Session materials from "Worker-Owned Co-ops and Workplace Democracy," a panel which was moderated by Esteban Kelly (AORTA) at NASCO Institute 2014. Panelists included David Morgan (Toolbox for Education & Social Action; US Federation of Worker Cooperatives), Nikki Marín Baena (Cooperation Texas; US Federation of Worker Cooperatives; Firestorm Café & Books), and Corey Walters (The Center for Student Business at the University of Massachusetts).
This panel introduces worker-owned cooperatives through narrative tales, stories of structure, and old fashioned Q&A. Worker Co-ops are businesses collectively owned and democratically controlled by their workers. Worker-owned businesses exist in nearly every industry– from engineering to grocery; from graphic design to landscaping, home-cleaning, bike repair, brew pubs, and restaurants. Workers from diverse backgrounds create stable jobs, and raise the standard of living for working people, and promote resilience among communities. This panel will highlight a range of types of worker co-ops, and worker-owners will share stories of self-management from a broad range of cooperative businesses. The panel offers a glimpse of what it can be like to have a co-op career where you can couple your personal talents with your passion for everyday democracy.