Guiding Principles for Union Co-Ops
Pathways to Inclusive Worker Ownership
Mondragon adopted a version of the ten founding principles paraphrased below in 1987. These are also the principles of the United Steelworkers-Mondragon union-cooperative collaboration agreement signed in October 2009. Sixty years of the Mondragon cooperative experience showcase pathways to overcoming Labor commodification through wider, deeper and more inclusive worker ownership practices.
1. OPEN ADMISSION
2. DEMOCRATIC ORGANIZATION
3. SOVEREIGNTY OF LABOR
4. INSTRUMENTAL AND SUBORDINATE NATURE OF CAPITAL
The Mondragon Cooperatives do not sell shares to raise capital. Instead, the workers own their cooperative enterprises, choose their management and rent sustaining capital. Within the Mondragon ecosystem, capital is labor’s instrument, not its master.
5. PARTICIPATION IN MANAGEMENT
6. WAGE SOLIDARITY
8. SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION
A key part of the co-op’s mission is to support and invest in the economic, social and cultural development of its hosting, local-living community. Creating jobs, funding development projects, pursuing education, and providing opportunities cooperatively brings about a freer, fairer and more caring society.
Mondragon coops reinvest a high proportion of their profits, including regular investments, in community funds for job creation:
- 10% of the net profit of the Cooperatives is donated to non-profit organizations;
- Mondragon’s Lagun Aro Mutual cooperative (owned by other cooperatives) provides social security,
- unemployment, and health insurance benefits (as a cooperative owned by the other cooperatives), and
- Mondragon cooperative members serve as committed community activists.