By Lindsay Beyerstein
Big news from last week largely overlooked by the mainstream media: The United Steelworkers will join forces with MONDRAGON Internacional, S.A., the largest worker-owned cooperative in the world, to start worker-owned factories in Canada and the United States. “We see today’s agreement as a historic first step towards making union co-ops a viable business model that can create good jobs, empower workers, and support communities in the United States and Canada,” USW International President Leo W. Gerard said. “We need a new business model that invests in workers and invests in communities.”
Under the historic agreement, signed October 27, USW and Mondragon will try to integrate collective bargaining with Mondragon’s collective practices. The two sides have also pledged to explore new approaches to bargaining in order to encourage worker participation and labor/management cooperation.