Jump to content

Welcome to FutureTimeline.forum
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!

These ads will disappear if you register on the forum

Photo

Worker Co-op News

Worker Co-ops economic control economic planning economic justice technological unemployment labor

  • Please log in to reply
42 replies to this topic

#1
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

    Born Again Singularitarian

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,148 posts
  • LocationNew Orleans, LA

How America's Largest Worker Owned Co-Op Lifts People Out of Poverty


Cooperative Home Care Associates has 2,300 workers who enjoy good wages, regular hours, and family health insurance. With an investment of $1.2 million into the cooperative sector, New York City is hoping to build on the group's success.


PreternaturalMookKentucky

Legislation to help workers who want to form their own businesses or to set up worker-owned cooperatives was introduced on Monday by Sen. Bernie Sanders. Employee ownership increases employment, productivity, sales and wages. The two-bill package was filed in the Senate on the same day Sanders held a news conference in Burlington, Vermont, with representatives of worker-owned businesses.
“At a time when corporate America is outsourcing millions of decent-paying jobs overseas and with the economy continuing to struggle to create jobs that pay a livable wage, we need to expand economic models that help the middle-class,” Sanders said. “I strongly believe that employee ownership is one of those models.” He said the federal government, however, has not done enough for employee ownership to realize its full potential.
Under one bill in Sanders' package, the U.S. Department of Labor would provide funding to states to establish and expand employee ownership centers. These centers would provide training and technical support for programs promoting employee ownership and participation throughout the country. This legislation is modeled on the success of the Vermont Employee Ownership Center which has done an excellent job in educating workers, retiring business owners, and others about the benefits of worker ownership.
A second bill would create a U.S. Employee Ownership Bank to provide loans to help workers purchase businesses through an employee stock ownership plan or a worker-owned cooperative. Sen. Patrick Leahy is a cosponsor of Sanders’ legislative package.

http://www.sanders.s...businesses-2014

 
It's a central tenant of syndicalism and technostism. I hope Sanders incorporates expanding America's range of co-ops into his economic policies.

But how do you feel about them?

 

My opinion is that it's telling that USica's "leftist" party, the Democrats, has absolutely no policy on worker-owned co-ops. If you ask me, workplace democracy should be a central aspect of any leftist party. Not the main cause, but definitely a large element of what they believe.


  • Frizz, Unity and nomad like this

And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#2
Rainbow Frog

Rainbow Frog

    Password Scrambled

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 982 posts
  • LocationRemember me fondly!

I think they are a good thing. A democratically elected leadership and communal ownership massively reduces corruption.

Check out Credit Unions and Mutual Funds as commonly owned alternatives to banks.


People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway. 
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway. 
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. 
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. 
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway. 
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway. 
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway. 
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. 
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway. 
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

#3
Ewan

Ewan

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,093 posts
  • LocationLondon

The Democrats aren't a leftist party just like our Labour party isn't for the most part either. But yes I'm a fan of worker owned coops, worker representations on boards, unions & collective bargaining. Most of these things are not common in the UK but they are in many European states. I know Corbyn wants to make a lot of these things more common but who knows if he'll ever have a chance to change anything. I think parties here & across the Atlantic are far too 'business' friendly at the expense of workers these days. 


  • Yuli Ban likes this

#4
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,565 posts

Here are a couple of links that provide actual examples of the concept of worker owned co-ops:

 

http://www.yesmagazi...-out-a-downturn

 

 

http://www.thenation...leveland-model/

 

 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#5
Unity

Unity

    Information Organism

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,477 posts
You have a very good mind especially for the age of 20 Yuli.

#6
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

    Born Again Singularitarian

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,148 posts
  • LocationNew Orleans, LA

You have a very good mind especially for the age of 20 Yuli.

You're saying that to a jobless schizophrenic.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#7
Unity

Unity

    Information Organism

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,477 posts
http://www.zerohedge...enic-job-market

#8
Rainbow Frog

Rainbow Frog

    Password Scrambled

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 982 posts
  • LocationRemember me fondly!

 

You have a very good mind especially for the age of 20 Yuli.

You're saying that to a jobless schizophrenic.

 

 

Your schizophrenic? Holy shit, Yuli is a black schizophrenic jobless person, no wonder you hate Republicans.


People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway. 
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway. 
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. 
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. 
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway. 
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway. 
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway. 
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. 
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway. 
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

#9
Rainbow Frog

Rainbow Frog

    Password Scrambled

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 982 posts
  • LocationRemember me fondly!

 

 

You have a very good mind especially for the age of 20 Yuli.

You're saying that to a jobless schizophrenic.

 

 

Your schizophrenic? Holy shit, Yuli is a black schizophrenic jobless person, no wonder you hate Republicans.

 

 

Oh and an Atheist. Literally the Republican anti-Christ.


People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway. 
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway. 
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. 
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. 
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway. 
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway. 
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway. 
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. 
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway. 
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

#10
GenX

GenX

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,045 posts
  • LocationSo Cal

The idea seems good.  I knkow it was a lot more common (at least in the US) up until the 1980's.  The only one I've ever actually encountered is a Canadian Airline called WestJet.  About five years ago I flew on them from LAX to Calgary.  They have signs all over the terminals in Canada and also (I think) somewhere in the plane that says that the employees are the owners of the company.  Based on my one experience, I really liked them.  They are basically like the Canadian Jetblue, with each plane featuring all leather seats and TV at every seat.  The service was good and the price was unbeatable.  Now, whether that was because it was a worker owned airline, or whether it was because I'm used to flying on domestic US airlines and any foreign airline is way, way better by comparison I can not say.  


The only thing we ever want is more


#11
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

    Born Again Singularitarian

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,148 posts
  • LocationNew Orleans, LA

Humanity is uncivilized. Even on Kardashev's scale, we've yet to reach Type 1 status. By all measures, our species is consumed by primalism and degenerate practices that the highest of us seem keen to perpetuate. We remain tethered to weakness and submission, desperate for freedom yet blind towards the means of achieving it. Perhaps I practice malthoughts in saying this: we must overcome the need to be natural. Naturalism lies with primitivism.
Technostism is humankind moving past itself.
For as long as we fail to overcome these naturalist obstacles, we cannot be defined as a civilized species.


  • Resource extraction

  • Labor

  • Energy production

Resource Extraction
We tout our "highly efficient farming methods," and yet we've yet to even develop the most basic civilized farming capabilities— that of being unaffected by climate. We've strode towards skyfarms, and yet their adoption has been delayed at best. Agriculture needs reform. Presently as of 2015, we rely on fixed climates and spontaneous weather to drive our production. This is largely unchanged since the rise of the first civilizations dependent on river flooding.
Proper modern agriculture must have these features—


  • Universalism. No crop should be region specific. One farmed in Latin America should also be farmed on Luna.

  • Declimatization. Any crop should be grown year round. Climate conditions need only be set by human means.

  • Depollenization. Relying on insects may prove disastrous should they become endangered or extinct— efforts must be made to replicate their processes.

  • Vertical farming. Creating networks of stratofarms. Through these, all of the above can become possible.

Labor
The classes of Marx's indignation have remained! Current relations between the working and capitalist classes have become direly strained. The rise of technology has led to a buffer class— the precariat— as well as a shift towards decentralization. Despite this, we rely on human labor and human direction still. As with agriculture, we fool ourselves into believing we've reached the pinnacle of efficiency.
Humans must be removed from labor.


  • Complete automation of labor. In the short term, maintenance specialists will be greatly desired in order to keep machinery running.

  • Creation of worker cooperatives. Greatly expanding the power of the working class and having them profit from droid labor is the top priority of technostism.

  • Expansion of entrepreneurship. Keeping free markets is important.

  • Creation of a metamarket. This is where the networking class becomes relevant.

  • Creation of a metastate. This is possible through mass-adoption of fabrication technology and a totalized Internet of Things

  • Creation of the networking class. Once the current working class is profiting from droid labor, there should be efforts to connecting the world at large. This is the Internet of Things, fabrication, and advanced agriculture's purpose. At which point, the difference between the classical bourgeoisie and the networking class becomes nulled.

Energy Production
This should be self-explanatory: we must maximize energy production, with the most minimal environmental costs. Mankind must have an energy surplus.


  • Focus on fusion. Creating stars on Earth should be our paramount priority.

  • Renew nuclear— the rejection of nuclear fission energy may have been the worst energy policy of the past 50 years. We must turn this around.

  • Expand solar. Every hour, the Sun blasts Earth with 200 petawatts of energy. To let this all go to waste is backwards and self-destructive.

An energy surplus will allow for desalinization. This, in turn, will greatly aid efforts at modernizing agriculture. This, in turn, will provide for added abundance for the networking class.

Technostist Technate
A technostist technate (can also be called a technostist soviet) is a self-sufficient community, council, and industrial center. They are well connected to urbanates.
The aim of a technostist economy and technocratic sociopolitical system is to raise the standard of living for everyone and blur class divisions.
Recall George Orwell's character, Emmanuel Goldstein, and his book— The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism. The book and the book within a book detailed why the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four was the way it was. Pundits and fans love to focus on the overwhelming surveillance and totalitarian repression without desiring to understand why it happened. The powerful does not wish to be stripped of power— they will waste goods and services and restrict access to information in order to keep a feudal-esque class structure in place. Taking that to its logical extreme, you get Nineteen Eighty-Four. This sort of mindset is still present in many (I've come across one who believes fabrication technology and open-source should be illegal, because it's "unfair to the wealthy." Unsurprisingly, he agreed with primitivist ideals).
Automation allows for abundance. Technostist initiatives allow for the working class to become the networking class. This means the working and middle classes emulate the upper class. Thus, there is no longer a divide based on socioeconomic class.

Objectives


  • Water

  • Food

  • Shelter

  • Electricity

  • Waste Management

  • Labor

Let's discuss how to do this. There are already many ideas floating around the Internet.
Non-profit seed factories as a way to replace the existing system
How would you design a small, completely automated village?
Organizing a Game Plan for Technostism R&D
Let me begin to discuss design philosophy and social aspects of a system


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#12
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

    Born Again Singularitarian

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,148 posts
  • LocationNew Orleans, LA

Can worker cooperatives alleviate income inequality?

When Henry Lezama joined Roca Mia Construction, his new colleagues were still in the process of deciding what kind of business, exactly, it would be. On New York’s Rockaway peninsula after Hurricane Sandy washed through, there was plenty of work to do. Entire homes had been destroyed; basements and ground floors needed to be gutted and rebuilt. Would the workers do demolition, landscaping or cleanup? The one thing they were sure of was that Roca Mia would be a cooperative: The employees, as a group, would own the business. “From that day forward, we all made decisions together — on buying insurance or tools or accepting new contracts,” Lezama says.

The five members of Roca Mia have now been in business as a construction company for a year (longer, notes co-op member Carlos Lezama, than many new businesses survive). While making decisions cooperatively often means sitting through a meeting at the end of a long day, when they’re all tired from installing floors, hanging drywall and painting walls, the five say that the collaborative process is worth it. Working as a cooperative has allowed them to create their own jobs, rebuild their neighborhoods and keep the money they earn in their community.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#13
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

    Born Again Singularitarian

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,148 posts
  • LocationNew Orleans, LA

Bernie Sanders' Big Idea to Spread the Wealth -- Let Workers Own a Piece of the Business They Work for



Businesses are run for a profit that goes into the pockets of the business’ “investors.” To be an investor requires that you have money. This is a rigged system that by definition channels the returns and gains of our economy to the people who have money in the first place.
That system forces a terrible business model: investors try to squeeze money out of businesses as fast as they can. Then they move on. People who put the money in have even more money, but leave behind them a trail of squeezed-out ruin. This squeezing of the business involves squeezing the workers, squeezing the product, squeezing the customers and squeezing the government out of any taxes that might be owed.
This is bad for America’s long-term economy, people, environment and — since it brings about intense concentration of wealth — bad for our democracy, too. But hey, it’s great for a few already-wealthy people at the top.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#14
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

    Born Again Singularitarian

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,148 posts
  • LocationNew Orleans, LA

Why aren’t there more worker’s cooperatives?

The UN declared 2012 The International Year of Cooperatives to encourage the growth of cooperatives worldwide. Perhaps it’s not that surprising that I only learned that fact today, when I was researching the status of worker-owned cooperatives. After all, Nancy Fabre points out

As an organizational form, worker-owned and -managed companies are largely ignored in economics textbooks. Still, research by Richard FreemanHenry Hansmann,Douglas KruseJohn PencavelLouis Putterman and others has informed my thinking on the issue.
Democratic decision-making can be costly and contentious. But we knew that already. Why should workplace democracy be harder — or less efficient — than shareholder democracy (which, in principle, most public corporations are bound by)?
If workers receive a share of profits, they may try to free-ride on the efforts of other members of the collective — especially if effort is difficult to monitor.
Yes, indeed, but similar problems characterize the typical capitalist company, in which most workers gain little from improvements in overall performance.
If workers like one another, they may be unwilling to impose the level of discipline required to achieve efficient outcomes — like firing slackers. More generally, workers may favor the quality of their own work environment as much as increased profitability.

Actually, some cooperatives elect members to serve in managerial roles, and therefore to take on the responsibility for policing the organization, so those objections are possible moot.
Personally, I believe that the core issue at the root of the American aversion to collectives is our self-identification with individuality, and out difficulties with thinking collectively, at least for Americans of European ancestry...

And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#15
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

    Born Again Singularitarian

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,148 posts
  • LocationNew Orleans, LA


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#16
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

    Born Again Singularitarian

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,148 posts
  • LocationNew Orleans, LA

Worker-Owners and Unions

You have probably heard the story of the scorpion that convinces a frog to carry it across a river. Halfway across, the scorpion stings the frog, which means both will drown. The frog does not understand; the scorpion explains, "I couldn't help myself. It's my nature."
In the abstract, worker-owned enterprises and labor unions would appear to have much in common. Both share the goal of improving pay and working conditions. Both aim to give workers a say in the workplace. And both belong on any progressive's short list of strategies for building a more just economic system.
But when unions and worker-owned businesses actually interact, they sometimes act more like the fabled arachnid.
The Ohio Employee Ownership Center at Kent State, where I work, provides preliminary technical assistance on worker buyouts. I once met with a group of employees exploring a worker buyout of a failing paper mill in southwest Ohio. When I asked them why they thought they would do any better, they gave me an example. Pointing to a large machine, they explained that it broke down regularly, resulting in lost production. Any repairs they could make were only temporary, until permanent replacement parts could be installed. They went on to explain that the mill had been bought and sold three times over the past two years. Two owners ago the parts had been purchased, but they were still sitting in a storeroom. When these employees became the owners, they were going to install the parts.
But would the workers really cooperate with management as employee owners, and would management really cooperate with them and empower them to make decisions and act independently? Or, as with the scorpion, were the decades of confrontational labor-management relations so engrained in the nature of both groups that they would sink their own company? In that instance we'll never know, because the buyout effort did not go forward.
Competing Models?
Worker-owned businesses can take a variety of forms, from full-fledged worker cooperatives to companies whose structure and management practices are indistinguishable from ordinary capitalist firms except for the fact that their employees own some or all of the company's shares (see "The Many Forms of Worker Ownership."). Because most of the manufacturing companies where worker buyouts have been used to avert plant closures were unionized, unions have had to grapple with reshaping their role in this new context.
 
While unions and worker-owners share many aims, there are also profound differences. True cooperatives address working conditions through direct democracy at the company level. Members have the right to participate in making decisions on matters such as compensation and business planning. Co-op members do not like being restricted in their decision-making by factors external to the cooperative—even factors like industry-wide collective bargaining agreements. When co-ops interact with other co-ops, they typically form secondary cooperatives controlled by the member co-ops, which run them to serve their common needs. One might say that co-ops tend toward decentralization.
In contrast, unions depend on numbers to build their strength. They need to maintain a degree of discipline among their locals, insisting on relative uniformity around key issues. Unions' most effective strategy for bringing about changes in the workplace is the collective refusal to work. If the central leadership cannot count on each local to follow its direction, the threat of a strike loses credibility. Thus, unions depend on centralization in order to create enough power to offset that of the owners.
Why Worker-Owners Need Unions
Moreover, union representation might seem to be superfluous for worker-owners, who after all are supposed to have decision-making authority by virtue of being owners. Most ESOPs are not structured so as to give workers significant decision-making authority. But even in the most democratic ESOP, a union can have an important role to play. One way to look at the role of unions is to observe the balance of power that exists between the three branches of government in the United States. The legislative branch makes the laws, as the board of directors in a company sets policy by which management must manage. The executive branch implements or executes the laws on a daily basis, as management runs the day-to-day operations. Even in those ESOPs where the worker-owners have the right to participate in electing the board of directors, that right does not protect any individual employee from the power that management enjoys to hire and fire, for example. Just as the judicial branch protects individual citizens from the misuse of power by an executive, the union protects individual workers from the arbitrary use of power by management.
Collective bargaining is another role that unions play. A union can help worker-owners to assess their situation in the context of industry-wide working conditions and compensation practices. And via the union, information flows both ways. In a cooperative or an ESOP practicing so-called open book management, the employees have full access to the company's financial information. With such transparency, the union negotiating team does not have to guess about what the company can afford; it has the information required to calculate what is available for compensation. Using this as a frame of reference, the union is also in a better position to bargain for strong agreements throughout the industry.
Access to group rates on benefits like health insurance or multi-employer pensions can be another advantage that unions bring, especially in the case of cooperatives, which tend to be much smaller than ESOP companies.
Unions also bring a ready-made communication structure, which can be helpful in building an ownership culture among workers who are accustomed to having little say in the business.
Some of the positive synergies between union representation and worker ownership were at play in a Toledo textile firm. In 1991, GenCorp was planning to close down an unprofitable division, but instead agreed to sell it to the 200-plus employees as Textileather. The Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) supported the buyout and joined with management in building successful employee participation. Training in participatory practices was implemented from the beginning, and an effective jointly led employee involvement structure resulted in a 28% increase in productivity, a 40% drop in scrap, and greatly reduced machine downtime in the first year. The company was immediately profitable. Ultimately, though, Textileather's worker-owners decided that their primary goal was job security, not ownership. In 1996, when the acquisition debt was paid off, management and workers agreed to sell the company. The buyer not only paid 160% of the valuation price, but also agreed to increase wages, bring in additional work creating more jobs, and give the employees the first right of refusal if it decided to sell the plant in the future.
At another worker-owned firm, an initially strong union-ESOP relationship failed to prevent a breakdown of the worker-ownership structure. Republic Engineered Steels' 4,500 employees, spread among eight plants in four states and primarily organized by the United Steelworkers (USWA), chose to buy their division from steel giant LTV in 1989 to avoid a shutdown. The new contract defined a structure for employee participation: Work groups would meet regularly to identify opportunities for change. They could implement actions that affected only their area; other proposals would be kicked up to the department level, the plant level, and in some cases to a corporation-wide joint labor-management committee. To get this structure to work, 100 managers and their corresponding 100 union representatives trained jointly for a week to become co-facilitators. Union and management also formed a joint committee to direct the ownership training program.
With a solid foundation of worker-owner participation, the company successfully cut $80 million out of its annual $800 million expenses in only 18 months—not by cutting compensation, but by implementing employees' ideas for improving operations.
Two events changed the picture. First, to provide equity for the buyout, employees had agreed to roll over $20 million from their LTV retirement plan in exchange for preferred stock that paid annual dividends at 16%. In order to retire this expensive debt, management convinced the employees to let the company go public. But management miscalculated the price the shares would obtain, disappointing the workers and shaking their confidence in company leadership. Furthermore, in an attempt to enhance the company's reputation with its new outside shareholders and raise its share price, management became less sensitive to the priorities of its worker-owners.
Then, in the late 1990s the price of steel took a deep plunge. Instead of responding to the crisis by taking advantage of the participatory structures that had so methodically been created, management fell back on its traditional MO, implementing changes with no worker input. When management made plans to open a new plant where it could get the most concessions from the local government—a decision that would have put many of its Massillon, Ohio, worker-owners on the street—the union became so frustrated that it sought out an investor to buy the company, giving up ownership in order to dislodge an entrenched management.
Unions have other ways of getting management's attention, short of selling the company. Some choose the traditional union weapon: the strike. In 1998, the worker-owners at the 100% employee-owned Republic Storage Systems, represented by the Steelworkers, chose to go on strike, ostensibly over a few pennies. In fact, this was their way of expressing a vote of no confidence in the CEO. Soon after, the CEO did resign, and the employees found a new leader they were prepared to follow. In fact, in 2003, when the entire plant was severely damaged by a flood, employees came in on their own time to clean up the plant.


THE MANY FORMS OF WORKER OWNERSHIP
The term "worker ownership" can describe a variety of business structures. At one end of the spectrum, the worker-owned cooperative model rejects the very notion that capital should control the business and enjoy an unlimited return. To the contrary, as political economist David Ellerman describes it, in the cooperative model labor hires capital, governance is based on membership in the firm, and the return to capital is limited. As a result, investors are not easily attracted. Workers themselves typically have little capital to invest. So co-ops are rarely found in capital-intensive industries; most of the 400 for-profit co-ops in the United States are in labor-intensive service industries, which do not require expensive tools.

Another model involves direct worker ownership of voting stock. Unlike the cooperative, this model accepts the capitalist system but rejects the capitalist. Here, the workers accept the assumption that control and profits should be allocated according to the number of shares one owns, but reject absentee ownership of shares by those who do not work at the firm. Only a handful of worker- owned companies are structured this way because workers typically lack capital to invest and are averse to risking the little they may have.

By far the most common structure of worker ownership is the Employee Stock Ownership Plan, or ESOP, which has been used in over 11,000 U.S. companies since first being written into legislation in 1974. About 9,225 ESOPs are active today, according to the National Center for Employee Ownership. ESOP participants often share ownership of the company with large investors. Moreover, in most companies with ESOPs the worker-owners not only accept that capital, not labor, has the right to govern the business, but also allow someone else to vote their shares of that capital.

The ESOP itself is a trust that receives tax-deductible retirement contributions from the company. Two characteristics set ESOPs apart from other retirement plans, such as 401(k)s. First, ESOPs are not only allowed, but required, to invest a majority of their assets in the employer company's own stock. Second, an ESOP can borrow money to acquire stock, releasing shares to individual participants as future contributions are made. While employees may not possess credit, cash, or collateral, the ESOP provides a vehicle for the sponsoring employer to fill this gap with the credit, cash, and collateral of the company itself. In other words, ESOPs provide workers with a tax-advantaged structure for financing the acquisition of their company.

The legal owner of the capital is the ESOP trust, overseen by a trustee appointed by the board of directors. In managing the ESOP's assets, under current law the trustee is allowed to consider only the workers' interest in increasing the value of their retirement holdings—not their interests as employees with concerns such as job security.

While worker buyouts to avoid shutdowns account for only about 3% of all ESOPs, a majority of these are companies with union representation prior to the buyout. Without the leadership, structure, and protection afforded by a union, employees generally cannot build common cause quickly enough to present themselves as viable buyers, before machinery has been moved out and customers turned away.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#17
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

    Born Again Singularitarian

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,148 posts
  • LocationNew Orleans, LA


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#18
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

    Born Again Singularitarian

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,148 posts
  • LocationNew Orleans, LA


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#19
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

    Born Again Singularitarian

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,148 posts
  • LocationNew Orleans, LA

Mondragón

Mondragón (Basque: Arrasate or Mondragoe), officially known as Arrasate/Mondragón is a town and municipality in Gipuzkoa province, Basque CountrySpain. Its population on 31 December 2007 was 22,112.

 

Economic and historical significance

The town is best known as the birthplace of the Mondragón Cooperative Corporation (MCC), the world's largestworker cooperative, whose foundation was inspired in the 1940s by the Catholic priest José María Arizmendiarrieta. In 2002 the MCC contributed 3.7% towards the total GDP of the Basque Country and 7.6% to the industrial GDP.

The valley of the High Deba where the town is located enjoyed a high level of employment in the 1980s while the rest of the Basque industrial areas suffered from the steel crisis.

Noted poverty expert and sociology professor Barbara J. Peters of Southampton CollegeLong Island University, has studied the incorporated and entirely resident-owned town of Mondragón. "In Mondragón, I saw no signs of poverty. I saw no signs of extreme wealth," Peters said. "I saw people looking out for each other…..It's a caring form of capitalism.”[1]

1-Mondragon-All-1055-2.jpg


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#20
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

    Born Again Singularitarian

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,148 posts
  • LocationNew Orleans, LA


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Worker Co-ops, economic control, economic planning, economic justice, technological unemployment, labor

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users