Workplace Democracy

Cross-posted from Truth Out

A quiet revolution is rumbling through New York's municipal offices as they retool to support the creation of worker cooperatives as a way to fight poverty.

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The Austin Cooperative Summit brought together more than 100 people interested in cooperative businesses to help move the Central Texas economy toward shared abundance and prosperity. The summit is a program of the Austin Cooperative Business Association and NCBA CLUSA.

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More than 450 people attended the sold-out fifth biennial conference of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC) in Chicago at the end of May, continuing to build a movement and celebrating 10 years since its founding.

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My co-op rocks! You want some proof? We even have a dinosaur on our roof!

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This May, Baltimore played host to an Economic Democracy Conference, organized by It's Our Economy.  We've rounded-up coverage  from across the web so you can read reports from the conference, listen to conference organizers and watch video of conference sessions--all in one place.  If you couldn't make it to the conference, this round-up is the next best thing!

Here's a report from It's Our Economy:

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Today, corporate profits are at an all-time high and employee wages are at their lowest ever as a percent of GDP.i Worker cooperatives embody the hope that we can reverse the downward spiral in wage stagnation, wealth distribution, and concentration of ownership to build an economy that truly serves people and communities.

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[Editors note: Collective Courage can be purchased online from PSU Press here.  Use the code JGN14 at checkout to recieve a 20% discount. Please encourage your local libraries and co-ops to purchase a copy of this important resource.

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Today’s global social economy debate on inhibiting inequalities (wealth aggregation, social mobility, and basic opportunities) illustrates the vital roles that structure and values play to foster community-focused, triple bottomline, socially-oriented businesses that can’t be outsourced. Similar to the progressive advocacy media depiction of Jackson Rising: Creating the Mondragon of the South there is so much Appalachian hilltop and valley academic centers can do to organize and network inspiring rust belt graduates into a better future that allows them not only to be home-schooled but also locally and gainfully employed.

Joe Guinan is a Senior Fellow at the Democracy Collaborative and Executive Director of the Next System Project.

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Approaches for creating sustainable livelihoods assume that a rural household has the ability to make rational decisions to respond to often changing opportunities and constraints, including those offered by markets. In sync with this assumption, envisioning livelihood opportunities for illiterate and unskilled populations (particularly women) has been the most coveted goal of every development agency, both within government and beyond.  While sustainable livelihoods are desirable, they are not easy to attain and there have been few success stories. (Gillet et al., 2008).

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[Editor's Note: the following is excerpted from Jessica Gordon Nembhard, 2014, Benefits and Impacts of Cooperatives. White Paper, February 2014. You can find the full report  here.]

 

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Located in downtown Buenos Aires, self-managed workers in Hotel BAUEN are appealing for international support as they confront the threat of eviction. Hotel BAUEN is one of over 200 worker-recuperated enterprises (empresa recuperada por sus trabajadores) operating under worker control.

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In the past year, over a dozen investors made an amazing commitment to the future of worker cooperation and worker-controlled enterprise by investing in Workers Diner. These investments signaled the potential for a new method of raising startup capital for worker cooperative businesses. On the basis of decades-old securities rules, Workers Diner conducted a direct public offering (DPO) in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

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[Editor's note: this is the first part of a two-part series. Read part two here.]

 

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

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A continuing conversation with Thomas M. Hanna of the Democracy Collaborative, cross posted from Cooperate and No One Gets Hurt

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