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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Exploring the Mondragon Cooperative System

Mondragon operates under the values of participation, innovation, social responsibility, and cooperation. Workers in Mondragon have the right to participate in a democratic decision-making governance structure, are given skill trainings and social safety nets to ensure sustainable employment, and experience a work culture of solidarity and alliances. While the rest of Spain struggled to maintain economic stability after the Great Recession of 2008, areas around Mondragon remained fairly unaffected.

Although Mondragon offers numerous benefits through its distribution of wealth and power, the model is not entirely absent of inequities. The Mondragon Corporation has over 266 business and cooperatives, in 32 countries, but only 98 of those are federated cooperatives, while the rest are international production subsidiaries. Workers in those other locations are not members of the cooperatives, and thus do no participate in democratic governance. This structure has created a group of people, who aren’t owners, but whose labor Mondragon now depends on.

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