Brian Van Slyke from the TESA Collective published Unions and Cooperatives: How Workers Can Survive and Thrive on Truthout. In part, he writes:
The benefits from this collaboration have already started to bloom. The Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative, made possible because of the USW and Mondragon partnership, has helped launch two cooperatives: Our Harvest and Sustainergy. And even more are on the way. There are also union co-op initiatives being cultivated in roughly ten other cities, including Buffalo, New York, Pittsburgh, San Francisco/Oakland, and St. Louis. 1Worker1Vote, similarly created through the USW – Mondragon agreement, is an organization dedicated to advocating for and supporting the development of unionized co-ops nationwide.
But why would a business that’s democratically owned by its workers also want to have a union? That’s because worker cooperatives are not immune to labor disputes, especially as they grow larger. After all, cooperatives are systems of people, and people don’t always see eye to eye. That means that even if workers democratically run a business together, there are times when they might need someone else to defend them. While representing worker-owned cooperatives requires adjusting certain long-held frameworks and practices, unions can be critical in settling internal issues.