At the beginning of June 2019, the Office of the Directorate of Cooperatives and Mutuals - Andean Zone Delegation gave us the papers from INAES, in which it is formally accredited that we can function as a work cooperative. This made us the first software Cooperative in Bariloche and the second in Río Negro. But above all, it opened up a world of joint work networks with other technology cooperatives and with our community.
We've come a long way
Although we have been operating for many years, in 2017 we considered the need to establish ourselves under a figure that would allow us to be an entity and not just a group of seven people working together.
We knocked on some doors, read and chatted, until a colleague said "We should be a cooperative, in practice we are functioning as such, why don't we find out", and that's how we coordinated a talk with Leandro Monk, president of FACTTIC - Argentine Federation of Technology, Innovation and Knowledge Work Cooperatives. He gave us the first glimpse into the cooperative ecosystem and above all he asked us "THE" question. Why do you want to be a cooperative?
We take that task home, think about it. We reaffirm the idea of strengthening a path that we had intuitively started, sharing decisions and strategies to develop professionally. That is, to steer the helm between all of us, and to be able to support and enhance the journey with colleagues.
In January 2018 we started the procedures, the process gave us some anxiety, we had to read, write, present, correct, resubmit. But she also taught us, we really began to experience that we were a cooperative in formation. The most important thing was that each one's voice got louder. We were assuming a role and we feel the pride and responsibility of being part of this project.
Much more than putting on the shirt
Finally the papers arrived, the starting point to unfold plans that we had in mind and others that were emerging along the way. We took a big step by developing more complex projects that required organization with other teams and, in some cases, work in another language due to being located abroad.
Internally, the Council grew stronger and took the lead to advance important initiatives. We created internal regulations to define our regulations and rules of coexistence, as well as to establish rights, such as maternity, paternity and vacation leave. We organize ourselves into work committees by theme, to specify definitions reached in the assemblies, and among the most important decisions, we take that of growing by adding three new colleagues.
On the other hand, at the inter-cooperative level, we understood that there is a growing circuit, which moves reticularly when it comes to solving problems or addressing policies. Just as we are committed to building bridges and supporting ourselves in solidarity at the group level, we decided to replicate it and work collaboratively at the inter-cooperative level. For this reason we are associated with FACTTIC and FeCoRN (Federation of Cooperatives of Río Negro), and we began to participate in the network of technological cooperatives in the country.
Taking stock, we realize that there is still a long way to go, but also that this path has already taught us important lessons. Above all, we reaffirm that we are where we want to be, convinced that we want to uphold labor logics contrary to exploitation, and in which we are constituted as subjects of action that move with others. That is why we say, "this is much more than putting on the shirt ... it is making it."