Begun in the spring of 2013, WORCs (Worker-Owned Rockaway Cooperatives) is an initiative to rebuild after Sandy in a way that addresses both the storm’s impact and the long-term systemic issues in the neighborhood. The program’s goal is to equip Far Rockaway residents with the skills and financing to launch small, worker-owned businesses that fill a need in their community. As of spring of 2016, WORCs has run two cooperative academies with plans to run more in the future. They have successfully incubated Roca Mia, a construction company, and Luv Custom Prints, a screenprinting cooperative.
An exposed peninsula of Queens, New York, Far Rockaway was one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy. When the storm hit in October, 2012, it flooded the neighborhood, destroying thousands of homes and businesses, displacing hundreds of families and disrupting daily life in the community for months.
Yet, the daily challenges of life in this impoverished community of color began decades before the storm landed. Residents explain that they have been weathering the slow hurricanes of poverty, unemployment, poor education and lack of access to healthcare for years. Hurricane Sandy merely accentuated the destruction wrought by these continuous crises.
Childcare for monthly assemblies
W.O.R.Cs. is a joint initiative between The Working World and Occupy Sandy. Occupy Sandy organizers approached members of the Working World, who they knew through Occupy Wall Street, and together they came up with the idea. The project is based out of one of the hubs used for distribution directly after the Hurricane, The Church of the Prophecy on Cornaga Ave in Far Rockaway, Queens.
Incubate and support worker owned cooperatives in areas hit by Hurricane Sandy
The Working World