Liberating Our Futures Together: Building the Cooperative Ecosystem in Cincinnati

The modern co-op movement originated with the 1840s Rochdale principles in Manchester/UK as did industrial unionization.  Cooperatives and unions evolved separately but today’s extreme solidarity, inequality & climate deficits & imperatives compel renewing and scaling the union-coop bond.

Given its dual Labor & Cooperative founding rationale; 1worker1vote (a catalytic economic development organizing movement) focuses on policies, practices and helping to build ecosystems to launch hybrid shared ownership models starting with the union-coop template.

  • The 1worker1vote movement is a NY-registered 501c3 non-profit launched in the Spring of 2015 as a direct result of the October 2009 United Steelworkers and Mondragon International Collaboration Agreement intended as an antidote to the global ravages of the 2008 Great Recession.
    • Mondragon (, headquartered in the Basque region of Spain and started over sixty-five years ago, is the world’s largest industrial cooperative corporation with upwards of $16 BN in sales, 72,000 personnel globally , twelve cooperative technology centers, its own cooperative university, cooperative bank and cooperative insurance mutual.
    • The United Steelworkers ( is North America’s largest manufacturing union, co-founder of the Apollo Alliance, the Blue-Green Alliance, and the Alliance for American Manufacturing, and partnered with Unite, the UK’s second largest union.
  • The United Steelworkers, the Ohio Center for Employee Ownership, and Mondragon International’s North America delegate, accompanied by leaders of the U.S. cooperative movement, presented our union-coop model template in March 2012 in the atrium of the Steelworkers international headquarters in Pittsburgh, after a two-year period of public reflection and consensus building.
  • Currently, 1worker1vote is blessed with ten co-founders and eight members of our national advisory board.  1worker1vote is a member of the American Sustainable Business Council ( and collaborates with ASBC through our joint “Ownership4All” campaign.
  • As institutional co-founders, the Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative (CUCI) operates as the prototyping “living lab” for the 1worker1vote movement while CUNY Law School’s Community Economic Development Clinic (CEDC) in NYC leads 1worker1vote’s intellectual property, legal and alliance structuring work.
  • Some global partners include key thought and action leaders from Mondragon and the Preston/UK Cooperative Development Network. Harvard Business School has written a case study on us.  We collaborate with multiple unions, with leading global commercial management strategists such as Oliver Wyman, and with worker-centric philanthropies such as the Soros Open Societies Foundations (OSF –  We make common cause with ASBC, the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA –, the Blue Green Alliance (BGA – and the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM – on worker ownership policies and practices.
  • 1worker1vote helps to launch for-profit, hybrid model enterprise ecosystems and projects that are worker owned and managed.  We focus on developing economic self-reliance, inclusive entrepreneurship and civic equity culture in frontline communities across America by localizing sixty-five plus years of Mondragon worker cooperative ecosystem principles & practices and then take the lessons learned from our labors “across borders, markets and silos”.
    • Research proves that combining an equity stake with a participatory ownership culture (essentially the definition of a worker cooperative) creates better businesses and better societies.
    • We follow the ten Mondragon principles, believe in organically developed worker ownership ecosystems, single class stock to harmonize solidarity, one worker one vote economic democracy, sweat equity, profitability, mission driven enterprises and continuous learning to improve practice.
    • Our hybrid ownership models organizing movement is about defining a best future of work for workers as indispensable stakeholders – overcoming inequalities through better structures, building shareholder opportunities for stakeholders, co-erecting workplace freedom and self-fulfillment through more inclusive, more just, broadened and deepened ownership policies and practices in a truly “free market” economy that intentionally works for all.

To view firsthand our organic, localized and developing “living lab” of Mondragon’s “humanity@work”, we would like to invite and welcome you to the 4th Cincinnati Union Cooperative/1worker1vote biennial symposium in Cincinnati on NOV 15th & 16th entitled appropriately – Liberating Our Futures Together: Building the Cooperative Ecosystem.