34th Annual Ohio Employee Ownership Conference update

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The Union Cooperative Model

On March 26, 2012, the United Steelworkers (USW)Mondragon International USA, and the Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC) unveiled its detailed union co-op model for developing sustainable jobs using the combination of worker ownership and the collective bargaining process.

 The model, is outlined in the report "Sustainable Jobs, Sustainable Communities: The Union Co-op Model, written by the USWs Rob Witherell, with the OEOCs Chris Cooper and Mondragon’s U.S. Representative Michael Peck, grew out of the historic framework agreement between Mondragon and the USW signed in 2009.

As part of the unveiling of the model the USW hosted a press event at their headquarters in Pittsburgh which included comments by the OEOCs Bill McIntyre:

Union Co-ops Today

Today there are a dozen unionized co-ops in the United States, some of which unionized before the Union Co-op model was formally established and some after. In fact, the members of one of the largest worker cooperatives in the United States, Cooperative Home Care Associates which today has over 1,000 worker-members voted to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1199.

One of the earliest adopters of the Union Co-op model was the nonprofit Co-op Cincy (formally Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative). Since their founding in 2009 they have successful established 2 co-ops including Our Harvest Cooperative, a farm share program that provides local and healthy foods and Sustainergy, a retrofitting company that improves building energy efficiency. Currently they are launching a third stakeholder Union Co-op, Apple Street Market, which will be a full service grocery store owned by both the workers and community members.

Other initiatives similar to CUCI's are underway in cities across the US including Dayton, OH; New York, NY; Denver, CO; Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, CA; Madison, WI and St. Louis, MO.

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