With over 9,000 co-operatives spread across its provinces, Canada is also the host some of the world’s most northerly co-operatives. These are members of Arctic Co-operatives, a federation of 31 co-operative enterprises in Canada’s Arctic Community.

The Market Basket situation is indeed, as many commentators have remarked, nearly unprecedented in the annals of American labor relations: When have we ever seen so many workers protest so vigorously for, rather than against, their boss!

It started in 2002 with the aim of doing something about the so-called food desert Ahmadi and others encountered in the low-income area of West Oakland.  Big supermarkets tend to avoid development in densely populated and low-income urban areas, in part because of high costs and employee turnover.

The owners of a successful New England grocery store chain are in a family feud over whether company profits should go to shareholders or to employees, some of whom have abandoned their shifts and hit the streets. Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports on the solidarity of non-union Market Basket workers in protesting for their company's popular president.

The U.S. post office on Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. is a bastion on its Harlem block. Entrenched beside a pawnshop, a cash-for-gold business, and a commercial bank many in the neighborhood are unable to use, the facility is essentially a fortress.

In 1921, the Olympia Veneer Company became the first worker-owned cooperative to produce plywood. By the early 1950s, nearly all of the plywood produced in the United States was manufactured by worker-owned cooperatives. Today, however, worker-owned cooperatives seem few and far between.

Editor's note: While this 2010 piece from The American Catholic misses the mark in many ways, it does contain a few solid critiques and considerations for worker co-operatives.  The author adopts many of the standard capitalist criticisms of worker ownership--criticisms we would do well, as cooperators, to formulate cogent responses to, both rhetorical and practical.


Subscribe to Gleanings