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Worker Cooperatives

Starting a worker owned cooperative for home care workers
Guidance and resources for building a worker owned home care cooperative. A joint project of USDA Rural Development, CAP Services, Wisconsin, and the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives. Funding by the Mutual Services Cooperative Fund.

Beyond Capitalism: Leland Stanford's Forgotten Vision"
by Lee Altenberg
Describes a secret about the history of Stanford University. During the final decade of his life, Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University, was possessed by a vision of an industrial system owned by its workers. Published in Sandstone and Tile, the magazine of the Stanford Historical Society (vol 14 (1), 1990).

The Citizen Producer: The Rise and Fall of Working-Class Cooperatives in the United States
by Steve Leikin, from Consumers Against Capitalism, edited by Ellen Furlough and Carl Strikwerda, and published by Rowman & Littlefield, 1999

Community Economic Development Source for Books and Videos Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada

The Competetive Advantages of Stakeholder Mutuals
Shann Turnbull, Macquarie University, Sydney
12th Annual Meeting on Socio-Economics, Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, London School of Economics, July 9, 2000

Co-op Success and Failure: Finance Remains an Issue,
Christopher Gunn, Paper prepared for the 2004 Conference of the International Association For the Economics of Participation, Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Cooperative Care
Cooperative Care was one of 99 semifinalists for the prestigious 2002 Innovations in American Government Awards, sponsored by the Institute for Government Innovation at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. This essay was written by Dianne Harrington to support the award. Dianne is a social worker consultant, who assisted with the exploration and development of Cooperative Care.

The Cooperative Coopers of Minneapolis,
by Steve Leikin, Minnesota History 57 (Winter 2001-2002): 286-405. Used with permission.

Cooperative Fair Trade Coffee: The U.S. Experience
Ted Weihe, U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council, Presentation to COPAC Conference on Fair Trade Coffee, January 21, 2005 Berlin, Germany

Cooperative Home Care Associates
A for-profit, worker-owned cooperative located in the South Bronx, New York. The cooperative provides home health care aides on a contract basis to large health-care providers such as the Visiting Nurse Service and major hospitals. This article is from a report published by the Aspen Institute, "Jobs and the Urban Poor"

Democracy in the Workplace: Theory and Practice from the Perspective of Communication.
by George Cheney
Related to Mondragon Cooperatives in the Basque Region of Spain

Democracy in the Workplace: Three Worker-Owned Cooperatives In Action (video)
In this half hour video, the worker owners of three San Francisco Bay Area businesses show what it's like to work collectively and deal with a problem in a truly democratic way. These businesses are managed solely by their employees.

The oldest of the three, the Cheeseboard, was founded in Berkeley in 1967 and has 25 members. The largest collective is vegetarian Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco with 150 co-owners. Inkworks Press, a progressive union print-shop celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, has a staff of eighteen.

There are over 200 worker-owned collectively run businesses in the United States. They operate as true workplace democracies. Each worker owner has an equal voice in their operations. Many are based on the principles of the Arizmendi Cooperatives in Spain also shown in the video.

For more information:
Off Center Video
Tel: (510) 486-8010
Fax: (510) 644-2139
email: MargoS999 @aol.com

27 minutes
Cost: $25(postage and handling included)
Overseas inquiries encouraged.
PAL or SECAM versions available for $30 plus postage.

Democracy, Participation and Communication at Work: A Multidisciplinary Review
by George Cheney, Joseph Straub, Laura Speirs-Glebe, Cynthia Stohl, Susan Whalen, Kathy Garvin-Doxas, and David Carlone. Originally appeared in Communication Yearbook 21 pp. 35-91

Employee Governance
Shann Turnbull, Macquarie University, Sydney at the First European Conference on Corporate Goverance, Belgium's National Bank, Brussels, November 16, 2000.

Gdansk Cooperative (Harvard Case Study)
Gary Loveman ; David T. Kotchen
Founded largely as a source of earnings to support the Solidarity resistance to communist rule, the Gdansk cooperative grew rapidly during the initial years of economic liberalization. However, in 1993 it faces weak demand and severe competition, and it contemplates privatization as the first step in an effort to find new sources of growth and renewed motivation for its workers.

Grassroots Economic Organizing
To help build a nation- and worldwide movement for a cooperative social economy based on democratic and responsible production, conscientious consumption, and use of capital to further social and economic justice.

Health insurance for informal sector: case study of Gujarat
by Gumber, Anil; Kulkarni, Veena, Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), India, September 2000

History of Work Cooperation in America
by John Curl
1980; Revised 1997

Home Care Cooperatives: Worker Ownership in Focus
Julie Whitaker, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Stu Schneider, Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute
Margaret Bau, Wisconsin USDA Rural Development
March 2005

ICA: Building Community Jobs by Replicating Model Worker Co-ops (full text)
by Carol DiMarcello
From the GEO Newsletter
Published by EDINA, The Ecological Democracy Institute of North America, with support from the Cooperative Charitable Trust.

The ICA Group of Boston provides information on employee ownership and worker cooperatives.

Informal Learning Processes in a Worker Co-operative
Informal Learning Processes in a Worker Co-operative By Jack Quarter and Harish Midha
NALL Working Paper No. 37, 2001

International Organization of Industrial, Artisanal and Service Producers' Co-ops

The Many Meanings of "Solidarity": The Negotiation of Values in the Mondragon Worker- Cooperative Complex Under Pressure.
by George Cheney of the Department of Communication Studies, University of Montana- Missoula.

Mondragon, a hard to find video of the Mondragon Co-operative in Spain now available.

Established over 30 years ago, The Mondragon Experiment is the most successful worker's co-operative in the western world. "Mondragon" documents the economic model of Don Jose Maria, and the establishment of the famous technical school. The vast economic development complex of Mondragon today, employing 40,000 people, provides the original blueprint for C.E.D. in action.

National Center for Employee Ownership A source of information on employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and other forms of employee ownership.

The Need for Stakeholder Councils in Social Audits
Shann Turnbull, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
Social and Environmental Accounting, Vol. 15, No. 2, September 1995

Network of Bay Area Worker Collectives -- The web site includes a list of member worker-managed collectives in the San Francisco Bay area, with links to their web sites.

News from Mondragon Unabridged version of article by Tim Huet which appeared in GEO (http://www.geonewsletter.org ) #30

The Ohio Employee Ownership Center,
Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
The Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC) is a non-profit, university-based program established in 1987 to provide outreach, information, and preliminary technical assistance to Ohio employees and business owners interested in exploring employee ownership. The OEOC provides ownership training on a single and multi-company basis to existing employee-owned firms and is funded by grants from the Ohio Department of Development, private foundations, dues from firms belonging to Ohio's Employee-Owned Network, income from training contracts and donations.

Promotion of cooperatives. Report V(2)
ILO, Geneva, February 2001, International Labour Conference (89th Session: 2001)

Scavenger Cooperatives in Latin America and Asia
Martin Medina, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Tijuana, Mexico

Stakeholder Cooperation
Shann Turnbull, Macquarie University, Sydney
Journal Of Cooperative Studies, Vol. 29, No. 3, 1997

A study of worker-owned business development
by John G. Cline, St. Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, December 1995. A study of worker co-op development and leadership roles, with a focus on women, in rural Nova Scotia. The study is included in the Canadian Worker Cooperative Research, Directory and Information Centre web page.

The Triumph of Dawson's Textile Workers
Details efforts of a group of Georgia textile workers who formed a co-op to reopen a closed mill. From Rural Cooperatives, March/April 1998.

When a Worker's Cooperative Works: The Case of Kerala Dinesh Beedi
by G. Mitu Gulatis, T.M. Thomas Isaac, and William A. Klein.
UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 02-13
UCLA Law Review. No. 5 June 2002

Why are Worker Cooperatives So Rare?
by Michael Kremer -- This paper argues that worker cooperatives are prone to redistribution among members, and that this redistribution distorts incentives. This is NBER Working Paper No. 6118.

Why Unitary Boards Are Not Best Practice: A Case for Compound Boards
Shann Turnbull, Macquarie University, Sydney at the First European Conference on Corporate Goverance, Belgium's National Bank, Brussels, November 16, 2000.

Wisconsin worker-owned and craft cooperatives in the Wisconsin Cooperatives: Directory and Business Information Guide

The Worker Cooperative: A Vehicle for Economic Development
by John Cline -- This paper discusses selected examples of Canadian and United States worker co-op development based on research initiated in 1995 and is an ongoing activity.

Worker Cooperatives: Case Studies, Key Criteria, and Best Practices,
Greg Lawless and Anne Reynolds
UWCC Staff Paper Number 3, July 2004

Worker Cooperative discussion group Discussion group focusing worker cooperatives. Goals of group are:

  1. To discuss the worker cooperative as a practical alternative to employment in the corporate world.
  2. To provide a place where people interested in worker coops can network and find partners with whom to start a coop.
  3. As a place where business ideas for coops can be discussed and coop founders can get feedback on their ideas.

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