“At first I was a bit nervous, a bit afraid, because I didn’t speak English very well and talking about finances and money wasn’t something I knew anything about,” Reyes admitted. “I was kind of lost at the beginning, but after a while, I started getting a better sense of what was going on and I began to learn a lot.
Five years later, Reyes is now A Yard & A Half’s board president. He still works on the field team doing landscaping and hardscaping work, but he now has a much broader range of responsibilities, which include facilitating meetings, developing agendas, and meeting with the executive committee once a month.
A Yard & A Half currently employs 32 workers, 19 of whom are members. New hires do not automatically become members — there is an 18-month waiting period during which workers must attend a workshop series that explains the responsibilities and benefits of being a part of the co-op. These workshops help to educate workers on a wide variety of topics, from cooperative history to business growth strategies and more. Once a worker is brought on as a full member, they can vote in board elections and on a number of issues, like approving new debt and amending the bylaws of the cooperative. They are also required to join one of four committees — finance, education, human resources or the executive committee.
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