Archive for December, 2009

In Cleveland, Worker Co-Ops Look to a Spanish Model | Time

By Judith D. Schwartz

While officials, pundits and the everyday folks who have to pay bills lament unemployment rates that won’t go down and wages that won’t go up, some Rust Belt planners and union leaders are feeling optimistic: they’re taking inspiration from the Basque region of Spain, where a network of worker-owned cooperatives launched amid the rubble of the Spanish Civil War has grown to become the country’s seventh-largest corporation, and among its most profitable.

The Mondragon Corp. (MCC), based in northern Spain, is a multilayered business group with 256 independent companies (more than 100 of which are worker-owned cooperatives) that employs more than 100,000 people. It has long been legendary among scholars and activists seeking to bolster workers’ rights.

Read the article from Time magazine here.

Wall Street Bonuses; Traumatized Haiti

The visual juxtaposition is compelling – congressional hearings in Washington where bailed-out bankers defend their mega-bonuses as “doing God’s work” while thousands of dust-covered and injured earthquake victims stare eerily into the after-shock silence of their personal suffering in Haiti, the latest example of global climate insecurity. In either case, the odds are not good that the people’s greater good will prevail. (more…)

This Import Might Preserve American Jobs | Miller-McCune

By Judith D. Schwartz

As the U.S. unemployment breaches the 10 percent mark — with manufacturing sector rates even higher — policymakers and industry representatives in the Midwest are seeking strategies to keep the Rust Belt from getting even rustier. In this war for economic survival, groups in cities like Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago, as well as the million-plus-members-strong United Steelworkers Union, have turned to a model borne of another war-torn region: the Mondragón Corporation in the Basque area of Spain. The Mondragón Corporation (MCC) is a multilayered organization with worker-owned cooperatives and participatory governance at its core. The corporation is a group of cooperatives and cooperative members, a seat of governance as well as planning, researching and generating funding for new businesses — a kind of meta-cooperative.

Read the article from Miller-McCune here.



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