Unions & Worker Organizations

Organizations of and for workers, dedicated to building worker power.

It appears that the new formula for American private sector competitiveness is staring the country in the face.

A new worker-ownership evolution-revolution featuring more virtuous capitalism communities of practice is demonstrating that doing well can realistically and profitably be based on doing good. This brave new economic world is emerging from green-shoot, “made in America” antidotes to structural unemployment and income inequality, sprouting ubiquitously among increasing absentee-owner-plagued urban and rural geographies.

Memory moves us as surely into the realm of what shall be as it moves us back to what has been: by extracting what is indeterminately lasting from the latter, it allows the former to come to us. --Edward S. Casey1

 

I see economic democracy at three main levels: 1) workers gaining greater control of the workplace and participating in management, 2) collectively controlling investment funds to benefit local and regional economies, and 3) democratically allocating resources through a national investment fund to achieve social goals.
The Union Co-op Model: this country’s largest industrial labor union teamed up with the world’s largest worker-cooperative to present a plan that would put people to work in labor-driven enterprises that build worker power and communities, too.
US Steelworkers pass resolution endorsing its unionized, worker-owned cooperative development activities
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report from Credit Union National Association
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Where will our movement be in another 30 years? In 2040, I will be 76 years old. Chances are, if I am still alive, I will be hopefully still be blogging (or whatever the kids will be doing in those days) but I will likely not be fully involved in the movement or physically working a 40-50 hour work week. Almost all of our current leadership will be in the same position. The current crop of  Toxic Soil Busters will be pushing 50 (like I am now). What should our movement look like in that age?
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In the recent series on his blog, The Workers' Paradise ,McNamara is very strong on the possibility of the cooperative movement being able to move to scale.  But he wisely directs our attention to the big problems this is going to bring, problems that are already burdening cooperatives.  The primary one he refers to is “the agency problem” (which is pretty much what I mean by “top/down problem”).

Thank you, John McNamara for advancing the conversation about the opportunities, issues, and problems of taking the cooperative advantage to scale.
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...we are coming to our national worker co-op conference sounding the theme that worker co-ops are the solution. My worry, however, is...
The Association of Cooperative Educators established the John Logue ACE award at its 58th annual conference in Cleveland July27-30, 2010. Ohio Employee Ownership Center staff members, Bill McIntyre and Logue's wife, Olga Klepikova, talk about Logue's work, vision, "moxie" and his impact on Ohio and the U.S. Other ACE awardees for 2010 are also mentioned.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF COOPERATIVES IN THE PITTSBURGH AREA By John Curl At the time of its incorporation in 1817, Pittsburgh was already a manufacturing center, with a population of around 6,000, supplying the western region with artisanal products almost entirely made by home industry. It had become a manufacturing center during the war of 1812, when the supply of British-made goods have been cut off in the region. In 1817 most manufacturing was still done by independent self-employed artisans using hand tools. But their livelihood was already threatened by the growth of a new system that was making their economy obsolete: factories and wage labor.
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John Curl's history of the Bay Area Cooperative movement is eye-opening. It leaves you amazed that this country is so rich in cooperativism yet we only learn of it through John's heroic efforts. It brings to mind the saying: You need to know where you've been to know where you're going. My hope is that this history further opens up and extends our vision and our work.
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John Curl's history of the Bay Area Cooperative movement is eye-opening.  It leaves you amazed that this country is so rich in cooperativism yet we only learn of it through John's heroic efforts.  It brings to mind the saying: You need to know where you've been to know where you're going.  My hope is that this history further opens up and extends our vision and our work.  Many thanks to John Curl for his work.   

Download Curl's History of the Bay Area Cooperative Movement here

By Lisa Stolarski

Both Hands in the Soil

There is an ethical imperative to shift the balance of economic power away from corporate Capitalism and toward economies that benefit us all. Beginning with this assumption, I will explain how it is possible for unions and worker cooperatives to collaborate strategically to take market share away from absentee-owned and wage labor capitalist enterprises and place control of resources and production in the hands of communities of working people.

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