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Cooperation Among Cooperatives Meets Concern for Community


When the worker-owners at Isthmus Engineering & Manufacturing learned about the shortage of personal protective equipment for workers they did what good engineers do – they solved a problem. The Madison, WI cooperative retooled production to manufacture face shields based on an open source design developed by the University of Wisconsin Engineering School.

But then they went a step further, in the spirit of cooperative principles 6 (cooperation among cooperatives) and 7 (concern for community), the cooperative's board voted to donate 4,000 masks with many of them going to worker-owned home care cooperatives. Home care cooperatives have seen a decrease in client hours due to a shortage of protective gear, safety concerns, and family members at home to provide care. The Isthmus contribution made it possible for cooperatives to care for clients they otherwise would have been unable to serve.

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