This month topic will be: D@WSD’s Scrrening of “Shift Change.”
We will be screening a film rarely seen in public!
Shift Change is an award winning film telling the inside stories of the evolution of the industrial and services cooperative enterprise movements, Mondragon Cooperative Corporation, the largest worker owned and operated democratically run cooperative enterprise in the world.
With over 75,000 worker owners as of 2017, it is a network of hundreds of cooperative enterprises in the Basque region of Spain started in the 1950’s to address the failure of the capitalist system to provide vitally needed work and a decent standard of living for its citizens.
Other cooperative enterprises featured in this important documentary illustrate American cooperatives including the famous Arizmendi Bakeries in the Bay Area.
Following the screening of this documentary we’ll be discussing what you’ve learned and how “Shift Change” can be adapted into today’s American economy.
A worker cooperative or worker-self directed enterprises is a business entity that is owned and controlled by the people who work in it. They usually invest with a buy-in amount of money when they begin working. Worker cooperatives are equally owned and governed by worker-members who also earn money from the profits of their labor. There are no CEOs or outside controlling investors makingmulti-million dollar salaries while workers receive minimum wage.
In worker cooperatives, decision-making is democratic, so each worker has one vote, and policies can’t be determined by an investor whose only priority is profit.
On August 28, 2017, low-wage workers in St. Louis, Missouri, became the latest victims of state preemption laws. “Preemption” in this context refers to a situation in which a state law is enacted to block a local ordinance from taking effect—or dismantle an existing ordinance. In this case, St. Louis had raised its minimum wage above the state minimum—but was then forced to lower it back down when the Missouri state legislature preempted the local ordinance.
Ironically, state preemption of labor standards has historically been used for good: to ensure that minimum labor standards are applied statewide. It is only in recent years that it has been so frequently used to take earnings and protections away from workers.
This report looks at the rising use of preemption by state legislatures to undercut local labor standards. It provides an overview of five key areas of labor and employment policy affected by preemption—including minimum wage, paid leave, fair work scheduling, prevailing wage, and project labor agreements—and details the extent and impact of such preemption practices throughout the United States. Finally, it presents ways local governments can push back against state preemption in their efforts to raise the living standards of their residents.
Americans have always joined together—whether in parent teacher associations or local community organizations—to solve problems and make changes that improve their lives and their communities. Through unions, people join together to strive for improvements at the place where they spend a large portion of their waking hours: work.
The freedom of workers to join together in unions and negotiate with employers (in a process known as collective bargaining) is widely recognized as a fundamental human right across the globe. In the United States, this right is protected by the U.S. Constitution and U.S. law and is supported by a majority of Americans.1
Over 16 million working women and men in the United States are exercising this right—these 16 million workers are represented by unions. Overall, more than one in nine U.S. workers are represented by unions. This representation makes organized labor one of the largest institutions in America.2
By providing data on union coverage, activities, and impacts, this report helps explain how unions fit into the economy today; how they affect workers, communities, occupations and industries, and the country at large; and why collective bargaining is essential for a fair and prosperous economy and a vibrant democracy. It also describes how decades of anti-union campaigns and policies have made it much harder for working people to use their collective voice to sustain their standard of living.
‘Collective bargaining’ is how working people gain a voice at work and the power to shape their working lives
Workers began negotiating their first contract last May, making Linden Hills the third Minneapolis food cooperative to unionize this year.
When Adam Hulst learned that his employer, the Linden Hills Co-op, would be merging with The Wedge Community Co-op last October, he quickly voted yes on forming a union.
“There was a sense that we should have a union for a long time,” he said. “I think that the presidential election and the announcement of the merger were two factors that functioned as a catalyst for us to really get our stuff in gear.”
Hulst wasn’t the only employee who felt that way. About 85 percent of the roughly 80 employees at Linden Hills voted to unionize back in February. Those workers began negotiating their first contract last May, making Linden Hills the third Minneapolis food cooperative to unionize this year. Eastside Co-op started its first bargaining session earlier in July and Seward Co-op — Minneapolis’ largest food co-op — voted to unionize back in June.
Together, about 450 employees between the three co-ops are now organized under United Food and Commercial Workers Local 653, according to union officials. “As expansions were happening, as consolidations were happening, this sense of being a worker on the floor was shifting … to more of a corporate model,” Hulst said. “We felt like anonymous, interchangeable workers.”
On this week’s show, Prof. Wolff provides updates on car loans, sales showing falsity of “recovery” claims, airline profits vs service, the G-20 meetings coordinate global austerity, July 4 and capitalism, and the misleading debate over raising minimum wages and losing jobs. On the second half of the show, Prof. Wolff is joined by special guest Dr. Harriet Fraad who will talk about the connections among addictions, capitalism and 12-step programs.
The first half of this week’s show provides updates on consumers’ battling airplane seat shrinkage, a “free” press and the purchase of the Chicago Sun Times newspaper, fake “jobs creation” proclamations for subsidies and publicity and a new museum featuring artists challenging capitalism.
SPECIAL GUEST: Dr. Harriet Fraad speaks about how and why so many people wait so long before joining collective action to change economic and social conditions. To see the second half of this week’s episode, sign up as a patron on Patreon.
In the first part of a special series, host and producer Daniel ‘Nowman’ Niswander moderates a panel on the subject of worker cooperatives, an old idea that is starting to become more popular in the U.S. that can transform the local economy, and more.
The goal of Los Angeles Union Cooperative Initiative (LUCI) is to create social and economic justice and worker dignity through the creation of good, sustainable jobs in viable businesses that are accountable to both its workers and their communities. Lis has worked with organized labor for more than 20 years and has worked work with both SEIU and AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) and aas been active in coop development since the early 1970s; and is a life-long social justice and human rights activist. And developer and promoter of LAWORCS.org Worker Ownership Resources and Cooperative Services.
Erik Boyd: Co-owner of Interactive Fitness System a gym evolving as a worker- coop enterprise; co-lead for Democracy@Work Pasadena.
Prof. George Kallas: Teaches Political Science, Government and Political History at Miramar College, and is Worker-member and political research consultant of coop media enterprise Arete Media Productions and Democracy@Work San Diego Coordinator.
Host: Daniel “NOWMAN” Niswander, producter of “The NOWMAN Show” and worker-member Arete Media Productions for the NOWMAN Show and Democracy@Work Pasadena Coordinator.
One Major Cure for Capitalism’s Enduring Institutional Crises is to get rid of it by developing new economic systems of worker control over the economy.
Some Basic Types of Cooperatives
This types is typically one the allows consumer membership but may not be itself a worker-owned and managed cooperative.
This type is an association of producers or businesses typically seen in agricultural industries where a consortium of of farmers gather together to enhance marketing and efficient production.
A worker cooperative or worker-self directed enterprises is a business entity that is owned and controlled by the people who work in it. In a sense, all worker-member owners are self-employed and manage collectively the enterprise they all equally share ownership in.
Worker Cooperatives through direct democratic control over the means of production help avoid the institutional trend of income inequality by allowing worker-members to decide collectively on what to produce, how to produce and what to do with the profits as applied to their own wages and the wages of their peers. Through democratic participatory budgeting, cooperative worker-member owners prioritize the quality of life of all involved in keeping the business going. For this reason, it is often the case that the highest earner at a cooperative does not make more than five times that of the lowest earner.