Workplace Democracy

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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Since 2011, we’ve been steadily growing the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance. We’ve been developing as an organization, establishing programs and services, and building connections among cooperatives and credit unions. In this article, I will discuss our evolution and speak to our successes and challenges with an eye towards helping other cooperative alliances in their own formation.

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Uber and other so-called sharing economy companies are nothing more than fronts for wealthy capitalists to make money by exploiting workers and avoiding regulations. Worker-owned cooperatives like Madison, WI's Union Cab offer a better alternative that protects workers and customers and helps build wealth within communities.
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Cooperative organizing, development, and technical assistance services are needed in upstate New York.  This void has been slowly—very slowly—shrinking for decades.  It is hoped that the creation and evolution of the New York Cooperative Network between 2011 a

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Movement building happens face to face. Groups of people meet, build common visions, and organize to change the world. So what does data, such an impersonal and abstract figment of bits and bytes, have to do with regional movement building? Quite a lot!

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In order to create a fully cooperative society, co-ops of all varieties need to reach out to other, similarly-aligned groups, such as racial, social and climate justice movements. Groups such as Solidarity NYC and the Southern Grassroots Economies Progect (SGEP) are already working along these lines. Len Krimerman suggests adopting an 8th co-operative principle to address this reality. Keywords: solidarity economy, co-ops, regional development, social development
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[Editor's note: the following is a critique of  Survey of Co-operative Capital, by A. Michael Andrews; published in March 2015, by the International Co-operative Alliance’s blueprint for a co-operative decade.]

This is a disturbing and potentially dangerous report for three reasons:

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Considers the difference between cooperative economics and economic democracy. The two viewpoints are not the same. The potential for collaboration between cooperators and proponents of economic democracy is explored as are methods for injecting economic democracy into consumer and producer co-ops. Keywords: cooperatives, co-ops, economic democracy, democracy, solidarity economy, governance.
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For the last six months, a coordinated dialog has been taking place among a number of the key worker cooperative development and networking organizations in the Bay Area community, a collective initiative to lift the movement onto a higher scale, and make a truly significant regional impact. The Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives (NoBAWC) has been a participant in this process.

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Dr Denison Jayasooria, Principal Research Fellow at KITA-UKM and Dr Benjamin Quinones, Chairman, ASEC/RIPESS-Asia provide and overview of the state of the Solidarity Economy in the ASEAN.

Watch more videos from DurianAsean on their Youtube Channel

 

Go to the GEO front page

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by Josh Davis

Something struck me as odd while I was looking through the slide presentation of the recent public opinon poll conducted by NCBA and Consumer Federation of America.  The poll looked at knowledge of cooperatives and attitudes about them in the general population.  One of the slides breaks down respondents to the survey by educational attainment level.  Here it is:

cross-posted from Generocity

Most Americans don’t know what a co-op is. However, most of the Americans who do know what a co-op is tend to really like co-ops.

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This Swedish documentary film on worker-owned cooperatives considers some of the most common criticisms of cooperative businesses and confronts them with real life experiences from worker owners from the US. Worker co-ops, cooperatives, solidarity economy
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The 2014 Worker Coop Academy helped two existing worker cooperatives to improve their business practices. Mandela Foods Co-op streamlined produce ordering and display, while DIG co-op developed a business plan and mapped out improvements to their by-laws. New Economy, Solidarity Economy, economic development, business education.
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WORKER OWNED: In Their Own Words is a 30 minute documentary about the Linnton Plywood Association. LPA was a worker owned cooperative formed in 1952 to manufacture plywood. With a down payment of $1000 each, about 180 men committed to purchase a share in LPA for $5000. The remaining $4000 for each members share was to be paid over time from their earnings as workers in the new operation. All workers were paid the same hourly rate for whatever job they did.

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Originally published in the April, 2015 edition of the The Shuttle

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By Alexander Kolokotronis

(please take survey at conclusion of this piece)

Cooperativists often posit this: the cooperative movement is a movement of movements. Or, more broadly speaking, the solidarity economy movement is a movement of movements. Many of us believe this is true in the present. In many ways it is.

[Editor's note: this webinar, organized by Project Equity and the Democracy Collaborative, includes presentations from worker-owners at Namaste Solar and Mariposa Gardening and Design, as well as co-op developers from The Cooperative Development Institute and the Democracy Coll

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