What is a worker center?
Worker Centers organize to fight against exploitation and exclusion and some have developed co-ops in the past as a way to create decent employment opportunities for their members in alignment with their democratic values.

Why did we focus on the needs of the worker centers?
We focused on worker centers to build an approach that could serve communities in greatest need as well as communities that had already initiated cooperatives. Through these efforts we hope to promote social and economic justice, local community over corporate power, and urban sustainability throughout Los Angeles based on a system that better values workers.

Some of the worker centers in Los Angeles have developed co-ops in the past as a way to create decent employment opportunities for their members in alignment with their democratic values.  Two examples include a home health care co-op and a job placement co-op for newly-certified green gardeners.

We are learning from their experiences and building our services to support these and other new worker cooperatives in Los Angeles.

Worker Centers in L.A.

L.A. Coop Lab and Worker Centers 
In March of 2015, Victor Narro, Project Director of the Downtown UCLA Labor Center hosted a dinner meeting to introduce our team to the Executive Directors of the worker centers.

In our dialogue worker centers gave examples of past experiences with business-ownership and issues they faced in trying to keep the businesses open. Concerns were also expressed about barriers faced by undocumented workers, and other limits.

For the most part they agreed that if there were a place they could go to for help, some of the issues could be solved.

The worker centers have inspired all aspects of The L.A. Coop Lab’s design , and we are getting ready to do pilot workshops with worker centers.