuniga of the Caja Popular of Mexico was elected as ICA Vice-president for the Americas, as well. The 2009 Assembly also addressed some of the most pressing issues of our times and five resolutions were adopted concerning: the economic global crisis, climate change, sustainable energy, peace, and nuclear disarmament. Regarding the economic global crisis the General Assembly called on ICA members and co-operatives worldwide to widely disseminate to the general public, including non-cooperative members, information on the value of the cooperative model of enterprise as a voluntary and democratic business model that addresses people’s needs, and protects the productive activities and livelihoods of cooperative members. It also urged members to enhance cooperation with more vulnerable co-operatives in developing countries. The delegates expressed their commitment to ask their governments for actions in terms of greenhouse gas emissions reduction and to recognize that the impacts of changes in climate are mainly due to past emissions by developed countries. The resolution concerning climate

change states that: “Unless the burden of poverty in developing nations is alleviated by significant financial support for mitigation, adaptation and the reduction of deforestation, the ability of developing countries to pursue sustainable development is likely to diminish, to the economic and environmental detriment of all�. Likewise, the Assembly called on the co-operative movement to play a central role in fostering new frameworks for the democratization of energy by engaging co-operatives in all sectors to encourage the implementation of a renewable energy/energy efficiency vision. The pursue of peace was also addressed reaffirming that the co-operative model, through its emphasis on inclusion and democratic process, has proved to be an effective way in which tensions can be reduced within communities, in nations and across regions. It also expressed concern for the proliferation of nuclear weapons and an increasing risk of their use, and urged cooperators worldwide appeal for the elimination of starvation and poverty, call for world stabilizations and prosperity and build a peaceful world without nuclear weapons.

Canadian credit union and co-operative members enable millions of men, women and children to forge a better future. They do this by channelling their knowledge and volunteer services to the International Development Program of the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) and by giving generously to its fundraising arm, the Co-operative Development Foundation. With millions of Canadians being members of cooperatives and credit unions, spreading the word about this development is a challenge that requires a co-operative solution. CCA invites you to become part of a development education team that will learn firsthand about co-operatives and credit unions in Nicaragua who will then share their stories upon return to Canada. CCA's Development Education Study Mission to Nicaragua will take place from January 31st to February 10th, 2010. Participants will learn about CCA's work in Central America, visit a number of co-operatives in Nicaragua (agricultural, fishing and credit unions) and participate in a development education workshop before returning to Canada. During the limited free time, optional learning tours will also be available. The study mission delegation will be accompanied by CCA staff and a language interpreter. Cost of participating in this study mission is approximately $2,000. Applications for this study mission can be found on CCA’s website or by contacting Lise Boissonneault, CCA Project Assistant, at For more information please contact Karen Timoshuk, CCA Development Education Coordinator, at

This course is an introduction to the modern co-operative movement. Its goal is to acquaint students with the historical context and philosophical ideas that gave rise to co-operation, the evolution of co-operative enterprise, comparative models and practice, the relevance of the co-operative alternative to modern economic and social issues such as globalization, climate change and the housing crisis, and case studies in co-operative business. Erbin Crowell has extensive experience in co-operative development. He has served as a co-op development specialist with the Cooperative Development Institute (CDI), president of the Co-operative Fund of New England, and a variety of roles at Equal Exchange. He’s currently completing a master’s in management program, focusing on management of co-operatives and credit unions. The course will be online so participants can enroll in this course from anywhere in the world. The course language will be English. It is offered through the Center for Continuing Studies’ Creative Community Building Program at the University of Connecticut. More information about the course is available at:

The “one person, one vote” model

The United Steelworkers (USW) and MONDRAGON Internacional, S.A. announced a framework agreement for collaboration in establishing MONDRAGON cooperatives in the manufacturing sector within the United States and Canada. The USW and MONDRAGON will work to establish manufacturing cooperatives that adapt collective bargaining principles to the MONDRAGON worker ownership model of “one worker, one vote.” Leo W. Gerard, USW International President, said that this agreement is seen as a historic first step towards making union co-ops a viable business model that can create good jobs, empower workers, and support communities in the United States and Canada. “Too often we have seen Wall Street hollow out companies by draining their cash and assets and hollowing out communities by shedding jobs and shuttering plants. We need a new business model that invests in workers and invests in communities” said Gerard. Josu Ugarte, President of MONDGRAGON Internacional added this means a combination of “the world’s largest industrial worker cooperative with one of the world’s most progressive and forward-thinking manufacturing unions to work together so that our combined know-how and complimentary visions can transform manufacturing practices in North America.” Highlighting the differences between Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and union co-ops, Gerard said, “We have lots of experience with ESOPs, but have found that it doesn’t take long for the Wall Street types to push workers aside and take back control. We see Mondragon’s cooperative model with ‘one worker, one vote’ ownership as a means to re-empower workers and make business accountable to Main Street instead of Wall Street.” Both the USW and MONDRAGON emphasized the shared values that will drive this collaboration. Mr. Ugarte commented, “We feel inspired to take this step based on our common set of values with the Steelworkers who have proved time and again that the future belongs to those who connect vision and values to people and put all three first. We are excited about working with Mondragon because of our shared values, that work should empower workers and sustain families and communities,” Gerard added.

In the coming months, the USW and MONDRAGON will seek opportunities to implement this union co-op hybrid approach by sharing the common values put forward by the USW and MONDGRAGON and by operating in similar manufacturing segments in which both the USW and MONDRAGON already participate. About MONDRAGON: The MONDRAGON Corporation mission is to produce and sell goods and provide services and distribution using democratic methods in its organizational structure and distributing the assets generated for the benefit of its members and the community, as a measure of solidarity. MONDRAGON began its activities in 1956 in the Basque town of Mondragon by a rural village priest with a transformative vision who believed in the values of worker collaboration and working hard to reach for and realize the common good. Today, with approximately 100,000 cooperative members in over 260 cooperative enterprises present in more than forty countries; MONDRAGON Corporation is committed to the creation of greater social wealth through customer satisfaction, job creation, technological and business development, continuous improvement, the promotion of education, and respect for the environment. In 2008, MONDRAGON Corporation reached annual sales of more than sixteen billion euros with its own cooperative university, cooperative bank, and cooperative social security mutual and is ranked as the top Basque business group, the seventh largest in Spain, and the world’s largest industrial workers cooperative. About the USW: The USW is North America’s largest industrial union representing 1.2 million active and retired members in a diverse range of industrie


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ICA 2009 General Assembly was a historic event - Dame Pauline Green was elected ICA President and became ICA's first woman president. ICA members also elected the ICA global Board, approved ICA Rules & Bye-Laws amendments and adopted resolutions on co-operatives and the economic crisis, sustainable energy, climate change, peace and nuclear disarmament. It included a homage to former President Ivano Barberini and a keynote address by Prof. Jeremy Rifkin on how co-operatives could be the lead organisers of distributed energy. Three thematic sessions on the global crisis were also well attended. Following the announcement by Iain Macdonald of his intention to stand down, ICA is seeking candidates for the position of ICA Director-General and has opened the application period. The DG is responsible for ensuring that the business of the ICA is carried out in accordance with the Values and Principles of the ICA, the ICA Rules and Bye-Laws, and the strategy agreed by the Board. The preferred start date for this position is May 2010 or as soon thereafter as possible. First interviews are likely to begin mid April 2010. The position will remain open until filled. More information available here. The European Region of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), Cooperatives Europe is seeking a new Regional Director following the resignation of its current Director, Rainer Schluter. Applications will be accepted until 10 January 2010. More information can be found at : Dr. Chan Ho Choi, General Manager, International Co-operation Office of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (NACF) from Korea has been appointed as the new Regional Director of the ICA-Asia and Pacific with effect from 1st January 2010. The 2009 ICA General Assembly chose Mexico as the venue for the next General Assembly to be held during 2011. To help encourage greater exchange of information and knowledge between the ICA and its members we are asking all our members to send the logo of their organisations to the ICA for inclusion on ICA websites. In a similar way the ICA would like to encourage ICA members to include the ICA logo and links to the ICA on their sites. To help this process the ICA is having a graphic ICA Members Logo developed. As a member you will be able to display this member logo on your site and use it to link to the ICA 's sites. ICA continues to increase its membership. Currently, ICA has 239 member organizations from 89 countries, representing more than 800 million individuals worldwide.

All of your suggestions and proposals regarding the newsletter’s contents are very important for us, since our primary goal is to provide a publication enriched by your opinions. Please send your comments to:

ICA Americas Newsletter - Issue 4  

ICA Americas Newsletter - Issue 4 - December 2009

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