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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Resolution No. 27: Workers' Capital, Industrial Democracy and Worker Ownership

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September 8, 2011
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Resolution No. 27
Workers' Capital, Industrial Democracy and Worker Ownership

WHEREAS, USW members have billions of dollars invested in multi-employer pension
plans, such as the Steelworkers' Pension Trust, single-employer pension plans, 401(k)
plans and labour sponsored investment plans in Canada, such as the Quebec Federation
of Labour Solidarity Fund and Working Opportunities Fund; and

WHEREAS, history has proven that these investments can produce both a healthy
monetary return and a social return that sustains and creates jobs and invests in our
communities; and

WHEREAS, we have too often seen the opposite result when we do not influence those
investments, leaving Wall Street to gamble with our money in ways that threaten our
jobs and destroy our communities; and

WHEREAS, our Union has good working relationships with most of the employers who
employ our members, many of whom need better access to capital investment to sustain
and create jobs; and

WHEREAS, we know that our members' success is inevitably tied to our employers'
success, and that the surest path to success is built on a partnership, based on mutual
trust and respect; and

WHEREAS, USW members are an unending source of innovative ideas and insightful
feedback in their workplaces; and

WHEREAS, shared success is built upon shared rewards; and

WHEREAS, worker ownership has proven to be fruitful when ownership means much
more than just the value of a share; and

WHEREAS, the USW began efforts of collaboration in 2009 with the Mondragon
Cooperatives, the world's largest worker-owned cooperative with nearly 100,000
workerowners, to develop unionized, worker-owned cooperatives in the United States
and Canada; and

WHEREAS, the economies of both the United States and Canada continue to struggle
after the 2008 financial collapse and the need for prudent investment of workers' capital,
industrial democracy and worker ownership is as strong as ever.


(1) Our Union will pursue every responsible avenue to ensure that the investments of the
USW and of USW members collectively are used in a way that not only provides a
reasonable monetary return, but also provides job security, job creation and invests
in our communities.

(2) Our Union recognizes and encourages partnership with an employer as a sure path
to shared success, but only if it is a partnership of equals based on mutual respect.

(3) Collective bargaining needs to become a more continuous process that does not
simply begin and end with a contract. Markets and technology change frequently, if
our Union is not engaged in a continuous bargaining relationship, then we risk
having our employers make important decisions unilaterally.

(4) Our Union will continue to promote and develop unionized, worker-owned
cooperatives, as well as other forms of worker-ownership, as a profitable and
sustainable means to create jobs and invest in our communities.

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