Worker Cooperatives

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

[Editor's note: In this presentation from the 2015 Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy, Brian Mueller of Madison, Wisconsin's Isthmus Engineering Co-op discusses the basics of project management—what it is, phases and tools for project management, why  projects fail and what makes them succeed—as well the unique considerations for project management within the context of a worker cooperative.

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cross-posted from matslats.net

Having kept an eye on the altcoins for a good while I wasn't initially impressed by the claims of Faircoin.

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Higher education is disintegrating under misguided neo-liberal reforms. Co-operative universities, member-run and member-led, are a solution. Educators, students and support staff would run this open, democratic educational commons. Keywords: co-operative, education, university, co-ops, multi-stakeholder co-ops
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Bangalore tech co-op Nilenso founder and worker-owner Steven Deobald discusses lessons learned from two years of working as a international tech worker co-op. Keywords: workplace democracy, cooperatives, worker cooperatives, worker-owned, technology
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The spinoff model is an effective tool for worker cooperative development. By allowing owners with more appetite for risk to start new ventures, while taking advantage of already existing infrastructure and resources from the existing co-op, the spinoff model greatly reduces the costs and logistical considerations involved in creating a new worker co-op. Additionally, the mother and daughter co-ops can then work together, providing business and sharing expenses together, which allows for expansion of the movement without undue administrative overhead. Keywords: worker co-ops, development, spinoff
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More people are choosing the cooperative model to express their entrepreneurial spirit in the Northwest. The success of a co-op depends on many people and their efforts. Keywords: resident-owned communities, manufactured homes, worker coops
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Worker assistance programs and government funded co-op incubators have a poor track record for creating worker co-ops. More effective methods of creating worker cooperatives include converting existing businesses to worker co-ops and leveraging the institutional capacity of already existing co-ops to create new worker-owned businesses. Keywords: ESOP, conversion, worker assistance, economic democracy
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Let's try to get both a firm grasp and a large perspective on "regional co-operative/solidarity economic development," and what it has to do with “advancing the development of worker co-operatives.”

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Many people, including those in the labor and worker co-op movements, think that unions and co-ops are singularly mismatched.  Logic has it that worker co-ops don’t need to be unionized since workers own and manage their businesses, and that workers in labor unions just naturally aren’t entrepreneurial but rather are used to resisting “the boss.”  In addition, people may be familiar with large agricultural co-ops in the Midwest that fight with unionized workers, or with food co-ops that resist worker unionization.  

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Uber and other so-called sharing economy companies are nothing more than fronts for wealthy capitalists to make money by exploiting workers and avoiding regulations. Worker-owned cooperatives like Madison, WI's Union Cab offer a better alternative that protects workers and customers and helps build wealth within communities.
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Cooperative organizing, development, and technical assistance services are needed in upstate New York.  This void has been slowly—very slowly—shrinking for decades.  It is hoped that the creation and evolution of the New York Cooperative Network between 2011

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In order to create a fully cooperative society, co-ops of all varieties need to reach out to other, similarly-aligned groups, such as racial, social and climate justice movements. Groups such as Solidarity NYC and the Southern Grassroots Economies Progect (SGEP) are already working along these lines. Len Krimerman suggests adopting an 8th co-operative principle to address this reality. Keywords: solidarity economy, co-ops, regional development, social development
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In Ferguson and St. Louis, solidarity economy activists are coming together with social justice advocates to create innovative ways of fighting for justice in their communities. Keywords: MORE, Decarcerate St. Louis, cooperatives, poverty, #BlackLivesMatter
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Considers the difference between cooperative economics and economic democracy. The two viewpoints are not the same. The potential for collaboration between cooperators and proponents of economic democracy is explored as are methods for injecting economic democracy into consumer and producer co-ops. Keywords: cooperatives, co-ops, economic democracy, democracy, solidarity economy, governance.
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For the last six months, a coordinated dialog has been taking place among a number of the key worker cooperative development and networking organizations in the Bay Area community, a collective initiative to lift the movement onto a higher scale, and make a truly significant regional impact. The Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives (NoBAWC) has been a participant in this process.

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by Josh Davis

Something struck me as odd while I was looking through the slide presentation of the recent public opinon poll conducted by NCBA and Consumer Federation of America.  The poll looked at knowledge of cooperatives and attitudes about them in the general population.  One of the slides breaks down respondents to the survey by educational attainment level.  Here it is:

This Swedish documentary film on worker-owned cooperatives considers some of the most common criticisms of cooperative businesses and confronts them with real life experiences from worker owners from the US. Worker co-ops, cooperatives, solidarity economy
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