Manufacturing

Labor Notes – Can Worker-Owners Make a Big Factory Run?

From Labor Notes:

A tire is not just a piece of rubber with a hole in it. I learned this when I visited the workers’ cooperative that makes Cooper tires in El Salto, Mexico. A tire is a sophisticated product that comes about through a chain of chemical processes, lots of machine pounding, and still the intervention of human hands. A fervent inspection worker pointed out that every single tire is tested under road-like conditions: “If not, it could kill people,” he noted. And, he added practically, “keeping the tires safe saves our jobs.” These workers went without jobs for three years during the strike that ultimately led to the founding of their co-op. They’ve been building tires as worker-owners since 2005, selling them in the U.S. and Mexico and now paying themselves the highest wage in the tire industry. How does a worker cooperative with 1,050 members function? It’s hard enough for worker ownership to succeed at any size, because any company that competes in a market is subject to the same cost-cutting rat race as a capitalist firm. Workers are impelled to hammer themselves and cut their own pay or be driven out of business. And most workers here have just a middle-school education.

Read the full article here: https://www.labornotes.org/2013/04/can-worker-owners-make-big-factory-run