In Iowa city, Chomp, a food delivery app owned as a cooperative has outcompeted the tech giants.

It provides an exciting model for restaurants to bounce back from the pandemic, with six cities across the US seeking to replicate their success.

This is the first issue of a weekly newsletter about cooperative success stories and ideas about the future of the movement.


Yes! More, please!
I think we've had it with the bunker-brained wanna-be billionaire boys of Silicon Valley, don't you?

I have a friend in Iowa who I think should see this. Thank you!

@JohnJClimateMarcher @LeoSammallahti
If I understand correctly, the owners of Chomp are the restaurant owners, not the delivery drivers/riders. Is that correct?

@LeoSammallahti @JohnJClimateMarcher
So my question then is, does the shift from GrubHub to Chomp make any difference for the people actually doing the deliveries?

@GuerillaOntologist @JohnJClimateMarcher

While at least this video interviews a courier who says she gets better pay and working conditions, imo low wages and poor working conditions are generally a problem better solved by unions and legislation.

Cooperatives are more suitable in solving problems having to do with monopolies and monopsonies.

@LeoSammallahti @GuerillaOntologist @JohnJClimateMarcher

Unfortunately it's really hard for delivery drivers to cooperativize because the app they need to make will have to measure their performance and fire the ones who don't work - or else people won't use it.

And this will seriously undermine the solidarity of a cooperative. But constructing it around restaurants makes a coop which is at least theoretically stable.

@cjd @GuerillaOntologist @JohnJClimateMarcher

There are courier owned delivery coops which are really cool and some of them seem rather successful. Earn my living as a member of worker coop so a huge fan of them, but also think the coop movement should think hard what are the problems coops are best suitable in solving.

Monopolies and monopsonies seem like one of those problems.

@cjd @LeoSammallahti @GuerillaOntologist @JohnJClimateMarcher

Late to the party, but CoopCycle exists as a foodtech/logistics platform owned by courier worker co-ops. There's no 'algorithm' working in the background. Whether individual member's performance is tracked is up to the co-op. I'm not sure why that would have a direct bearing on the platform's success?

@MattN @LeoSammallahti @GuerillaOntologist @JohnJClimateMarcher
My feeling is that in this type of job, people with a KPI will out-perform those without. I think about taxi services pre-uber and they weren't good.
Now I want to be super clear because I think the Bezos philosophy that humans are naturally lazy and must be thrown in hunger games scenarios to make them do anything is an moral abomination.
I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

@LeoSammallahti @GuerillaOntologist @JohnJClimateMarcher Butting in to say, while unions and legislation are typical responses (I wish unions were more typical!) to these problems, that is not to say they are better solved that way. Better, for me, are ways that build solidarity, autonomy, democracy and the capacity for self-organization. Legislation rarely if ever does this; unions, like cooperatives, can be vehicles for this, but it's not automatic.

@Matt_Noyes @GuerillaOntologist @JohnJClimateMarcher

Sure, worker cooperatives can absolutely solve many problems, but am skeptical whether low wages is one of those problems. Probably in some industries, but generally think sectoral bargaining + minimum wage laws seem like a better way to raise wages.

@LeoSammallahti @GuerillaOntologist @JohnJClimateMarcher In part this may be a question of perspective -- it must look very different in Finland than in the U.S.

it's nice to hear stories in which david defeats goliath, but this one is a bunch of smaller goliaths exploiting lots of davids to bring down a bigger goliath. not so nice. the davids are likely no better off. it's not a coop of workers, it's a coop of exploiters.

There are a lot of co-ops that are composed of capitalist businesses. I agree they're not as liberatory as worker co-ops, and definitely not anti-capitalist, but they are often better places to work than the non-co-op alternatives. Ace Hardware is a good example. It's petty bourgeois cooperativism, for sure, but I'd rather work at an Ace than at a Home Depot. But yeah, not the type of thing I'm gonna get super excited by. If it was a multi-stakeholder co-op it'd be far more interesting.

This seems like a really obvious evolution.
* People have a relationship with the restaurant, not the delivery company.
* Nobody wants to deliver for a faceless neoliberal below-the-API gig company. A coop is far more human-scale.

As soon as cheap debt and starry-eyed VCs start to dry up, I don't see gig delivery companies able to compete.

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