Unions & Worker Organizations

Organizations of and for workers, dedicated to building worker power.

                

 

Outline

0)    Preface

1)    Municipalism: A Strategy for Political Education and Building Political Power

2)    Workplace Democracy: A Strategy for Resolving the Impending Jobs Crisis

3)    Revitalizing Organized Labor: A Concrete Plan for Building Union Democracy

Prof. Richard Wolff interviews GEO Collective member Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard about her book Collective Courage: The History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice.

 

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James Razsa talks with Josh Davis about the effort to establish Democracy Brewing in Boston, MA: a worker co-op brew pub, event center and organizing space. James also shares his thoughts on the relations between unions and co-ops, informed by his time working in both movements.

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[Editor’s note: Below are summations of two parts of an Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy workshop that was held July 17, 2005. It is encouraging to note how many of the goals that were set for the movement a decade ago have been, or are in the process of being, accomplished.  Besides offering some recent historical perspective, these notes also provide a still-relevant list of prescriptions for forwarding our movement both domestically and on the global stage.

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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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Two brief interviews with participants in GEO's 2015 Advancing the Development of Worker Cooperatives conference. The theme of the conference was "Regional Cooperative/Solidarity Economy Organizing."

Asar Amen-Ra from Detroit, MI and Georgia Julius from Troy, NY talk about why they came to the conference and developments in their local communities.

 

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Many people, including those in the labor and worker co-op movements, think that unions and co-ops are singularly mismatched.  Logic has it that worker co-ops don’t need to be unionized since workers own and manage their businesses, and that workers in labor unions just naturally aren’t entrepreneurial but rather are used to resisting “the boss.”  In addition, people may be familiar with large agricultural co-ops in the Midwest that fight with unionized workers, or with food co-ops that resist worker unionization.  

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The workers-owners at New Era Windows Cooperative have overcome many hurdles to create a sustainable, democratic business, after having twice occupied their previous place of employment, Republic Windows, in response to abuses by the owners. Worker Co-ops.
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GEO is pleased to announce that we're working with the Level Translation (a project of the Intepreters' Cooperative of Madison) to release a new series of ebooks.

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On November 15, 2014, Brooklyn for Peace (BFP) celebrated its 30th anniversary by honoring Noam Chomsky with the Pathmaker to Peace Award. Noam Chomsky is the “father of modern linguistics,” a relentless critic of US foreign policy, and a world renowned champion of the struggle for social justice.

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[Editor's note: This paper by Luenens, Sanudo and Schweigert appears in the forthcoming electronic release of The Cooperatives’ Power of Innovation: Selected Texts from the International Call for Papers, produced by the International Summit of Cooperatives.  In it, the

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The following is a personal story about corporate cooptation at my food co-op in Northern California, North Coast Cooperative Inc.

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More than 450 people attended the sold-out fifth biennial conference of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC) in Chicago at the end of May, continuing to build a movement and celebrating 10 years since its founding.

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This May, Baltimore played host to an Economic Democracy Conference, organized by It's Our Economy.  We've rounded-up coverage  from across the web so you can read reports from the conference, listen to conference organizers and watch video of conference sessions--all in one place.  If you couldn't make it to the conference, this round-up is the next best thing!

Here's a report from It's Our Economy:

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Today’s global social economy debate on inhibiting inequalities (wealth aggregation, social mobility, and basic opportunities) illustrates the vital roles that structure and values play to foster community-focused, triple bottomline, socially-oriented businesses that can’t be outsourced. Similar to the progressive advocacy media depiction of Jackson Rising: Creating the Mondragon of the South there is so much Appalachian hilltop and valley academic centers can do to organize and network inspiring rust belt graduates into a better future that allows them not only to be home-schooled but also locally and gainfully employed.
Similarities abound between today’s declining civic ethos and mid nineteenth century, pre Civil War era human flesh markets starting with America’s contemporary desperation class composed of minimum wage workers toiling in America’s most praised corporations (e.g. Wal-Mart & McDonalds) who need public sector-funded food stamps to make basic ends meet.

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