Worker Cooperatives

Businesses that are owned and democratically controlled by their workers/employees (called "worker-owners").

We as the solidarity economy movement are not at the political, economic, or cultural scale that we need to be at to start seriously addressing in real practice the idea of large scale markets vs. planning.

Cuba is decentralizing its economy, offloading state enterprises to private enterprise, but more importantly, to cooperatives, in the hope that these will become the locus of socialism and a driver of the economy. We visited ten of them in January [2015].

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On June 25, 2015 I visited a cooperative network in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It is named Unisol, which stands for Union of Cooperatives and Solidarity Enterprises. Unisol was an offshoot of the labor union movement and progressive political movement. It was started by the metal workers’ union of the Labor Party (PT).

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Unions met with worker cooperatives November 13th and 14th to consider how the two can work together to build an economy balancing profits with wider ownership, higher labor standards, environmental conservation, and community well-being. The Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative (CUCI) organized the symposium connecting varied unions with worker co-ops or planned co-ops across the country.

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A movement to build worker cooperatives as a tool of economic and community development is blossoming in Cincinnati.  Much of that work is attributable to three decades of work and personal sacrifice by Raymond West, a cooperative developer who was also a Catholic who tried to live out his values and who encouraged other religious leaders to do the same.

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On Tuesday, December 8th the three co-authors of the recent Building Co-operative Power: Stories and Strategies from Worker Co-

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[Editor's note: for background information about SolidarityNYC's #SolidiarityCities project, see the first article in the series here.]

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Background

This report is part of an ongoing process of documenting and making public the research that has informed the organizing of the Cooperative Economics Alliance of New York City (CEANYC), a cross-sectoral organization incubated by SolidarityNYC.

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Panelists Ed Whitfield of the Fund for Democractic Communities, Emily Kawano of the US Solidarity Economy Network, Maya Schenwar of Truthout, and Gar Alperovitz of the Democracy Collaborative, discuss how people can come together to create a more just and sustainable economic system, a "next system."  The panel is moderated by Keane Bhatt of The

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The Death-Star Platforms vs Co-operation meme is the latest soap-box for the Non-Profit Industrial Complex, academic/punditry division. Uber and AirBnB disintermediate the taxi and hotel industies. They are cold-blooded, VC funded extractive businesses. But we must not misunderstand the re;atove value of their "platform" (the software) in their business model.

[Editor's note: the following data on worker co-op crowdfunding campaigns was compiled by Jessie Myszka for the Democracy at Work Network (DAWN) from publicly available information.]

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In October of 2014, the First South American Regional Meeting on “The Worker Economy” was held in the town of Pigüé. More than two hundred workers, cooperators, and university students from Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil participated in this meeting. The intent was to create a space for debate, reflection, and coordination between self-managed workers, different kinds of cooperative experiences, unions, and social movements related to the working class and economic debate, together with social and political activists, intellectuals, and academics committed to these struggles and processes. This article explores the genesis and development of this experience that, together with the European Meeting in Gémenos, close to Marseilles, and the Meeting of North and Central America in Mexico City, consolidated the preparation for the Fifth International Meeting in Punto Fijo, Venezuela, in July of 2015.
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The US economy is known for its powerful banks and transnational corporations, but behind the scenes an alternative economy based on cooperatives, worker ownership and solidarity is thriving. Laura Flanders, host of a TV show shares stories of this new economy and how the Next System Project is seeking to analyse and learn from these experiences in order to put forward systemic alternative policies that can deliver a more just and sustainable society.

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[Editors note: We're excited to announce two new ebooks from Las Indias, a trans-national, egalitarian community.  These books were translated from the original Spanish by Level Translation and are now available in English for the first time.  Below you will find a short excerpt and a preview chapter from each book.  If you would like to download a copy (in .epub, .pdf, and Kindle-compatible formats), just click the buttons below--you can even make a contribition to help Level and GEO keep bringing you these in

As worker-owners, we’re used to doing things ourselves. We start businesses, figure out democratic decision-making, and confront systemic issues that deny wealth to communities. We’re tenacious and self-governing, so why limit our influence to our workplaces? As our movement grows—and it is, rapidly—we’re innovating faster than the law can keep up, often operating in gray areas that can be as uncertain as they are productive.

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At the age of 19, Roberto Luis Rodriguez Rosario was serving a 125-year prison sentence in Puerto Rico.  The experience was devastating.  

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[Editor's note: the three interviews below were recorded during the 2015 Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy (ECWD).  Armando, Joe and Labbe talk about their respective co-ops and their experiences as worker-owners.  Be sure to watch our other interviews from ECWD and GEO's own conference (ADWC 3) here and here.]

 

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