Finally, there now seems to be a change for one union.
In October of 2009 the United Steelworkers Union announced they were collaborating with the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation (MCC) of Spain to explore increasing the number of worker-owned cooperatives here in the US.
According to the USW International President Leo W. Gerard, “We see today’s agreement as a historic first step towards making union co-ops a viable business model that can create good jobs, empower workers, and support communities in the United States and Canada.” He went on to say, “Too often we have seen Wall Street hollow out companies by draining their cash and assets and hollowing out communities by shedding jobs and shuttering plants. We need a new business model that invests in workers and invests in communities.”
The MCC President of Mondragron Internacional, Josu Ugarte, stated: “What we are announcing today represents a historic first–combining the world’s largest industrial worker cooperative with one of the world’s most progressive and forward-thinking manufacturing unions to work together so that our combined know-how and complimentary visions can transform manufacturing practices in North America. We feel inspired to take this step based on our common set of values with the Steelworkers who have proved time and again that the future belongs to those who connect vision and values to people and put all three first.”
There’s simply no way to predict what will come out of this collaboration. As I mentioned in my blog entry of March 30th there is also the Cleveland Model in which several cooperatives haven been formed. One can hope that maybe, just maybe, that collaboration between MCC and the USW along with the Cleveland Model are examples that the dream of an economic democracy is starting to become more than just a dream.