Good statement from officials: unioncoops.org/

"If the worker cooperative community is used as a tool to leverage against traditional collective bargaining strategies, it hurts both the labor movement and worker co-ops. The worker co-op movement is not and must not be antagonistic to labor unions."

I wish it had stressed democracy and workers power -- an important potential source of solidarity between unions and co-ops.

@Matt_Noyes didn't it? I think in the paragraph, it states that unionized workers are already practicing workplace democracy. tbf it was originally a much bigger piece with prescriptions for action and follow through, but that was going to take many more months and given some exigent circumstances, we felt it had to be released asap. It is intended to be the beginning of a discussion in the co-op development community.

@johnnymac I think it's great that you did it and it's a great statement. Just trying to boost the issue of rank-and-file democracy. One member one vote is still a struggle in some unions -- the Teamsters are fighting over that right now. On the flip side, legitimate concerns about the limiits of single stakeholder cooperatives can open the door to dilution of the OMOV principle. So the co-op/union nexus can be a great place to focus on democracy if we keep our eyes on bottom-up organizing.

@Matt_Noyes right,! the unions also need the democracy bug! Some are better (UE) than others (Teamsters). Also, some unions have really large and wildly diverse "locals" that create friction and too much hierarchy. Hopefully unions and co-ops learn from each other.

@johnnymac Of course the other thing they share is the question of goals. Arizmendiarrieta criticized unions for limiting themselves to demands on the employers or on capital, while leaving the wage system in place. But he also criticized cooperatives that abandoned the workers movement, focusing only on improving the lot of their members, building little fortresses surrounded by exploited workers.

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@Matt_Noyes when I was at University (UW Madison) and a member of the independent Memorial Union Labor Organization we could only bargain for working conditions (wages were prohibited and since we were specifically excluded from the State labor law and state employees we didn't have any power there). It gave me a different perspective of what a union should be doing!

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