Workplace Democracy

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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This article is originally appeared on www.truth-out.org

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This keynote address by Robin Seydel from the 2011 California Cooperative Conference deserves to be widely seen.

By Mike Leung

 

This article deals with the conversion of an existing business to a worker-owned cooperative. Specifically, it lays out a basic strategy for allowing employees of a profitable company with publicly-traded securities to effectively convert to a worker cooperative in the absence of owner permission.

 

The debate over who lost Detroit and how to fix it rages on while Politico reports in “Break-up-the-big-banks fever hits the states” that legislators from “at least 18 states have introduced resolutions this year calling on Congress to split up banking giants by putting back in place a wall between commercial banking, taking deposits and making loans, and investment banking, the world of traders and deal-makers.” It turns out that quarantining the banksters and salvagi

Think of democracy as a garden: structures would be the plants and culture the soil. The soil will determine the quality of the plants more than the plants the quality of the soil. Plant democratic structures in conflicted soil and you get a mix that seriously lacks cooperation and collective power.

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