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Tuesday 7 January 2020 from 7- 9 PM

Ketchup City Creative   612 Main Street   Sharpsburg, PA 15215

Chill with the Chamber! Short talks on cooperative businesses BY cooperative businesses. Play a round of Co-opoly, a great game to immerse yourself in a cooperative business. Enjoy some post-holiday cheer and find out why, or tell why, co-ops rock!



We’re co-sponsoring Green Drinks on October 17th!

COUCH BREWERY – 1351 Washington Blvd, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15206  –  5:30 -8:00 PM

Regular beer, low, and tasty no-alcohol drinks available!

GREEN DRINKS is an excellent opportunity to relax and enjoy the company of others who work in design and sustainability. It meets every month in a convivial location in Pittsburgh.

The October Green Drinks (October is COOPERATIVES MONTH WORLDWIDE!) is co-sponsored by the Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives, the Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Cooperative, and Solar United Neighbors.

Green Drinks is an international forum for environmental, design, and sustainability people – and their friends and the curious! – to meet and share all of the good things they’re doing. Pittsburgh Green Drinks is sponsored by the Citizens Climate Lobby – Pittsburgh Chapter.

News and notes from 2018…

How about 24 / 7 / 365 democracy?

We’ve been busy!

The “Think Outside the Boss” series concluded with over 80 participants and sharing the expertise of 10+ people with experience in cooperatives plus one international expert, Jennifer “Ted” Rau, coming in to guide a two-day workshop on democratic governance in business and community organizations.

We are working with three cooperatives in various stages of formation. Other collaborations are being explored, too.

We have soft-launched the PCOC’s platform cooperative, Covivi, which was inspired by a workshop participant, last year’s Social Justice Innovation Weekend, and a couple of international writers who focus on making the so-called “sharing economy” a real sharing economy. It’s a Pittsburgh area centered platform for people to book their services or to find people whose services they need. We intend to make it a cooperative that uses a booking platform. Check it out and try it out!

We’ve spoken at several events as well. PCOC member organizations Work Hard Pittsburgh and Black Urban Gardeners of Pittsburgh (BUGS) and Fourth River Workers Guild presented a session at the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group’s 2018 Community Development Summit. Joining in were Lakeisha Wolf of Ujamaa Collective and Trevor Young-Hyman from the Katz School of Business at Pitt.

BUGS helped to run a hands-on workshop on consent-based decision making at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s Metro Urban Institute’s 2018 Conference. Ron Gaydos, PCOC Manager, and Dana Harris-Yates from BUGS also conducted a session on non-hierarchical decision making as one of the events for Inclusive Innovation Week in April.

Also in April, Ron spoke to the Living Spring International Pittsburgh, a congregation in Wilkinsburg of mainly African immigrants and refugees, for a business-themed day of presentations.

Ron has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Keystone Development Center, which provides technical assistance and financing for cooperatives in the mid-Atlantic region of the US.

Several people from the PCOC and various member groups have been meeting occasionally to discuss cooperative development and governance issues. We’ll get word out about the next one.

A group of long-time cooperators dedicated to cooperatives and associated with the East End Food Coop are setting up a study group to increase their skill at cooperative decision making. It’s called sociocracy, dynamic governance, or consent-based decision making, but, to be brief, let’s call it sociocracy. It’s inclusive, democratic, AND efficient. To make our businesses and organizations more democratic, we need many ways to do that. This course is an excellent way to get started!

local, in-person 6-session STUDY GROUP (← see details!), is being organized and will be very easy, considering that the organization Sociocracy for All has already put together a curriculum. (The study groups are called “Empowered Learning Circles” and you can see a photo of 7 Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives people who have recently done this at the STUDY GROUP link!) Each class is about 1.5 hours and includes optional readings (15-20 pages/week) + videos that participants watch together.

Most of the effort will be toward the decision making practice and exercises guided by the Empowered Learning Circle curriculum developed by the international training group Sociocracy for All.

(We in that photo in the STUDY GROUP link found it very informative and helpful, even in working groups that are not in cooperatives.)

The Sociocracy for All organization presents sociocracy in an easy-to-grasp way. There are many videos on youtube and many articles, diagrams, etc., on their site, AND they’ve just put together a bookMANY VOICESONE SONG. It’s a great complement to the online course. This is a great resource, as it has the most important articles together in one place PLUS:

75 circle diagrams

55 examples and skits

47 tables and lists

stories from real implementations

lots of examples of what sociocracy sounds like

If you’re unsure about the value of this kind of governance, check these links out:

Here’s just 1 article explaining 1 reason why sociocracy is a good idea: The Myth of “Natural Flow”

& a 4-minute video: Sociocracy: The Operating System of the New Economy

🌷🌷🌷🌷  If you’re interested or have questions, PLEASE RSVP to Karen Bernard using the button below. 🌷🌷🌷🌷


For all the good they can do, many businesses, agencies, and community organizations can also be less than inclusive in their decision making. Increasingly, businesses and community organizations see being more inclusive as a way to create more value in what they do. It’s of course about doing the right thing but also about “firing on all cylinders” and having a diverse set of skills and perspectives in the house.Participants walked out of this event with new acquaintances and colleagues and allies in our quest to make Pittsburgh’s business and community development scene more inclusive, efficient, and vibrant.Here are the slides that framed our talk with everyone who attended.
 Contact us about how the PCOC can help your organization or business be more inclusive and prosper from everyone’s fuller participation. The 2017-2018 “C-School” (Cooperative School) our Think Outside the Boss Workshop Series!

LINK to the SESSION 4 VIDEO  of 26 January 2018:   “For Profit Cooperatives: How Do They Work? SESSION 5:

“For Profit Cooperatives:
                                            How Do They Work?

We’ll be digging in after intros. – Overview  of cooperatives – Formation and Ownership: New co-ops vs. converting existing businesses, how  they are financed, how they operate in the macro market – Operating Structures:  entity types, accounting, compensation methods, membership and HR – Governance: what the cooperative principles recommend, methods of decision making, efficiently “steering the ship”

Q&A Throughout. We want your questions!

What businesses can you think of that might function well as a co-op? How could a co-op be used to help people start a business that might otherwise not be able to do so?

Thanks to the Office of the Mayor, Neighborhood Empowerment, and Small Business Development Manager for co-sponsoring!

What next? How can The Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives help you help your constituents and clients? How can we help others who might be interested what coops are and how they work? How can we use the concept of cooperatives to create a more equitable Pittsburgh?


Thursday, October 12th
at One Hope SquareOctober is Cooperatives month! Come out and learn more. Meet members of the Ujamaa Collective women’s artists cooperative.
Attend this resource fair and walk away with new connections and resources.Light refreshments will be served.Join exhibitors from non-profit groups and others all over Pittsburgh who can help you start or grow your small business! Learn about available assistance with your building, your business plan, financing, mentorship, and other great opportunities for new and established small businesses. Exhibitors include local non-profits, financial institutions, and business consultants. This is a free event and most services offered are free or very low cost.Co-sponsored by the Mayor’s Office, the URA, the Mansmann Foundation, Kiva, & the Hebrew Free Loan Association Have questions or interested in being an exhibitor? Contact Ellen Bateman at

OCTOBER 2018:Pittsburgh Cooperates! A weekend of events with Jessica Gordon Nembhard, a leading voice in the history and workings of cooperatives, and especially Black cooperatives. All free events, co-sponsored by the Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Cooperative, Metro Urban Institute of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Ujamaa Collective, and the Urban Kind Institute!

Please check out our COVIVI  demo at the Social Justice Innovation Weekend Monday evening February 20th at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater! (We’re developing it slowly but surely…)
Complete events:SJIW2017 Flyer

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Come in from the Cold
.. at the East End Food Co-op for a Co-opoly Game Play
Saturday January 28 from 1-4 PM East End Food Coop Conference Room at the Power Center



Co-opoly Untournament & Holiday Meet-UpTuesday December 6, 20165-9 PMFuture Tenant Gallery in the Cultural District819 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh 15222Meet others from the Pittsburgh area working on, interested in, and supporting cooperative business and community initiatives.Refreshments, music, and entertainment.Free, but an RSVP would be great for planning!


pcocsociocracyThink Outside the Boss – GovernanceCooperatives are governed to varying degrees by consensus. Come to this workshop to learn an efficient and effective method for deciding in cooperative businesses and work groups.Learn it by doing it.November 5, 2016 – 12:00pm to 2:00pmatOLA’s HERB SHOP and BOTANICALS
5824 Forbes Avenue, 2nd Floor – Pittsburgh, PA 15217With appreciation for support from  Sprout-Logo-green-trans  and    NA-color-trans

Worker Cooperatives Live! Or …all about business where you, your community, and the Earth matter mostOctober 20, 2016 6:00pm to 9:00pmatSPIRIT LODGE
242 E. 52nd Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Free event ~ food and drinks available ~ ID req’d by the establishmentCome to meet Cooperative worker-owners tell their stories of sharing ownership and its radical advantages. Network with other regional businesses, community groups, and entrepreneurs. PLUS a game corner for hands-on learning to run your own co-op!      RSVP to stay connected!

Cooperatives Workshop October 8! bugs-fpc-grouped

Join us October 8 at 11 AM at the Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers Cooperative Farmers Market at 7240 Frankstown Avenue in Homewood. The PCOC will hold a one-hour workshop on cooperatives, focusing on worker-owned businesses.Check back  for a follow-up workshop on cooperative business decision making in November! Click HERE to be contacted about it! …Also free of charge. 

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Small Business Resource Fair: Cooperatives Edition Tuesday October 11 from 4:30 – 7:00 PM

Beechview Carnegie Library
1910 Broadway Avenue in Beechview 15216Co-sponsored by the Mayor’s Office of the City of Pittsburgh and the
Urban Redevelopment Authority of PittsburghRSVP here (not required but you won’t miss access to helpful resources)This for 1) people who have a conventional business and are considering converting it to a cooperative and 2) people exploring starting  a cooperative from the ground up. People in both situations will also have the opportunity to meet people to help with financing, regulatory and permitting and licensing matters, real estate, and workforce development, to name a few important sides of any successful business.

Come to attend and grow Pittsburgh’s democratically owned business scene!  Free of

PCOC member East End Food Coop is screening this inspiring film about cooperatives past, present, and future, onOctober 13, 2016 at 7:00pmatThe East End Food Co-op7516 Meade Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15208 

Co-opoly “Untournament” in AUGUSTcropped-Co-opolyPic.pngFriday August 19th – 6-8:30 PM
Biddle’s Escape Upstairs
401 Biddle Avenue in WilkinsburgIntro to cooperative business, play a board game that realistically simulates running a cooperative, meet people in cooperative business, and ask your questions. We’ll have answers!RSVP (not required but helps us plan) HERE. 

PCOC Workshop 1 - Braddock - logo

CO-OP WORKSHOP JUNE 8!     5:30 PM at the BRADDOCK LIBRARY419 Library Street Braddock, PA 15104

We at the Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives would like to meet people who want more from their work and are looking for a better way to make a living.
Learn about cooperatives from people you know and some new folks. What are their advantages? Challenges?
Meet other folks in your community interested in cooperatives, and hear from members of a worker owned enterprise about their experience.
Bring a dish to share if you can. We’ll have a simple dinner for all participants at this FREE EVENT.

Share a flyer for posting or distribution…

With appreciation for support from  Sprout-Logo-green-trans  and    NA-color-trans 

cropped-Co-opolyPic.pngCO-OPOLY “UNTOURNAMENT”APRIL 12 at REPAIR THE WORLD!Join us for a potluck game night to play “Co-opoly”, a real-world entrepreneurial game where you are a member of a cooperative.Learn about cooperatives. Test your collaborative skill. Or just watch.Schmooze with this year’s Repair the World Fellows, other folks curious about cooperatives, and members of a worker owned enterprise.

Bring a dish to share if you can.
6-8 PM TUESDAY APRIL 126022 Broad Street Pittsburgh 15206

With appreciation for support from  Sprout-Logo-green-trans  and    NA-color-trans

  Co-opolyPicPittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives GAME NIGHT!JANUARY 19 at EAST END BREWING!Join us for an entertaining game called “Co-opoly” which is what it sounds like: a real-world entrepreneurial game but you are a member of a cooperative. Music, refreshments, and the board game Co-opoly!Learn about cooperatives and test your collaborative skill!7-9 PM JAN 19 at East End Brewing ~ 147 Julius Street Pittsburgh 15206RSVP here to give us an idea of attendance for planning. Thanks!November 25, 2015Hi, East Enders and cooperative supporters! Pin Up Posters Courier Collective is looking to hire a new member for our worker-owned cooperative. We are hiring for a East-End-heavy delivery route, so please check out the details at our website ….. FOUND!!! BUT CHECK OUT PIN UP POSTERS HERE August 26, 2015Pittsburgh Chamber of Coops represents at the Kingsley Association’s Urban Green Growth Collaborative Monthly MeetingCo-Founders Ron Gaydos and Jeff Jaeger were on hand to make a presentation on the cooperative movement, the cooperative business model, and how the Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives can help new and existing worker-owned businesses.Also on the panel were:

  • Marteen Garay speaking on Urban Innovation 21’s 1Worker1Vote collabration
  • Gabe McMorland, Thomas Merton Center New Economy Campaign on the cooperative principles and movement, and
  • Ben Ledewitz, Co-founder of the Three Rivers Workers Guild worker-owned construction and landscaping company

The 30 attendees from around the area listened, asked many questions, and made helpful suggestions on what types of cooperative business opportunities would work best, according to local needs and skilled people available.

SC-Website-Masthead_no-taglineJuly 31, 2015   at   6:00 PM – 8:00 PMScreening of Shift Change, a new film about worker-owned cooperatives.6:00 PM at the Homewood Branch of the Carnegie library of Pittsburgh, 7101 Hamilton Avenue Pittsburgh 15208


What if all kinds of workers owned their workplace, and each worker had an equal vote in decisions about running the business?

SHIFTCHANGE tells the story of worker-owned cooperatives in cities across the country. Meet others interested in starting and supporting cooperative businesses!

Cooperatives – many are worker-owned businesses like the ones in the film – are being established here! Check out Pittsburgh’s own list of co-ops at


With the Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives and Cooperate Pittsburgh.

May 20, 2015
Bloomfield-Garfield Community Center Gathering of the cooperative “curious, capable, and conspiratorial.”  50+ people interested in cooperatives – from community tool sharing to worker-owned businesses – gathered to meet each other and share their experience and needs.This informs how to proceed with the movement as well as how to prepare practical resources for attendees and future members.