The foundation of the cooperative is an idea for a business that produces material and social good together, which in turn also does good for workers’ communities. This principle, reflecting an ethical framework known as the “solidarity economy,” is put to practice in ventures like the Queens-based eco-friendly cleaning company Pa’lante, which is cooperatively run by a group of housekeepers who merge environmental concern with labor empowerment. Or the driver-led Union Taxi coop of Denver, which also mobilizes against the expansion of exploitative ride-sharing apps.
Though worker-ownership doesn’t necessarily mesh with the traditional unionization model, the Oakland-based Design Action Collective has joined a unique cadre of unionized coops, represented by Pacific Media Guild, in order to fully embody the movement culture that the enterprise serves. On a larger scale, Cooperative Home Care Association has established a 2,000-strong presence in New York City’s home health-care sector, with a fully unionized staff of care workers, who also mobilize with labor-led campaigns for health-care funding.
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