By Brian Lombardozzi
In Pittsburgh, PA, on March 26, 2012, BlueGreen Alliance founding members the United Steelworkers (USW), together with the global worker industrial cooperative leader Mondragon International, S.A. and the Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC) announced a new union co-op model for organizations wanting to combine worker equity with a progressive collective bargaining process. This template was created as a follow up to the original USW-Mondragon framework agreement launched in October 2009, in which the parties agreed to establish Mondragon-like industrial manufacturing cooperatives that adopt collective bargaining principles of the “one worker, one vote” ownership model within the United States and Canada.
“To survive the boom and bust, bubble-driven economic cycles fueled by Wall Street, we must look for new ways to create and sustain good jobs on Main Street,” urged Leo W. Gerard, USW International President. “This union co-op model, created through our partnership with Mondragon and with the assistance of the OEOC, provides a viable road map on how we might begin fielding these sustainable jobs. Worker ownership can provide the opportunity to figure out collective alternatives to layoffs, bankruptcies, and closings in hard times, rather than having the rug pulled right out from under struggling communities to the benefit of a few at the expense of the many.”