United States of America

New Era Windows Cooperative

In 2008, Republic Windows and Doors went bankrupt and was shut down, leaving outstanding debts to the staff.  The workers protested through occupations and sit-ins, and a construction company took control of the factory. After the new owner decided to shut down the factory, the workers with the support of the community and funding from 'The Working World' decided to buy out the machinery and start a worker-owned democratically managed cooperative that produces energy-efficient windows. read more »

Workers' control in the United States of America

The United States cooperative and council movement is rooted in sustained working-class struggles against the most rapacious forms of capitalism in rural agrarian regions and, since late-19th century, expanded into urban production industries. For about 150 years, working class efforts to form cooperatives and self-organized workplaces have endured in response to predatory corporate expropriation and as a means of resisting capitalist oppression through establishing socialist self-management and workers democracy.

Who Needs a Boss?

If you happen to be looking for your morning coffee near Golden Gate Park and the bright red storefront of the Arizmendi Bakery attracts your attention, congratulations. You have found what the readers of The San Francisco Bay Guardian, a local alt-weekly, deem the city’s best bakery. But it has another, less obvious, distinction. read more »

Own The Change: Building Economic Democracy One Worker Co-op at a Time

The explosion of worker cooperatives in recent years has social justice organizers talking. Transitioning to a people-powered economy will require the work of many different social movements and worker co-ops have come to the center of the conversation due to their ability to address multiple issues at once. read more »

New Era Windows: Our Story

In 2008, the boss decided to close our windows factory on Goose Island and fire everyone. In 2012, we decided to buy the factory for ourselves and fire the boss. We now own the plant together and run it democratically. This is our story. read more »

How Workers Laid Off from a Chicago Factory Took It Over Themselves

Four years ago, as the recession took hold and layoffs around the country were approaching 500,000 a month, a group of workers in Chicago saved a factory and inspired a nation. Fired by their boss, they occupied instead of leaving. Fired by a second boss, they occupied and formed a worker’s cooperative. Now they are worker-owners of a load of equipment and they’re setting up a factory in a new location.

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.

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.

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.