Worker Cooperatives

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

A diversity of kindred approaches to alternative political economics is emerging across the country.  Many of them share a regional focus. This is showing unusual potential for advancing the development of worker co-operatives through inter-cooperative and cross-sector networking.  We are calling this Regional Cooperative/Solidarity Economic Development (C/SE) (Please see the note below on why we are using this unusual phrase, “cooperative/solidarity.”)

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This article was first published in GEO Newsletter Vol. 1, Issue 72/73, 2007

The contemporary U.S. worker cooperative movement is somewhat ambiguous about its relationship to capitalism.  Members of our movement today range in perspective from viewing cooperatives as an anti-capitalist tool of struggle, "embodying the world that we seek to build," to seeing them as worker-empowering additions to an economic system believed to be either inevitable or in need of only minor modification.

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[Editor's note: GEO first published these two essays on the hurdles faced by coopeative and solidarity economy enterprises in 2001.  While the cooperative movement has made great strides in the intervening 14 years, the roadblocks identified here by the authors are still concerns for both new and existing co-ops.  In light of the recent surge in support that cooperatives of all kinds have

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[Editor's note: Farzana Serang, Executive Director of CoFED (The Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive), discusses the concept of equity and how it relates to the principles and values of cooperative enterprises.

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Here at GEO, our Scaling Up the Cooperative Movement ebook has been flying off the e-shelves. It would appear that a lot of people are interested in what it's going to take to create a cooperative economy that can provide an alternative to our traditional ways of doing business.

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[Editor's note: In this video, recorded by the North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO), John McNamara of the Northwest Cooperative Development Center draws on his experience as a Cooperative Development Specialist and worker-owner at Union Cab in Madison, WI to present a number of useful insights for managing growth and maintaining cooperative culture and values at worker co-ops

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Additional resources for worker co-operators are available from TESA through their website.

Watch more videos from GRITtv

 

Go to the GEO front page

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[Editor's note: J Rainsnow is a novelist. His unusual review of Bulding Co-operative Power: Stories and Strategies from Worker Co-Operatives in the Connecticut River Valley comes from an artist’s perspective, outside of that of most co-operators, organizers, and activists.  His view is large and his grasp of details surprisingly rich.

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[Editor's note: this report by Pat Conaty and David Bollier presents an in-depth look at the how our often disparate movements might begin to work together more closely in order to create a more just, open and equitable economy.  David Bollier describes the scope of the report on Shareable:

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by Devra Gartenstein

The more I read and learn about cooperatives and the more experience I get participating in one, the more provocative I find the question, “What is a cooperative?”

The legal definition is reasonably clear, covering two main prerequisites:  one vote per member, and equity and profit allocations based on patronage—or participation—rather than monetary contribution.

[Editor's note: This piece originally appeared in the Colombia Support Network’s fall 2014 newsletter.]

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cross-posted from Medium

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