Organized Labor

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.
report from Credit Union National Association
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Analyzing & Debating a New Economy from the Perspective of Workers & Self-management

Mexico City, June 9-11, 2011

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I wasn't able to sit through the entire presentation, however, I wanted to capture as much as I could of this interesting presentation about the ability of labor unions and worker cooperatives to co-exist and to thrive.

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.  Many thanks to John Curl for his work.   

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

Permanent link to this article: http://geo.coop/node/411

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By Len Krimerman, GEO

I went to the Green Union Coop Development Initiative workshop at the "Democracy at Work" Conference in New Orleans (June, 2008) with very high hopes. Somehow, the Conference organizers had managed to bring together, in a large and over-filled room, committed and inventive practitioners from the labor union, cooperative, and green economy movements. The speakers spoke with clarity and passion about:

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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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As labor organizers, we struggle in the field every day to improve the lives of workers; we are in search of tools and alternatives for working people that will meet the needs of today's casualized and insecure workforce, with shrinking or negligible benefits. It is in the spirit of innovative leadership that we propose that the labor movement use worker cooperatives, an alternative organizing strategy added to more traditional labor organizing methods, as a means of returning control of their lives to the American working people.
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While empathizing with those who feel a sense of "inevitability" in the face of today's powerful capitalist economy (and disagreeing with those who see it as generally acceptable), I hold firmly to the perspective that a more just and democratic economy is both necessary and possible. And I believe that the greatest chance of increasing and assuring viability for the workplace democracy movement may rest in our ability to keep our "eyes on the prize"; that is, on the long term replacement of capitalism?an economy which socializes costs and privatizes benefits?with an economy of democratic cooperation?in which costs and benefits are democratically and equitably shared throughout society.
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by Chris Heneghan

Just over a year after the Boston Workers Alliance (BWA) was founded at a convergence of "jobless workers" from Boston's Dorchester, and Roxbury neighborhoods, members of their job creation committee were in New York City at the second national conference of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives discussing plans to establish a temp agency cooperative in the Greater Boston area.

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