Labor Notes – Unions and Worker Co-ops, Old Allies, Are Joining Forces Again

From Labor Notes:

But today, the alliance between unions and cooperatives is finding new life. A number of unions are exploring ways to ally with cooperatives and to form new ones as alternative strategies to save their members’ jobs and create new ones. About 10 years ago, unions started to think again about the cooperative model. The Union Cooperative Council formed in 2007 and is part of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives. With representatives of a dozen unions, it holds monthly conference calls to coordinate and share information. In 2009 the Steelworkers announced a partnership with Mondragon, the famous cooperative network in the Basque region of Spain, which has more than 100 constituent co-ops and tens of thousands of members. The idea was to start manufacturing cooperatives. In 2012, USW, Mondragon, and the Ohio Employee Ownership Center published their Union Co-op Model, outlining how union cooperatives could be structured. Manufacturing has proved challenging so far, though the Steelworkers do have several affiliated co-ops now, including a printing company and a carwash.

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