The Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative (CUCI) emerged in the wake of a historic agreement signed in October, 2009 between Mondragon and the United Steelworkers, North America’s largest industrial union, to launch union-cooperatives in the United States. The agreement opened the door for the opportunity for CUCI to create jobs that are family supporting and improve the local economy in the Greater Cincinnati area by replicating and enhancing the long standing success of Mondragon’s Worker-Owned Cooperative Model by implementing the United Steelworker (USW) – Mondragon agreement.

  • All-volunteer, self-funded, cast wide net: integrated businesses, unions, universities, advocacy groups, banks, politicians, faith-based groups.
  • Cited as a national example of sweat equity economic development
  • Developed 7 projects and 1 union co-op business in 2 years as prototypes for roll-out models (now used as templates in other geographies)
  • Example: Launched “Our Harvest Co-op” in April 2012
  • First Mondragon-USW model union co-op nationwide
  • First operating year – fielded 10 “worker-owner track” employees
  • Business model calls for 200 worker-owner jobs in five years
  • Ratio of dollars spent to jobs created is overwhelmingly positive
  • A self-funded $40k feasibility study led to a $500k commercial loan in less than one operating year
  • Practicum site for Cincinnati State’s Sustainable Agriculture Management program
  • Hosted International Union Co-op Symposium in December 2013


Read more:

Union co-op group taking root in Cincinnati; College Hill farm is first of several planned worker-owner initiatives to include pipe fitting, manufacturingCincinnati Enquirer, November 1, 2013

More than Zucchini, AFL-CIO Blog: Innovation @Work, October 29, 2013