21st Century: Workers' Control in the Present

When the Workers Become the Owners: Taking the Co-op Movement to the Next Level

There's a revolution taking place in the US workforce - but you may not have heard about it.

Around the country, workers are starting businesses that they democratically control and that financially benefit them. These businesses, called worker cooperatives, are owned and governed by the employees. Every worker is a member of the co-op, which gives them one share and one vote in the company's operations. read more »

A Deeper Look at the Mondragon Principles 3: The Instrumental and Subordinate Nature of Capital

“We do not aspire to economic development as an end, but as a means.”

–Don José María Arizmendiarrieta, spiritual founder of Mondragon read more »

A Deeper Look at the Mondragon Principles 2: Participatory Management

The next principle from Mondragon is that of Participatory Management. This seems like a no-brainer for worker co-operatives. What is the point of going through all the work of setting up a worker co-op if the workers don’t actually have a say in how the place is run? They would be better off in a unionized Employee Stock Ownership Program. read more »

Inside America's Largest Worker-Run Business

Fifteen years ago, Clara Calvo had just left her husband and her job. Both were abusive in their own ways. Her husband beat her, while her job at a beauty salon required long, unpredictable hours for little pay. read more »

Why Unions Are Going Into the Co-op Business

“Too often we have seen Wall Street hollow out companies by draining their cash and assets and hollow out communities by shedding jobs and shuttering plants,” said United Steelworkers (USW) President Leo Gerard in 2009. “We need a new business model that invests in workers and invests in communities.”

Gerard was announcing a formal partnership between his 1.2-million-member union and Mondragon, a cluster of cooperatives in the Basque region of Spain. read more »

Platform Cooperativism vs. the Sharing Economy

The backlash against unethical labor practices in the “collaborative sharing economy” has been overplayed. Recently, mainstream media started to rail against online labor brokerages like Taskrabbit and Uber because of an utter lack of concern for their workers. 

But just for one moment imagine that the algorithmic heart of any of these citadels of anti-unionism could be cloned and brought back to life under a different ownership model, with fair working conditions, as a humane alternative to the free market model. read more »

Sewer Syndicalism: Worker Self-Management in Public Services

In the current US political climate, the prospects of implementing a robust form of public service syndicalism will surely appear remote. Yet, the example of Britain suggests that at least measured steps in that direction might be politically feasible here. Particularly at the state and municipal levels, there may be opportunities to engage in “novel social and economic experiments” with worker-run public services. Through such experimentation, public services under worker control can serve as demonstration projects to promote workplace democracy and worker empowerment more broadly. read more »

The International Gatherings of “The Workers' Economy”

The 3rd and 4th of October, 2014, in the Textiles Pigüé Worker Cooperative, a recovered business in the town of the same name in the interior of the province of Buenos Aires, the First South American Regional Meeting on “The Worker Economy” was held, with the participation of more than two hundred workers, cooperators, and university students from Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Co read more »

Kazova workers claim historic victory in Turkey

"No, I didn’t receive any compensation, but I did get a factory,” was Aynur Aydemir’s response to one of her former colleagues from the Kazova textile factory, when she was asked if she had ever received any of the money their former bosses still owed them. “Whether it’s going to be successful or not, whether it’s old or new, I have a factory. We might lack the necessary capital to run this business, and we might fail in the future, but at least we got something.” read more »

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