Worker Cooperatives

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

[Editor's Note: this is the second of a two part series by Ajowa Ifateyo on the history of the USFWC.  You can read part one here.]

2008 CONFERENCE GOES TO HELP OUT IN NEW ORLEANS

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Before the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperative’s 10th anniversary conference in Chicago, GEO asked some co-op veterans to talk about what they thought the USFWC had achieved in its first 10 years.

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Many high impact, triple bottom-line ESOPS led by conscientious owners, investors, and worker-owners rise to the highest standards of fairness and inclusion. However, problematic ESOPS risk unloading unsustainable debt while practicing multi-class stock ownership that usually places workers at the bottom of the heap especially when markets turn downward similar to those infamous collateral debt obligation pyramid structures greatly responsible for the 2008 market crash, Great Recession, and subsequent public loss of trust.

Cross-posted from Truth Out

A quiet revolution is rumbling through New York's municipal offices as they retool to support the creation of worker cooperatives as a way to fight poverty.

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The Austin Cooperative Summit brought together more than 100 people interested in cooperative businesses to help move the Central Texas economy toward shared abundance and prosperity. The summit is a program of the Austin Cooperative Business Association and NCBA CLUSA.

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More than 450 people attended the sold-out fifth biennial conference of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC) in Chicago at the end of May, continuing to build a movement and celebrating 10 years since its founding.

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My co-op rocks! You want some proof? We even have a dinosaur on our roof!

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This May, Baltimore played host to an Economic Democracy Conference, organized by It's Our Economy.  We've rounded-up coverage  from across the web so you can read reports from the conference, listen to conference organizers and watch video of conference sessions--all in one place.  If you couldn't make it to the conference, this round-up is the next best thing!

Here's a report from It's Our Economy:

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[Editors note: Collective Courage can be purchased online from PSU Press here.  Use the code JGN14 at checkout to recieve a 20% discount. Please encourage your local libraries and co-ops to purchase a copy of this important resource.

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Approaches for creating sustainable livelihoods assume that a rural household has the ability to make rational decisions to respond to often changing opportunities and constraints, including those offered by markets. In sync with this assumption, envisioning livelihood opportunities for illiterate and unskilled populations (particularly women) has been the most coveted goal of every development agency, both within government and beyond.  While sustainable livelihoods are desirable, they are not easy to attain and there have been few success stories. (Gillet et al., 2008).

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Located in downtown Buenos Aires, self-managed workers in Hotel BAUEN are appealing for international support as they confront the threat of eviction. Hotel BAUEN is one of over 200 worker-recuperated enterprises (empresa recuperada por sus trabajadores) operating under worker control.

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[Editor's note: this is the first part of a two-part series. Read part two here.]

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It appears that the new formula for American private sector competitiveness is staring the country in the face.

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Last summer, I was interviewed in Vienna, Austria by “Dr. Future,” i.e. Allan Lundell and his wife, Sun Marian McNamee-Lundell. We were joined in the conversation a couple of times by Franz Nahrada, who had brought us together here in his hotel. It was quite an interesting conversation about how our economy generates scarcity and about some possible alternatives, and I am sharing the audio file with you here.

This interview, shot May 2013 in Oakland, CA begins to introduce an idea that has been floating through my mind the past several years around the need for community colleges (in particular) to include training on cooperatives in their business programs, not as a form of  "kinder, gentler capitalism" but as community-based, capital subordinated business models hewing to the seven International Cooperative Principles.  The unemployed have headed back to community colleges to upgrade skills or to learn new skills. One of our local community colleges has a trades program.

A continuing conversation with Thomas M. Hanna of the Democracy Collaborative, cross posted from Cooperate and No One Gets Hurt

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