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Earthworker Cooperative are a member of Friends of the Earth Australia.
Vale Jack Mundey (17.10.1929 - 10.05.2020)
A true champion for justice, democracy and solidarity, a union hero, a father of the Green Bans (key to the modern environmental movement), Jack is an inspiration & example for us all in Earthworker.
Jack spoke at one of Earthworker's earliest public events in 1999. His speech is as relevant now as it was then (see abridged speech here).
In the words of Earthworker co-founder Dave Kerin:
"Many of us were lucky to have had Jack as mentor and example of the revolutionary life. He lifted people and nature towards a better world and not just a bigger share of this one. His solidarity was with life itself demanding that where it was good that it be shared equally. His leadership helped save buildings, parks and forests but also provided crucial support to the oppressed struggling in Vietnam, Sth Africa, Nth Ireland, Palestine and most importantly the First Nations in Australia (not to mention new migrants, women and LGBTQI comrades in the construction industry and beyond).
Thanks dear comrade Jack for bringing us all on"
If you are not already a member of Earthworker Cooperative you can sign up here and be actively involved in the just-transition to a cleaner and fairer economy. Any questions about membership do please get in touch by replying to this email.
If you would like to donate to Earthworker Cooperative you can do so here. Any donations are really appreciated!
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So what’s happening in each of the Co-ops?
Here’s an update, as well as information on how you can support or get involved in each one:
Earthworker Energy Manufacturing Cooperative (EEMC) -
These are challenging and uncertain economic times, but the co-operators at EEMC are still making premium solar hot water products at the Morwell factory, albeit at a slower pace while taking care with social distancing and hygiene.
After much work, we now have our CNC laser-cutting machine running again, which is a significant milestone. While not yet operating at its full capacity, we're now able to use the machine to cut the stainless steel sheets we use to make our tanks. We hope, as resources allow, to undertake further software upgrades on the machine, which would allow us to do a wider range of cutting work.
Earthworker Energy is now also a registered vendor with Brighte, meaning it's now possible for home-owners to access Earthworker Energy solar hot water products through a Brighte affordable payment plan or green loan. We noticed a definite drop-off in inquiries following COVID-19 restrictions and hardships, so we think this option will be increasingly important moving forward.
With winter coming, and the economic stress of the COVID-19 crisis affecting many, we believe there hasn't been a more important time to ensure vulnerable households have access to energy-saving technology like ours. We're glad to see Friends of the Earth calling for this and other important measures as part of a new 'Blueprint for Climate Justice'. State procurement of locally-made renewable energy products for low-income households would have immediate impact on household financial stress, pollution reduction, and would help safeguard local manufacturing jobs at this difficult time for us all!
Find more information on the EEMC website
Redgum Cleaning Cooperative -
While domestic cleans have been on hold for Redgum due to the pandemic, our members have still been hard at work. Cleaning at the Australian Services Union offices has continued with extra precautions and we've been making plans to re-enter domestic cleaning when it's safe to do so. We've also been kept busy with lots of back end admin work, social media and website updates (including a brand new Instagram!) and updating our OHS policy to suit these changing times. On a positive note, some Redgum members have been approved for the Jobkeeper program! Many of our members have also been working on other projects and campaigns within our broader communities, including fighting for a rent and mortgage amnesty and creating a seed distribution network!
If you are interested in engaging Redgum’s services when they recommence work, please get in touch!
Hope Cooperative -
Hope has a short term response "Food for Hope" and financial support action happening to make sure its members survive this COVID-19 downturn. Our full members are almost all excluded from government support, and are not eligible for JobSeeker or JobKeeper payments. We've had some really great responses, largely from Youthplus Living Support Fund donations (to contribute, see details below), and a couple of grants through the Quakers. We recently purchased a second hand freezer, which is assisting us in providing food to our members in need. Members who are still earning have also been contributing and others giving lots of time to delivering food to people who have no income.
We are staying in touch with members who are isolated and struggling with the move to online study. Hope is also so happy to have four new board members, three of whom are women, bringing good gender balance to the board.
Or Donate via Bank Transfer:
BSB - 064786
Acc - 523030100
Reference - LSF
Like and Share about HOPE Co-op on facebook
Cooperative Power -
Cooperative Power has recently celebrated our 100th customer member and support is growing for this new cooperatively owned energy retailer! We've also recently launched our great new website for you to check out. As you would've seen in our previous email, CoPower are offering a solidarity credit initiative to assist customers in the COVID-19 crisis. CoPower are passing on 100% of our revenue to customer members, who can choose to accept this $50 assistance or pass it onto their member organisation (like Earthworker or Friends of the Earth Melbourne) or another customer in need.
Like and share about CoPower on facebook
Powering Victoria Cooperative Steering Committee
Powering Victoria is nearing completion of our final report, for publication in late May/early June. It includes proposals for a full service Earthworker energy cooperative owned by its member driven organisations, large scale battery storage, energy auditing and retrofitting and an Earthworker Housing Cooperative. The relevance and significance of such a report cannot be understated, particularly in COVID-19 times of hardship and economic collapse, such a proposal shows a way forward that will leave no one behind.
Upcoming Event: 'Disaster Cooperativism' Webinar -
Earthworker is putting together an online webinar on Friday the 5th of June. We will have three panelists to discuss cooperatives and their place in rebuilding our economy post COVID-19 to one that is democratic, equitable and accessible. Speaking on the night will be; Eleanor Coffey (co-founder and worker-member of Redgum Cleaning Co-op), Dr. Tim Thornton (Director of the School of Political Economy) and Natasha Heenan (Political Economist). This event will be ticketed by suggested donation, as a fundraiser for Earthworker Cooperative. More details to come soon.
Some further reading, listening and viewing:
- Listen back to an interview with Katherine Cunningham (Earthworker & Earthworker Energy Manufacturing Coop) and Godfrey Moase (Cooperative Power) on Friends of the Earth's Dirt Radio, as they discuss the question 'Are Cooperatives the Future?'
- To learn more about Jack Mundey, the BLF and the Green bans: Jack Mundey was an Australian hero who saved Sydney from the bulldozers and shaped a generation of activists
- Co-founder of Earthworker and longtime activist and unionist Dave Kerin explains the Green Bans and their influence on politics and unionism: Victorian Trades Hall: Museum Case 14: The Green Bans