We're Building a National Network of Union Co-Ops

Who Is 1Worker1Vote?

1worker1vote is a U.S.-based, nonprofit economic development catalyst. Our organization believes all American workers need to “own their labor and rent their capital” instead of the reverse. We’re proponents of individual worker ownership, which is in fact the original American business system.

Incorporated in 2015 (with fiscal sponsorship from the CUNY Law Foundation), 1worker1vote.org works with like-minded local and national organizations to help existing businesses transition to a union co-op structure. We also help launch new union co-op businesses by providing technical assistance, education, mentoring, templates, and access to supporting finance.

Why the Union Co-Op Model?

Unionized worker-owned cooperative businesses are the way our society can  overcome inequalities of opportunity, mobility, and income.

Union co-ops are based on the Mondragon principles dedicated to growing equal share equity for workers, fomenting solidarity, and building local living economies. (The 60-year-old Mondragon model won the 2013 Financial Times “Boldness in Business” award.)

Union co-ops operating under the Mondragon principles make sure no worker community – organized, unorganized, or alternative – is left behind.

The Activities of 1Worker1Vote

Our Work:

  • Supports the creation, building, and launching of union worker cooperatives and initiatives across the country under the “one worker, one vote” framework.
  • Creates a national network of union cooperatives 
  • Includes all participants in America’s growing National Worker Ownership Movement (in partnership with the American Sustainable Business Network)

The Results:

Our work infuses the U.S. worker cooperative community with:
  • Enhanced solidarity culture, critical mass, and a trained & skilled workforce in diverse fields.
  • More robust collaboration with America’s Labor Movement, providing a tested and proven worker equity framework.
  • An integrated nationwide network of Mondragon-style organizational and financial support mechanisms that increase employment, share investment opportunities, and cross-train worker-owners.

Read more about our Goals, Activities & Tasks, History and Allies.

* If you are looking for internship opportunities, we encourage you to learn more about the Internship Program at the American Sustainable Business Network.

History of the Union Co-Op Model

In 2009, there was a historic collaboration between the United Steelworkers union (USW) and the Mondragon Corporation that launched the 2012 Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC). The OEOC became a union co-op model template that could be followed by other businesses nationwide.

What's the Mondragon Corporation?

Located in Spain,  Mondragon is an association of almost 100 cooperative businesses.  Now over 60 years old, some of the principles they adhere to include:

  • Executives can’t make more than 6X what the lowest-paid employees earn.
  • There are no outside shareholders.
  • Workers prove themselves during a trial period, then can become member-owners.
  • Members vote on important business decisions, like  business strategy and salary levels.
  • No matter their level of responsibility or title, every member’s vote counts equally.

Mondragon principles
are meant to overcome domestic structural inequalities – race, gender, geography –
that impact opportunity, mobility, and income.