Damayan Workers Cooperative Open House
The Damayan Workers Cooperative (DWC) held a packed Open House last weekend at The Nature Conservancy in Manhattan. DWC is a newly formed workers-owned social enterprise that aims to create liveable jobs and to partner with Damayan Migrant Workers Association in organizing the Filipino community towards economic justice. At the open house, DWC Steering Committee members spoke to over 70 guests about the cooperative's vision and the opportunities it would provide for Filipino nannies, babysitters, housekeepers, caregivers, dog walkers and office cleaners. It will focus on giving services for office cleaning and eldercare in its initial formation.
DWC Steering Committee and Damayan members Juana Dwyer, Judith Daluz, Sally Agaton, Edith Mendoza, Lydia Catina and Eric Orpina each presented information on the current conditions of domestic workers and the goals, services and opportunities of a workers cooperative. Judith Daluz stressed that a cooperative means that the workers of the business are also its owners, resting on an autonomous democratic governance structure. Damayan Executive Director Linda Oalican stated that the DWC is envisioned to be an innovative social enterprise that would embrace workers rights and fair labor standards, creating dignified jobs for workers, regardless of immigration status. Oalican confidently told the crowd, “Our workers-owned social enterprise will work.”
Coop experts from the Working World, the Democracy at Work Institute, as well as lawyers from the Community Development Project of the Urban Justice Center, also spoke about how workers cooperative could provide financial stability for worker owners and community empowerment. The speakers discussed what it means for the DWC to be a Limited Liability Company (LLC), cooperative governance, the stages of cooperative development, funding opportunities and how the DWC would be a business owned by workers with a social mission.
In addition, Damayan held a legal clinic that offered free inquiries and consultations to attorneys about immigration and labor cases. Members were able to meet with lawyers to discuss labor trafficking, stolen wages, fraud, and immigration legal issues with attorneys from the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center.
With a strong turnout at the Open House, a committed membership and a core group of allies and Damayan members, it is clear that the DWC has a bright future of sustainable empowerment ahead of it.
The next Cooperative meeting and workers monthly meeting are on November 19, 2016, 11:00am to 5:00pm at The Nature Conservancy conference room 12th floor.
Also, make sure to like the Damayan Workers Cooperative Facebook page for updates, meeting times/locations, Cooperative opportunities and more!
For any questions about Damayan Workers Cooperative please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212.564.6057