Antioch University Urban Sustainability Residency
July 31- August 3, 2014
During this residency we learned about different ways to look at the economy including different ways to do business. We had a Skype conversation with Ed Whitfield, Co-Founder and Co-Managing director of the Fund for Democratic Communities on his perspective. We also spent time brainstorming about what it would look like if clothing company American Apparel converted to a worker-owned cooperative model. It was during this residency that our team came together to collaborate on a capstone project that would focus on worker cooperatives.

Los Angeles Co-op Lab Retreat
January 29 – February 1, 2015
After our 10-week intensive and Bay Area co-op tour we participated in a planning retreat facilitated by Gilda Haas. Here we were introduced to Victor Narro from the UCLA Labor Center and had our first meeting with Kelly Orians, a UCLA law student working along with fellow student, Rica Garcia, on a parallel process designed to serve the needs of worker centers and worker cooperatives in Los Angeles. During this retreat we identified seven local worker centers we thought might be interested in conversations about worker owned cooperatives:

  1. IDEPSCA (Instituto de Educacion Popular del Sur de California)
  2. Pilipino Workers Center (PWC)
  3. The Los Angeles Black Workers Center (LABWC)
  4. Restaurant Opportunities Center
  5. Korean Immigrant Workers Alliance
  6. CLEAN Carwash Campaign
  7. Garment Workers Center
 Antioch University Urban Sustainability Spring Residency

April 28 – May 3, 2015

During our spring residency we worked with the Los Angeles Black Worker Center. The residency, titled, “Do You See Me Now? Race, Jobs and Equity in Los Angeles,” focused on the LABWC’s current campaigns to increase access to quality jobs; reduce employment discrimination; and improve industries that employ Black workers through action and unionization. This helped us better understand their mission and the potential for future worker cooperative development.
Business Model Presentation Retreat

June 27, 2015

We came together for a full day to review our business model deconstructions and begin brainstorming about building our own business model for supporting worker cooperatives in Los Angeles.

Our model deconstructions were focused on four cooperative developers to document value propositions for their clients using the Business Model Generation Canvas tool:

  1. The Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives, Oakland, CA (business development)
  2. Center for Family Life, Brooklyn, NY (cooperative incubator)
  3. WAGES (presently known as PROSPERA), Oakland, CA (cooperative incubator)
  4. The Working World U.S., New York, NY (collaborative venture capital)

By unbundling these models we were able to extract their best attributes and compare them side by side to understand what could potentially work in Los Angeles.