Community, Labor and Elected Leaders Examine Opportunities for Cooperatives in Nashville at the CoopEconNash Summit at TSU

Community, Labor and Elected Leaders Examine Opportunities for Cooperatives in Nashville at the CoopEconNash Summit at TSU

Cooperatives are a potential remedy to the growing income and wealth gap in Nashville.

On Saturday, experts in establishing cooperative enterprises led a day long summit of lectures and workshops for Nashville community leaders, labor unions and elected officials.  The purpose of the summit was to identify what cooperative models could fit in Nashville and in which parts of the city they are most needed.   

AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre gave opening remarks and said, “For every billionaire we create, thousands are left in poverty.  We cannot sustain our economy in this way.”

The summit was hosted by TSU, and organized by Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (NOAH), the Central Labor Council of Nashville and MIddle Tennessee, UAW Local 737 and Tennessee Alliance for Progress.  Metro Council members Freddie O’Connell, Fabian Bedne, Jim Shulman, Bob Mendes, Colby Sledge and John Cooper were in attendance, as well as a representative of Mayor Megan Barry's office, Ashford Hughes. 

Representatives  from the Southern Grassroots Economies Project detailed the success they have had creating cooperative enterprises modeled after the worker-owned cooperatives of Mondragon, Spain and Emilia Ramagno, Italy.

During the summit,  representatives from Union Cab (Madison, WI), Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative (Ohio), Project Equity (San Francisco, CA), Renaissance Community Cooperative (Greensboro, NC), Three Rivers Market (Knoxville, TN), and Workers Dignity (Nashville, TN) spoke about their experiences, successes and failures. 

Alder Rebecca Kemble of the Madison, WI common council spoke about the Madison, WI initiative to invest in co-op development. Madison is investing $600,000 per year for five years in cooperative/worker-owned businesses.  In describing why, Madison Mayor Paul Slogin has said, "With a cooperative you don't have to worry about a buy-out," says Soglin. "You don't have to worry about a CEO one day picking up and moving the company to Fargo. With a cooperative you can have confidence that the company and the wealth it generates is going to stay local."

Nashville can be the next city to embrace this sustainable, sensible model of economic growth, and the summit on Saturday was a first step in that process.

 

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Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee posted about Community, Labor and Elected Leaders Examine Opportunities for Cooperatives in Nashville at the CoopEconNash Summit at TSU on Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee's Facebook page 2015-12-08 11:32:16 -0600
Community, Labor and Elected Leaders Examine Opportunities for Cooperatives in Nashville at the CoopEconNash Summit at T