Why a staff collective?

Worcester Roots is a collective of trainers, organizers and fundraisers for environmental justice and co-operatives. The staff collective supports Worcester Roots in fulfilling its mission of organizing for justice through the development of co-operatively run and green initiatives. A staff collective directly models the co-operative economy we hope to see in our city by embodying a directly democratic and horizontal decision-making structure.

What does directly democratic mean? It means that people have a say in the decisions that affect them! This is often done by systems of one-worker-one-vote or consensus decision-making in combination with education and other power-sharing and empowerment techniques.

What does horizontal mean? Instead of the pyramid or hierarchy, we see co-workers and co-operators on the same flat, horizontal level. Being horizontal is a process and requires constant attention to inequities, unhealthy hierarchy and undue authority as it arises.

More on Shared Responsibility, Trust, Equity, Flexibility and Accountability:

  • The staff collective reflects the mission of cooperative development through principles of shared responsibility, participation, and decision-making.
    • Effective Staff Collective structure increases our capacity to foster stronger youth-led cooperative processes, with more staff collective members bringing their diverse experiences.
    • The staff collective also learns from the worker co-ops that we are incubating.
  • Staff collective builds trusting interpersonal relationships amongst staff collective members to:
    • Make work environment both more logistically efficient, but also emotionally and interpersonally more fulfilling.
    • Create stronger accountability amongst staff members based in passion in mission, goals, friendship, and mutual respect, as opposed to individual authority.
  • The staff collective works towards developing shared skills through equitable distribution of responsibilities.
    • We get compensated as close to the same as possible for the work hours we put in, and we avoid large disparities in the amount each of us put in when possible.
    • We share Information consistently and work to have full understanding of all information that affects the organization by all members of the collective. This includes a range of topics from our budget, to issues our individual youth are facing.
    • Through more rotation of some less specialized tasks such as office maintenance coordination, staff collective members can have equity in both stressful and fulfilling tasks.
    • The staff collective is in line with our continued mission of developing alternative workplaces, economies, and generally producing a model for other community based organizations and non-profits.
  • The staff collective is based in flexibility and interdependence.
    • We support each other in personal and collective growth in and out of the workplace.
    • Knowing how to cover for each other creates a more sustainable staff team, not reliant on one or two individuals and we are able to take on responsibilities in times of illness, emergencies, or time away.