More US unions are now running their own businesses | MSNBC

by Ned Resnikoff

A handful of American unions aren’t content to just negotiate with the boss—instead, they’re cutting the boss out of the equation entirely.

For example, the United Steelworkers union (USW) is starting a handful of co-ops across the rust belt in collaboration with the Basque Mondragon Corporation; a sprawling federation of cooperative businesses, in which all of the workers have an equal share in the company and get to vote to determine corporate governance. In Mondragon, company management in the federation is answerable to a democratically Governing Council and General Assembly consisting of all employees. Since 2009, USW has been working to import the cooperative network’s model of workplace democracy into some American pilot programs.

Amy Dean, a fellow with the Century Foundation, tracks the USW’s progress in a recent article for Yes! magazine. The steelworkers union, writes Dean, is currently “helping to launch the Pittsburgh Clean and Green Laundry Cooperative, a new industrial laundry.” Additionally, it is supporting the Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative in Ohio, which “has two projects in the pipeline: a railway manufacturing co-op and a cooperative for retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency.”

Read the article from MSNBC’s The Ed Show.