A walk-through of our annual event celebrating home care worker ownership
Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA) is the largest worker-owned cooperative in the United States.
What is a Cooperative?
Cooperatives are businesses owned by “member-owners” and in-home care cooperatives these member-owners are home care workers. Co-ops are democratically controlled by their member-owners, and unlike a traditional business each member gets a voice in how the business is run. CHCA employs over 1,600 workers, predominantly women, of which half are worker-owners. Worker Ownership is a voluntary membership at CHCA, which is offered after 3 months of employment.
Our Annual Celebration
Each year, CHCA hosts an annual event to celebrate and promote worker ownership. Both worker-owners and non-worker-owners are invited to participate. For our current worker-owners, it is a celebration of the democratic role they play at CHCA. Worker-owners contribute their voice in organizational decisions, such as board elections, profits, and changes to our governance structure. The goal for our annual event is to help non-member-owners learn more about the benefits of being a member-owner so it’s filled with fun and educational activities.
CHCA worker-owners and non-worker owners!
Partnering with our Coops and Coop Friendly Organizations!
Our theme for the day uplifted one of the cooperative principles, “Cooperation Among Cooperatives”. This principle speaks to our power in numbers and our culture of unity. CHCA invited several local NYC coops and coop-friendly organizations to table at the event, with the goal of educating our workers on the services their organizations provide for us and our community. We also shared how CHCA works collaboratively with these other organizations. Shout out to the organizations that participated: The United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC), Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC), Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners (NTFP), Cooperative Economic Alliance of New York City (CEANYC), and Algarbria Language Coop!
Our partners, 1199 SEIU attended the event as well. Vice President Keith Joseph stopped by and spent several hours socializing with the employees. 1199 donated monetary raffles to the employees, which brought much excitement to the room. Union delegates also tabled at the event to provide information and answer questions.
An Event for Everyone!
As CHCA home care workers entered the event, they were greeted and registered by our HR staff members. Everyone was provided with three different handouts: one document provided examples of how CHCA has worked with different Cooperatives to support our members and organizations. Our second distribution was a colorful handout that displayed the significant impact that CHCA ‘s practices and beliefs have on our community. Lastly, we provided a fun and easy guide to common misconceptions about worker ownership. In addition to these resources, each worker was given a punch card. Each time they visited a table to hear information from our co-op friends, their card was punched and after several visits, they would be entered into a fabulous gift basket raffle.
Playing Cooperative BINGO!
We played a game we all loved with a fun cooperative twist! CHCA’s Cooperative BINGO is designed to teach us about CHCA, our company’s worker ownership structure, our partners, and the principles that guide Cooperatives. The game got pretty competitive! One of the highlights was that caregivers were able to win prizes as they waited to call out BINGO. This activity was so fun and really helped connect home caregivers and destress. Our events are often five hours long, and on occasions, there have been caregivers that have stayed well over three hours playing, learning, and socializing. Workers were thrilled to sit along with the office staff that popped into the event: Coordinators, Nurses, Receptionists, Managers, and CHCA’s President, Adria Powell all joined and took part in the activities.
Caregivers were asked to think about what worker ownership meant to them and to write their thoughts on multicultural hands (cut out construction paper). Thoughts such as empowerment, my voice matters, democratic control, tax prep, dividends, elections, and much more came up for our team. We asked everyone to tape their “hand” on the board to showcase their thoughts. It was a colorful and thoughtful display! Other caregivers were excited to take pictures in front of the backdrop CHCA staff had created based on our theme of the day, Cooperation Among Cooperatives. And most workers took part in the light refreshment of juice, cheese, and crackers as they played Bingo. And that is how our 2023 annual Celebration went, over 100 caregivers participated!
Are you looking for home care services, connect with us today to get started! Are you a caregiver looking to become a member-owner in a cooperative? Reach out, we’re here for you.
1199 Keith Joseph with Home Care Worker, Noemi, she was one of the Raffle Winners!