Sunday, November 19, 2006

Wikipedia on Unions and Worker Cooperatives

Trade Unions
Unions are often unnecessary in worker cooperatives because the workers have direct control over the management and ownership of the business - they are negotiating with themselves. Some worker cooperatives still choose to become members of local unions to demonstrate their support for the labor movement and to working conditions that have resulted from years of struggle. While an unusual situation, there is no contradiction in doing so. Worker cooperatives that join unions often benefit from the trade that comes their way from the community of union members and those who support unions for political reasons. The labor contract negoitiated becomes the baseline of benefits due to the membership and guarantees to the community that the working conditions are not those of a "sweatshop". Union membership also guarantees that the worker cooperative will not operate on the basis of typical small business sacrifice, where the owner (s) sometimes work day and night to keep their business afloat and expect similar sacrifices of their workers. Union membership for worker cooperatives gives the enterpise a legitimate standard of operations.

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