Worker Cooperatives

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

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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Originally published in GEO vol. 1, issue 61, 2004

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The cooperative business and community model is both older than you think, and probably not what you think. Cooperatives have a history, especially in Buffalo, NY, and in minority communities everywhere. Clinton Parker explains how co-ops really work, how they can help some modern problems, and how you can get involved.

 

Go to the GEO front page

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[Editor's note: the following short article was first published in 2001, in GEO Newsletter #44: Democracy within Co-opsCollective Copies now has 33 years in operation and is still going strong.]

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[Editor's note: The two videos below come from the 2008 documentary Beyond Elections: Redefining Democracy in the Americas.  The full documentary is available on Youtube  in Spanish, as well as in Portuguese.

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1) Background
    i) Cuba has been engaged in a deep restructuring of its project to build socialism for a quarter of a century. 

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This paper conceptualizes socialist construction as a process of incremental reclaiming from capital of those resources that can best be held in common so that members of a community can achieve their fuller human development*.  Under democratic rules the community regulates the commons so as to ensure its accessibility and sustainability.  The formation of cooperatives is an instance of the socialization of the workplace.  By bringing workers together into self governing collectivities, cooperatives also contribute to the socialization of workers to a socialist moral order.  In Cuba a

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