Worker Cooperatives

Businesses that are owned and democratically controlled by their workers/employees (called "worker-owners").

At an informal weekend gathering in Cabot, VT in the summer of 2016, we were asked to guide a group of strangers on making a decision together. The decision to be made was which topics the group would devote our precious time together. We started a first go-around, following the standard Sociocratic process. It seemed easy. Our facilitator made a proposal and we all seemed to be on the same page.

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This is a recording of the webinar from Oct 2016 about how to deal with objections.  See our website for the decision-making sheet and other resources.

 

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The Boston Ujima Project is empowering residents in underserved communities in Boston, to fund and invest in the businesses they want to support in their neighborhoods. Founders, friends, and members of the project explain the impetus behind the project and how they see it as paving the way for community control in increasingly oppressive times.

 

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Josefina Luna of CERO discusses relationships between cooperative consultants, developers and worker-owners with Josh Davis, in the seventh installment of the GEO podcast.

Dania Flores-Heagney of Access Consulting co-op provided interpretation services.

 

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How does sociocracy work in a worker-owned coop? Hear Joe and Peggy, worker-owners of the Blue Scorcher bakery in Astoria, OR (USA). They have been using sociocracy for a while and they share their stories and best insights. How does sociocracy change the group dynamics? Are non-owners part of the self-governance? What happens when we talk about money? How did they afford to get their training? Follow the tour behind the scenes for some real-life experience!

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Though the numbers aren’t yet in, 2016 appears to have been a banner year for progressive non-profits, particularly in the wake of the presidential election. Many celebrities, artists, and other influencers publicly supported organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood, and pledged portions of their profits to these organizations. Some of the United States’ best-known non-profits raised massive amounts of money in a matter of days as a result of this desire for solidarity.

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[Editor's note: This post is Part II of an essay by Michael Johnson. In it he proposes a democratic movement strategy that emphasizes a strong cultural component. In Part I he argued that culture is a powerful factor in political and economic dynamics, but currently almost all strategic thinking focuses just on structures and systems.

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[Editor's note: This post is Part I of an essay by Michael Johnson. In it he proposes a democratic movement strategy that emphasizes a strong cultural component. In Part I below he argues that culture is a powerful factor in political and economic dynamics, but currently almost all strategic thinking focuses just on structures and systems.

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SOS Faim met with the NGO Autre Terre, a development organisation that takes advantage of its experience in Social and Solidarity Economy in Belgium to strengthen and support economic development project in Africa and Latin America...and that also benefits from the experiences of its partners in the South to strengthen its own activity in Belgium.

Radical Routes, a network of co-operatives working for social change are looking to raise £15k for a women‘s worker co-operative bakery in Kobane a city rended apart by the long civil war in Syria, but now being run under democratic principles as an autonomous region.
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Jessica Bonanno from the Democracy Collaborative and Adam Trott from the Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives. The Democracy Collaborative has been doing important work around community wealth building, one of their most notable projects being the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, OH.

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America's Autoclinik

Visit America's Autoclinik website

 

Greenvitalize Urban Growers

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[Editor's note: below are video profiles of three worker cooperatives.  Each of these cooperatives have benefited from Local Enterprise Assistance Fund (LEAF) loans. LEAF’s mission is to promote human and economic development by providing financing and development assistance to cooperatives and social purpose ventures that create and save jobs for low-income people.

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Originally published in GEO vol. 1, issue 44, 2001.

We all want to get away from top-down management. We don't want to tell people what to do, or be told what to do. Yet if it weren't for the inspired leadership of a few dedicated people, many co-ops wouldn't exist. Since in worker-managed co-ops we are going to have leaders—in fact we're all leaders at times —we need democratic leadership. But what is that?

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[Editor's note: below are two short videos that profile rural cooperative enterprises in Latin America: a dairy cooperative in Ecuador and a weaving cooperative in Chiapas, Mexico.]

Salinerito

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[Editor's note: this talk was delivered in Cuba, during a trip organized by the Center for Global Justice in June, 2016.]

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[Editor's note: below are two videos that, while separated by over 50 years in time, share a common theme.  First, Ed Whitfield of the Fund for Democratic Communities and Renaissance Community Co-op, dicusses cooperative economics in the context of reparations for historical and on-going racial injustice.  Then, in priceless archival footage, Father Albert McKnight from Lafayette, LA discusses the founding and operation of the Southern Consumers' Co-op, their impr

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Abstract

This paper provides an explanation of why worker cooperative startups are rare. If true worker ownership is to be maintained in the startup period where losses occur, members face either a 'pay to work' or 'expected investment loss' problem. Founding members must either pay money to cover the losses resulting from their labor, or make investments upfront which will be expected to decline in value as losses occur. These two issues are completely foreign to modern finance and current labor practice, and also ignored by the worker coop community.

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Cities are investing in support systems for worker cooperative development as a tool for sustainable and equitable economic development.
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