Unions and Worker Co-ops: Working Together | GEO

Mary Hoyer, co-chair, Union Co-ops Council of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, reported on December’s Cinncinati Union Co-op Symposium:

As explained by Rob Witherell of USW, the union co-op effort isn’t just about one or two co-ops, but about a vision of a new economy which will be accountable, sustainable, replicable, and of benefit to all rather than simply to a small minority of wealthy people at the top. This is a democratic, wealth-building model that involves worker ownership and equity. He explained that efforts are going on around the world to implement such a new economy, and that the United States is just catching onto the tail of the movement now.

He admitted that there will be constant innovation with resulting failures as well as successes, and that perseverance is crucial: “What we’re building is not utopia, and we need grit and commitment to get through. As someone said, ‘This is not paradise and we are not angels.’”

The reality is, most of us in the labor, worker co-op, and community organizing movements are used to difficult and protracted struggles, and ready to work hard to make this vision a reality. Several people mentioned the empowering effect of building something new, rather than resisting capital with diminishing results decade after decade utilizing the traditional union organizing model.

Read her report on GEO, the Grassroots Economics Organizing website.