Workshops & Presenters
Board & Staff
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US Federation of Worker Cooperatives
Download the Brochure
Western Worker Cooperative Conference Planning Board
Casali Fulvio, Web Collective
Leyba Leslie, Rainbow/USFWC
Thomases Dan, Box Dog Bikes
Cuneo Monica, People's Food Co-op
(+ conference staffing by the CA Center for Cooperative Development CCCD)
Brief History of the Conference Planning Board:
The conference was started by Tim Calvert of Citybikes in Portland
and was originally organized with the assistance of the Northwest
Cooperative Federation. The NWCF hired Rebecca Bauen in 1997 as a
consultant to organize the event. In 1998 NWCF closed its doors,
consequently the conference no longer had a central sponsoring
organization. The 1999 conference was made possible because Rebecca and
a group of volunteer planners identified during the 1998 conference
took the initiative to make it happen. It was proposed at a Network of
Bay Area Worker Collectives meeting that a planning board be designated
to take responsibility for the conference. The 1999 planners took this
proposal to the 1999 conference and the conference participants
approved the creation of the board and voted in a 7-member conference
planning board, which replaced the volunteer planning committee. Due to
increased interest of conference participants to be involved, the 2000
conference participants agreed to increase the size of the board to up to 9
members. Following the creation of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives in 2004 the Western Worker Co-op Conference convenes every other year so that worker cooperatives can unite at the national conference during even years.
Role of the Board:
- Fiscal responsibility for the conference
- Approve all sponsors and other organizational affiliations
- Assistance in conference organizing
- Plan and/or approve changes to the way which the conferences are held including frequency and location
- Hire, supervise and evaluate the conference organizer(s)
- Develop and maintain the formal organizational structure
Board Membership, Elections, and Terms:
The board is made up of 9 individuals who have attended at least one Western worker
cooperative conference, and have been members of worker coops within the past two years and agree to attend
all conferences convened during their term as a board member. Upon being nominated for a seat on the board
and before the election each potential member will state whether they will be serving either a two or four year term.
Up to 2 seats are retained for the conference organizer(s) and conference participants elect 7 others.
Meetings & Decision Making:
- The board will meet via conference call at least twice per year, starting two months after the bi-annual conference. More commonly there will be about 6 calls per year.
- The conference organizer will convene all required meetings and additional meetings can be convened by board members or conference organizer(s) with one month’s advance notice.
- The orderly use of modified consensus decision making will be used. All decisions will be made using consensus. Please refer to the hand out on consensus for specifics. If there are blocks to a proposal, an attempt will be made to modify the proposal and consensus will be attempted again. If on the second try blocks remain, then a vote will be called. In the event of a vote, an 85% majority is required to pass the proposal (i.e. stopping the proposal is only possible when two or more board members block.)
- Quorum is met when 80% of eligible voting members are present (i.e. only 2 absences are allowed to conduct business.)
- Online decision making can be used between meetings, in particular if a decision needs to be reached before the
next meeting. First a proposal needs to be sent to all board members. All board members then have one week to be heard
on the proposal. All responses to the proposal need to clearly identify if the issues they are raising are concerns
(small disagreement with the proposal) or objections (more serious disagreement that need to be addressed and might
keep you from consensing on the proposal). After one week either a) if there is general agreement (no objections and no more than three concerns to the proposal have been made) then the proposal is considered consensed upon or b) If there are objections (or more than 3 concerns) then modifications to the proposal are made by the person who presented the proposal and another week of discussion begins. This process continues until a decision
is made or a meeting occurs where the proposal is addressed. All online decisions will be at least briefly reviewed
at regular meetings.
- Emergency decision making occurs when a decision needs to be made quickly and the above online decision making process is deemed too slow. Any board member is empowered to make an emergency decision. They are required to get feedback and agreement from at least one other board member before the decision can be made. All decisions made using this method are limited to a $200 monetary commitment or less. All such decisions and information about the process that led to them must be e-mailed out to the rest of the board as soon as possible and will be reviewed at regular meetings. Most business should not be conducted using this method
- Attendance- if a board member is absent from two meetings in a row without prior notification then they are considered
to have resigned by the start of the 3rd meeting. Also if a board member misses half the meetings in any given year then we
will assume the same. In all cases an effort will be made to contact the board member. Once a board member is considered
to have resigned they will no longer count toward achieving quorum.
- Dispute- When a dispute arises between two or more board members that affect their ability to work on the board then
it becomes their responsibility to enter into a mediation process. All other board members aware of the dispute share in
the responsibility to encourage this process to begin. The first step will be for all parties in the dispute to have a discussion
outside of a regular meeting and attempt to resolve it among themselves. Any party participating can request that other board
members also be present. If at all possible this step will take place no more than two weeks after the beginning of the process.
If this proves to be insufficient then the board will find a skilled mediator who will work with the parties in the dispute to find a
resolution. Board finances will cover all calling card minutes used during the above conversations if necessary. In the event that
no resolution can be reached, the rest of the board will make a consensus decision on what actions to take from there, including
possibly having a board member or members resign. In the case of a resignation, the board will empower the next alternate to
fill the vacancy or if there is no alternate to hold an election among the board to see who fills the vacancy.
How board members are elected:
- The election process will be announced at the opening session on Monday night
- Written nominations will be accepted from Tuesday morning until dinner
- Voting and candidate introductions will occur after dinner on Tuesday
- The new board members will be announced after breakfast on Wednesday
- Board will meet Wednesday at lunch for an introductory session.
We also change staff members occasionally:
If you are interested or know someone who is interested please let the board know right away. This is a paid, part-time position.
So talk to your co-op members and see if any of your members who will be attending this year would like to run for the board. Think about possible people to staff the conference for next year.