Conference Recordings

From accessing health care and building skills within worker cooperatives to attracting capital investment and exploring cities’ plans to rebuild using worker ownership, our sessions were designed to push boundaries and create the just economy we envision.

Day 1 Keynote: Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis

Presented in English | Access Closed Captioning

Day 1 at the Worker Co-op Conference features a keynote conversation on recovering from crisis with award-winning journalists Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis. Moderated by USFWC Executive Director Esteban Kelly, our first featured conversation highlights visions of just and equitable workplaces at a moment when worker ownership has become a mainstream feature of plans to rebuild our economy amidst unprecedented and escalating challenges.

About our keynote speakers

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, columnist, documentary filmmaker and author ofthe New York Times and international bestsellers No Logo, The Shock Doctrine, This Changes Everything, No Is Not Enough and On Fire. Her writing has appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world and she is Senior Correspondent for The Intercept. Klein is the inaugural Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture, and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University and cofounder of the climate justice organization The Leap (

Avi Lewis is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, journalist, and lecturer in Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University. His 25-year journalism career has spanned local news reporting to hosting and producing a variety of current affairs shows for television networks worldwide, to directing theatrically released documentaries, This Changes Everything and The Take, that premiered in festivals like TIFF and the Venice Biennale.  In 2017, he co-founded and is now Strategic Director of The Leap – an organization launched to upend our collective response to the crises of climate, inequality and racism.

A Worker-Led Green New Deal

Presented in English | Access the Closed Captioning

A Green New Deal can only succeed if it is both dramatic in scale and led from below. It must also center workers and communities of color. How? Right now, the usual discourse artificially siloes these two constituencies; trade unions are understood as the representatives of labor, and racial justice groups are understood as the representatives of disadvantaged communities. As a result, the usual discourse leaves out the power and potential of the worker cooperative movement. By dramatically scaling up the green worker co-op movement, through a mix of thoughtful policy and grassroots organizing, we could expand and deepen our concepts of climate work, while finding ways to invest in communities of color that build wealth without extraction or displacement. This panel will explore the ways that worker co-ops are already combining labor and community forces in creative, consequential ways. And it will debate what needs to be done to scale up this sector in order to build a truly just Green New Deal.


  • Ruby Quintana - Amicus Solar Cooperative
  • Christina Gosnell - Catalyst Cooperative
  • Rafael Gil Ortiz - Technicians for Sustainability
  • John Abrams - South Mountain Company
  • Daniel Aldana Cohen - Moderator - Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania

City Leadership: Economic Recovery and Shared Prosperity Through Worker Ownership

Presented in English | Download session materials

As we look towards rebuilding our local economies in the months and years ahead, Cities can enact policies and programs that support worker cooperative formation for struggling businesses and unemployed workers. This panel discussion will feature city leaders that are advancing innovative worker ownership projects that meet community needs today and lay the groundwork for resilient and shared prosperity in their local economies. Attendees will leave the session with ideas and examples of how to work with their cities to support and develop worker cooperatives.


  • Gary Christopher Dickey - City of Durham Office of Economic and Workforce Development
  • Sam Jung - Assistant Director of the Business Development and New Economy Initiatives Team at the NYC Deputy Mayor's Office of Strategic Policy Initiatives
  • Richard Whipple - Deputy Director of the SF Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA)
  • Zen Trenholm - SEEED Program Manager with the Democracy at Work Institute
  • Vanessa Bransburg - Senior Managing Director at the Democracy at Work Institute
  • Anh-Thu - Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Democracy at Work Institute

Leveraging Impact Capital to Scale Employee Ownership

Presented in English

This panel will explore emerging strategies in scaling employee ownership using innovative investment structures and impact capital.


  • Brendan Martin - The Working World
  • Brett Jones - Evergreen
  • Jonathan Ward - ICA Group
  • Phil Reeves - Legacy Business Initiative Fund at the Democracy at Work Institute
  • Todd Leverette - Moderator - Legacy Business Program Manager at the Democracy at Work Institute

Financial Accounting for Cooperatives: A Question & Answer Skill Building Session

Presented in English | Download session materials in English and Spanish

How do we calculate patronage and profit sharing? How do internal capital accounts work? What should worker-owners know about PPP loan forgiveness? How does this affect worker-owners of LLC co-ops vs employee-owners of co-ops? How can we make sure our accounting and finance systems enable us to make good decisions as a group? Do you have cooperative bookkeeping and accounting questions? A Bookkeeping Cooperative, Wegner CPAs, and Open Bookkeeping will lead a session illustrating some basic financial concepts shaped by the specific challenges and curiosities you're facing in your cooperative. This will be an interactive session facilitating the sharing of the collective wisdom among participants. Bring your coop financial questions!


  • Annie Sullivan-Chin - A Bookkeeping Cooperative
  • Alex Fischer - Open Bookkeeping
  • Bruce Mayer - MBA, CPA Wegner CPA's

Worker Cooperatives for Liberation

Presented in English | Download session materials in English and Spanish

The year 2020 has been marked by a global pandemic, increased political repression and a failing economy. These crises have only exacerbated long standing issues such as a widening wealth gap, disproportionate access to resources, state sanctioned violence and a legacy of exploitation and extraction. In this session we will explore how the practice of cooperative economics has historically been and continues to be a tool for liberation. Worker Cooperatives in particular are sites where some of the most oppressed communities are building power and practicing community care and resiliency. Join us in this session as we respond to the questions "what are worker coops” “why coops?” and “why now?”.


  • Rachel Isreeli - RiseBoro Community Partnership & Central Brooklyn Food Democracy Project
  • Ashleigh Eubanks - RiseBoro Community Partnership & Central Brooklyn Food Democracy Project

Worker Self-Directed Nonprofits: Building Liberatory and Democratic Nonprofit Organizations

Presented in English | Access Closed Captioning | Session Materials 1 | Session Materials 2

Nonprofit movement organizations often recreate the dynamics of domination and exclusion that we are working to transform. This session will explore practices and structures that nonprofit organizations can use to distribute leadership and create more equitable and liberatory working conditions. We will introduce ways to distribute power and labor more equitably, make good decisions together, engage with conflict generatively, and other tools for sharing power and leadership. We will spend a significant amount of time on one particular tool in our toolkit - breaking down static jobs into dynamic and evolving “circles” and roles. Participants will come away with specific tools and new ideas about how to embody the world we want to see in our organizations.


  • Ricardo Samir Nuñez - Director of Economic Democracy at the Sustainable Economies Law Center
  • Chris Tittle - Director of Land and Housing Justice at the Sustainable Economies Law Center

Anti-Racist Hiring Practices

Presented in English | Session Materials

Too often cooperatives and nonprofits fail to consider the intentions of their mission for internal HR practices, like hiring. Even in cooperative businesses, any unjust hiring practices exacerbate disparities in wealth and opportunities based on class, gender, disability, documentation & status, and are a powerful accelerant of structural racism. Democratic workplaces have the power to intervene with anti-racist hiring practices. A thoughtful hiring process can build alignment around equity in the workplace while strengthening your team by ceasing over scrutiny of Black and Brown applicants. This workshop will cover: organizing and outlining your hiring process; lawful and unlawful pre-employment questions and practices; building a criteria-based approach to help you understand your co-op needs, assess fairly, and prevent discrimination and bias in your hiring process; reading and assessing resumes, cover letters, and applications with an awareness of power and bias; and anti-racist practices in conducting interviews.


  • Esteban Kelly - Executive Director for the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives

Using Spreadsheets for Small Businesses

Presented in Spanish

Requirement to participate: A Gmail account, access to a computer, basic computer experience.

This workshop will cover the uses and benefits of virtual spreadsheets. Participants will learn how to create spreadsheets using Google Sheets, how to format, edit and organize business information so that it can be used later. You will learn

  • Examples and uses that can be applied immediately to improve the management of cooperative operations.
  • How to keep information about the business up to date to make important and informed decisions.
  • How to use spreadsheets to keep information organized and within reach about clients, workers, invoices, etc., rather than maintaining information manually, which can take a long time with more possibilities to make mistakes.

Thanks to the power of computers, calculations can be made automatically using spreadsheets, which saves time and helps to make fewer mistakes.


  • Alexander Onate - Apple Eco-Cleaning
  • Erika Gonzalez - Apple Eco-Cleaning
  • Maria Aguilar - Apple Eco-Cleaning
  • María Buendia - Apple Eco-Cleaning
  • Isabel Castillo - Apple Eco-Cleaning
  • Guacolda Maturama - Apple Eco-Cleaning


Keynote: Maurice Mitchell

Access Closed Captioning

Existing inequalities are exacerbated during crises. This fact has been well-documented over the past few months as the pandemic has disproportionately affected Black and Brown communities. Relief efforts have been equally damaging, failing to help many business owners of color retain jobs and keep the doors open.

As protests continue across the country calling for the dismantling of anti-Black systems of oppression, the time for action in the name of justice is now. Growing worker ownership is part of the equation that delivers racial and economic justice to the communities we must rebuild together.

About Maurice Mitchell

Maurice Mitchell is a nationally-recognized social movement strategist, a visionary leader in the Movement for Black Lives, and a community organizer for racial, social, and economic justice. Born and raised in New York to Caribbean working-class parents, Maurice began organizing as a teenager—and never stopped.

Two tragedies changed the course of Maurice’s life. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy destroyed Maurice’s house in Long Beach, NY and left him living in hotels for months. Eighteen months later, after Mike Brown was killed by police in Missouri, Maurice relocated to Ferguson to support organizations on the ground.

In 2018, Maurice took the helm of the Working Families Party as National Director where he is applying his passion and experience to make WFP the political home for a multi-racial working-class movement.


Hacking the U.S. Healthcare System

Presented in English | Session Materials 1 | Session Materials 2

"The United States healthcare system is woefully inadequate at meeting our needs for equitable and accessible healthcare. Though our precarious economy and the rise of gig workers makes our current system more untenable by the day, US healthcare is locked in the staid expectation that healthcare should primarily be provided through traditional full-time employment.

How can worker coops navigate providing healthcare for their members when cost and regulations create barriers? How can we envision a healthcare landscape that doesn’t tie access to care to employment? In this panel, we’ll hear from worker coops that have created avenues for accessing healthcare, and from organizations that are carving out ways to access healthcare beyond the workplace. We will discuss the successes and challenges of attempting to circumvent the current healthcare landscape, and discuss pathways to a future where we all have access to the healthcare we need."


  • John Blaska - Everspring Health
  • Kevin Bayuk - LIFT Economy
  • Molly Hemstreet - Industrial Commons
  • Maddie Taterka - USFWC


Centering the Work That Sustains Us: Direct Care Worker Cooperatives

Presented in English | Session Materials

Direct care work has always been essential, but our economy does not meaningfully value the people who work in these industries though wages and work conditions. Homecare and childcare cooperatives are a powerful tool in ensuring safe, fairly compensated, and stable work environments - particularly for marginalized communities. Hear from worker owners who have spent decades in the homecare and childcare fields on how their co-ops have created better opportunities for frontline workers, and the importance of working with labor unions and workers rights organizations to take care of essential workers.


  • Adria Powell - Cooperative Home Care Associates
  • Daniella Preisler - Colmenar Consulting
  • Susan Kavchuk - Childspace Cooperative

Reparations and the Cooperative Movement

Presented in English | Access Closed Captioning | Session Materials

This session will explore the significance, legitimacy and precise nature of the demand for reparations and how we should respond to it within the cooperative movement. Ed Whitfield was Co-founder and Co-managing director of Fund for Democratic Communities (F4DC) and one of the founders of the Southern Reparations Loan Funds (SRLF), now a regional network within Seed Commons, which grew out of the Southern Grassroots Economies Project (SGEP). SGEP was focused on building a cooperative solidarity economic movement in the US South through training, advocacy and securing resources for Southern Cooperatives. Ed is also a member of NCOBRA (National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America) and has been a speaker at several of their conferences, elevating the importance of cooperative economic development. With the sunsetting of F4DC, Ed has moved to Clarksdale MS where he has helped to found the Delta Commons Group, doing Cooperative Community Economic development work in the Mississippi/Arkansas Delta and he is also doing consulting work assisting with the proposed community buy-out and development of the Crenshaw Mall in downtown Los Angeles. In our workshop Ed will talk about the reparations movement and how it affects existing and proposed projects to help marginalized communities meet their needs and elevate the quality of life.

Worker Co-ops around the World

Presented in English

Stories of worker co-ops, featuring our international partners.


  • Luis Alvez - Coordinador del Museo y Parque Fernando García del departamento de Cultura de la ciudad de Montevideo
  • Osamu Nakano - Director of International Relations Department at Japan Workers’ Co-operative Union (JWCU)
  • Olga Oyier - Kenya Country Team Lead and Policy & Legislative Affairs Specialist at Global Communities’ USAID CLEAR Program
  • Berkin Şafak Şener - Board Member, Youth Deal Cooperative in Turkey
  • Diana Dovgan - Moderator - Secretary General of CECOP