Worker cooperative

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A worker cooperative is a cooperative owned and self-managed by its workers. This control may mean a firm where every worker-owner participates in decision-making in a democratic fashion, or it may refer to one in which management is elected by every worker-owner who each have one vote.


  • It’s no wonder, then, that Uber drivers in LA, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, and elsewhere have protested... upset about their industry being disrupted (a term the tech world loves) by a company offering low wages, stripping away worker protections, and bypassing regulations – all while stuffing the wallets of Silicon Valley executives.... As sharing activist Mira Luna puts it, “If greed was a major characteristic of the dying economy, sharing is a key element of the blueprint or DNA for the new economy.”...people should be able to use a service like AirBnB or Uber. But they should also own them cooperatively.
    A cooperative is a business or organization that is democratically owned and governed by its membership. This membership can be comprised of workers, consumers, producers, and a combination thereof... Cooperatives exist all around world, as well as in almost every sector. In the bad times, members of cooperatives collectively share the burden. In the good times, members of cooperatives collectively share the benefits. They also democratically govern the organization – one member, one share, one vote. In short, cooperatives are means to voluntarily redistribute the wealth amongst the laborers and the producers... Already, cooperatives are breaking into the domain of the sharing economy – in theory and in practice – and many of the people leading the charge are those dissatisfied with what both the traditional economy and the sharing economy had to offer them.
  • Publix Super Markets, which operates in the Southeast, and W.L. Gore, the maker of Gore-Tex, are owned by employee stock ownership plans. America still harbors small worker cooperatives owned and operated by their employees, such as the Cheese Board Collective in my hometown Berkeley, Calif. But since the 1980s, profit-sharing has almost disappeared from large corporations. That’s largely because of a change in the American corporation that began with a wave of hostile takeovers and corporate restructurings in the 1980s. Raiders like Carl Icahn, Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken targeted companies they thought could deliver higher returns if their costs were cut. Since payrolls were the highest cost, raiders set about firing workers, cutting pay, automating as many jobs as possible, fighting unions, moving jobs to states with lower labor costs and outsourcing jobs abroad. To prevent being taken over, C.E.O.s began doing the same. This marked the end of most profit-sharing with workers.
  • There isn’t just one, inevitable future of work. Let us apply the power of our technological imagination to practice forms of cooperation and collaboration. Worker–owned cooperatives could design their own apps-based platforms, fostering truly peer-to-peer ways of providing services and things, and speak truth to the new platform capitalists..
    Companies like Uber and airbnb are enjoying their Andy Warhol moment, their $15 billion of fame, in the absence of any physical infrastructure of their own. They didn’t build that— they are running on your car, apartment, labor, and importantly, time.
    Think Outside the Boss. Instead of counting down to next month’s apocalypse, let’s make the idea of worker-owned cooperatives using ride ordering apps more plausible... Is real social change only thinkable if you have Big Money on your side? ...The inability to imagine a different life is capital’s ultimate triumph. Teachout recently proposed that one of the pathologies of the current system is that it trains people to be followers. I might add that it trains people to think of themselves as workers instead of collective owners...
  • An app with the basic functionality of UberX can be duplicated and improved upon by independent developers who are working in tandem with cooperatives... Why bother handing over the revenue to Uber, the middleman? Lyft and Uber have serious issues with attrition; the pay rates for drivers can (and have been) lowered from one moment to the next, workplace surveillance is constant, and drivers can be “de– activated” (fired) at any time for digressions as small as criticizing the Uber mothership on Twitter...Worker-owned cooperatives can offer an alternative model of social organization to address financial instability.
    They will need to be: -collectively owned, -democratically controlled businesses, -with a mission to anchor jobs, -offer health insurance and pension funds and, -a degree of dignity.
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