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Recently the PCOC guided three local game developers to form a cooperative game development company, the Glory Society. It’s a worker cooperative that makes video games. We met with one of the team to chart out the basics of the type of legal entity, operating agreement, ownership, and decision making structures.

Good luck, Scott, Bethany, and Wren!

City of Pittsburgh Task Force on Employee Ownership

The Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives presents the opportunities of cooperative business to the City Council of Pittsburgh. Ron Gaydos presented background, an overview of formation and operations, and opportunities of business conversions to worker-owned cooperatives recently. Also presenting were the PA Center for Employee Ownership and representatives from three employee-owned businesses.

After presentations were made, a task force on employee ownership was proposed and well-received.  Look for updates here in the near future.

A video of the entire post-agenda hearing is here.  Media Advisory is here.


What would a Pittsburgh water cooperative be like? What are it’s advantages?

A consulting firm hired to assess Pittsburgh’s water infrastructure performance and prospects recently concluded that the PWSA should be controlled by a “public trust”.

I say “Let’s privatize our water.” Wait! What? MORE…


Read the story on the PCOC’s Covivi platform cooperative in the Post-Gazette.

A platform co-op is basically a virtual co-op. You can use one for booking services, or marketing your services (like the ride-sharing or short-stay platforms) BUT members will share profits and help to govern Covivi.


Check out a recent article on the activities of the Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Cooperative in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette!



JOIN US AT OUR SESSION May 16, 2018 at 1 PM for “Cooperatives: Traditionally Cutting Edge Business for More Resilient Communities”

Since 1819, cooperatives have been the vehicle for traditional business sectors, and now, digital services in Pittsburgh and western PA. Often responding to economic distress, cooperatives have provided a means to equitable livelihoods and communities despite an economy beset by an extractive approach that aggravates income and wealth inequality and gentrification while undermining democratic values. Cooperatives also present a promising opportunity for under-represented people, facilitating diverse participation in business, and increasing worker control over compensation and working conditions. Five members of various cooperatives in the Pittsburgh area will tell their story of why they “went co-op”, how it’s working for them (success and challenges), and their plans to make their cooperatives more successful and grow opportunities for more people. Special attention will be given to highlight advantages, challenges, and how existing organizations can convert to cooperative models.

Business and economic development practitioners will have a new tool to improve the prospects of workers stuck in part-time employment, in industries with typically poor working conditions. We’ll show how cooperatives are creating more personal and community wealth for people with these challenges.

Session presenters:

Ron Gaydos, Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives
Raqueeb Bey, Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Cooperative *
Josh Lucas, Work Hard Pittsburgh Cooperative *
Ben Ledewitz, Fourth River Workers Guild *
Lakeisha Wolf, Ujamaa Collective
Trevor Young-Hyman, Katz School of Business, University of Pittsburgh

* Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives member organization

Work Hard in Pittsburgh the Cooperative Way!

By Ron Gaydos

Can a company be profitable enough to influence the economy and still be devoted to its employees, its community, and its environment? About 50 men and women working out of a storefront office in Allentown think so.

Never willing to dismiss the potential for good of some well-aimed cash, Work Hard Pittsburgh co-founder Josh Lucas says “progressives don’t do a good enough job of amassing wealth to make social change. We can’t fight this battle with one hand tied behind our back, and that’s the hand trying to reach the wallet!”

Sounds good, but      MORE . . .

Worker-Owned Businesses Get More Support From D.C.

By Oscar Perry Abello | September 12, 2017

Federal officials and policymakers are putting more emphasis on worker-ownership of businesses. This support comes at a time when the cooperative model — a business owned and controlled by its workers, who each usually get an equal share of the profits — could become crucial to preserving many small businesses under threat of closing due to aging owners wishing to retire.

Last week, the Small Business Administration announced this year’s winners in its Program for Investment in Micro- entrepreneurs, or PRIME, and MORE…


COOP Principles No.7 Commitment to Community

Weaving it Together! Principle 7: Concern for Community

Our economy is a story that we tell each other and ourselves every day. It encompasses many of our expectations, ambitions, challenges, and our wellness. All aspects of our communities are part of that story, from the art that is created, goods that are made, services performed, and food that is grown and eaten by all of us. The seventh principle balances business and social welfare, adding two other “bottom lines” to the business equation.

From the Rochdale Principles of the 1840’s comes the acknowledgement that a business is only as healthy as the community where it does business. The updated version of this principle describes a partnership between the cooperative and the community.     MORE …


coop_ecosystem_cities_maps_west_north_carolina_v2Photo: Cooperative Growth Ecosystem

Making it Happen. Principle 6: Cooperation Between Cooperatives.

The sixth principle is cooperation between cooperatives. Principles one through five are discussed in the New People online and at

You don’t have to look very far to see that the working world is changing rapidly all around us. Technological innovation is overtaxing workers while eliminating traditional skilled jobs. In the Pittsburgh region from 2000 to 2014, employer-based jobs declined 5%, while non-employee full-time equivalent employment went up 85%. That’s 9 new “gig economy” jobs for every 1 employer-based payroll job lost during that period. More jobs, maybe, but aren’t Uber and Task Rabbit just race-to-the-bottom ways to pay people less?    MORE …



We’re in the spotlight in Neighborhood Allies‘ “Turning  Up the Heat” newsletter!

“The Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives (PCOC) is leading an inclusive and neighborhood based effort to provide more opportunities for residents and early stage businesses to explore the benefits of becoming cooperative businesses and to help them get established as cooperatives.

With a $15,000 grant from Neighborhood Allies, the PCOC is building working relationships with partners and allies concerned about equitable economic development with a special focus on forming cooperative business, assembling existing cooperative businesses and determining how best to develop the conditions for more cooperative enterprises…” MORE …



Fourth River Workers Guild member meeting

Knowledge is Power! Cooperative Principle 5: Education, Training, and Open Information

Knowledge and institutional wisdom shared by members, officers, managers and elected representatives of cooperatives is key to their effective contribution to the development and sustainability of the cooperative. Outreach to the public, and their education, training, and information, helps to expand the reach of cooperative business, and make the democratic, efficient governance of the cooperative possible.

This is fundamental to the development of a dynamic and resilient cooperative culture.  MORE . . .


Cooperative Principles 3 and 4: The Power to Do Right

By Jeff Jaeger and Ron Gaydos in the New People News

This is the third in our series about the seven principles of cooperatives. In this article we discuss principles number 3 and 4 together.

Remember the first two: voluntary and open participation, and democratic governance. The third and fourth give cooperatives their economic power for individual members and for the community.

Cooperative Principle #3:   Members economic participation: members contribute equally to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative.

Economic participation requires members’ commitment of time, talent, and treasure. It also creates wealth for them.   Wealth. What is it?     MORE…  


Sociocracy governing circle -bossless, efficient!

Cooperative Principle 2: Democratic Member Control

By Jeff Jaeger and Ron Gaydos in the New People News

Cooperatives are business enterprises that are managed and led by all of its workers or members rather than by top-down organization. There is no “boss”, but they have policies and procedures in place to ensure smooth operations, just like any efficient business.

Democratic decision making is one of the most important pieces of the cooperative puzzle, and is MORE …

Inclusion and voluntary membership

Cooperative Principles: Our Framework for a Democratic Economy

By Jeff Jaeger and Ron Gaydos in the New People News

This is the first article in a series of seven that will present the fundamental cooperative principles. The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers in Great Britain codified these principles in 1844. Each of them plays an important part in a successful cooperative.

We’re going to tell you where these principles came from, how they continue into current cooperative culture, and why they’re important. But first, here are all seven:    MORE …

PCOC member Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Cooperative is bringing back the land in Homewood!

For gardeners, planning for spring planting starts now. There are some extra steps for those who want to plant on a vacant lot in the city. On a recent sunny but cold afternoon, urban agricultural specialists and experienced urban gardeners were digging up soil samples for a prospective garden on Monticello Street in Homewood.

Raqueeb Bey and other members of the Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Cooperative and helpers walked through brush and carefully placed samples from marked sections of the lot into brown paper bags to be tested for lead content.   MORE . . .  



Here’s a write-up on the PCOC’s Covivi platform cooperative in the Post-Gazette.

Digital platforms have changed the service industry, allowing any two people with a smartphone or computer to connect to sell rides to the store, a place to stay the night, hire help around the house or in the yard — you name it.

But as the convenience of these platforms makes them a larger chunk of the economy, some worry that freelance workers and independent contractors driving the wealth of Silicon Valley darlings like Uber, TaskRabbit, Craigslist and Airbnb are …. MORE . . .



We’re now an owner of Resonate, a listener and musician stream-to-own cooperative!

Bringing It All Home – The Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Cooperative

By Ron Gaydos in the New People News

I have sat with Raqueeba Bey and Ayanna Jones, the founders of the Black Urban Gardeners  (BUGS) and Farmers Cooperative of Pittsburgh, at one of East End Brewing’s game nights to play the game “Co-opoly” (they had ginger ale) and learn about cooperative business.  MORE…


The Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives is raising awareness about the benefits of co-ops. 

By Marty Levine for the Pittsburgh City Paper

It’s Co-opoly night at the Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives, a kind of chamber of commerce founded this year to encourage worker-owned businesses. Tonight players of the Co-opoly board game are trying to achieve the opposite goal of Monopoly: They’re trying to win together.

It’s confusing for the 20-plus players, since there is only one piece, which they take turns moving around the board. The idea of Co-opoly is to create a business that everyone owns, where everyone has an equal share in the eventual profits, and everyone has a vote in how it runs.    MORE…

See it also on the Co-op Grocer web site!


Allegheny Solar Cooperative – Power Up Your Home, Business, and Community!

By Ron Gaydos for the New People News

Solar energy is great, isn’t it? It creates needed electricity and heat without combustion. It’s decentralized. And it uses a resource that never gives out. Right now, solar energy installations are done one array at a time. Progress in the transition from fossil to renewable solar energy is therefore very slow.

The people who founded the Allegheny Solar Cooperative (ASC) want to speed it up by facilitating more installations all over the region. They’ve decided the best way to do that is through the for-profit cooperative business model.  MORE…


Thinking Outside the Boss: Building Cooperatives in Pittsburgh

by Mary Sico in the New People News

The Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives, founded by Ron Gaydos and Jeff Jaeger, is an exciting new resource for awareness, advocacy, and education about everything co-op in the Pittsburgh area. The Chamber of Cooperatives aims to provide hands-on guidance and training for those wishing to start co-ops, as well as existing businesses looking to make the transition into cooperative life.

Before the Chamber of Cooperatives, there was really no hands-on resource to guide people wishing to start small businesses with co-op aspirations.  MORE…


Ujamaa Collective – Ageless Innovation at Work

By Ron Gaydos in the New People News

The Ujamaa Collective has roots in the distant past of African culture and is bringing economic progress for local women of African descent today.

I stood in Ujamaa’s store, surrounded by the product of many African American women’s hard work, as Executive Director LaKeisha Wolf traced Ujamaa’s history.  MORE…


Fourth River Workers Guild

By Ron Gaydos in the New People News

I met with David Stokes, 28, one of the six worker-owners of Fourth River, a cooperatively owned construction and landscaping company. We met at Bantha Tea (pictured) on Penn Avenue, which Fourth River built out.

Fourth River Workers Guild began when four people taking the Permaculture Design Course decided to make something happen before they lost momentum or enthusiasm after they completed the course. MORE…


The Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives is awarded a grant by Neighborhood Allies!

The PCOC’s target audience are workers and business owners who are interested in a non-hierarchical enterprise; especially people who experience difficulty making a living wage or who are locked into part-time employment, displaced workers, minority business and trades people who very often find inadequate opportunity, and people who are working in industries that typically have poor working conditions.

The PCOC will work in transitional communities such as : the Hilltop neighborhoods, Hazlewood, the Hill, Homewood, Larimer and areas outside of the city such as Braddock and Homestead.   MORE…


The Co-opoly “Untournaments” are a Sprout Fund Grand Idea!

Co-opoly “UnTournament” is a project lead by Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives … This series of informal workshops encourages participants to play Co-opoly.  MORE…