Isthmus Engineering: A Case Study on Worker Co-op Governance

Link to YouTube here

This webinar brings to life a case example of a worker-owned co-operative in a technical field. Learn about how the co-op manages participation and governance, project management techniques to streamline democratic decision-making, running meetings that work and other aspects of worker ownership and governance. Ole Olson, speaker, has worked for co-operatives for over 40 years including the past 30 years as a Member/Owner of Isthmus Engineering and Manufacturing Cooperative.

Interview with Mondragon CEO Josu Ugarte

By Grassroots Economic Organizing

https://geo.coop

Sky-high corporate CEO pay, the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz notes in a new report, “creates social norms” that drive up levels of inequality far beyond corporate payrolls.

Those “social norms,” cheerleaders for our current corporate order insist, simply reflect economic reality. In a globalized world where corporations tally sales and profits in the many billions, their argument goes, no modern major business could possibly survive — let alone thrive — without shelling out top executive pay that stretches into the many millions.

The owners of one of the largest businesses in Spain would beg to disagree.

Their nearly 60-year-old enterprise — named Mondragon for the Basque town in northern Spain that gave it birth — has nearly 75,000 employees working in everything from heavy industry and retail to banking and education. A big-league business, in other words, by any metric.

Yet Mondragon doesn’t shell out millions to any of its top executives. No executive at Mondragon makes anything close to even a single million.

How could that be? Mondragon just happens to operate as a cooperative and may be, many analysts believe, the world’s most significant worker-owned business.

Josu Ugarte, the president of Mondragon International, spent a chunk of last month touring the United States, as part of the co-op’s ongoing outreach to people and groups looking for alternatives to corporate business as usual. What alternative for corporate compensation does Mondragon offer? Too Much editor Sam Pizzigati caught up with Ugarte in Washington, D.C. and explored that question with him.

Sky-high corporate CEO pay, the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz notes in a new report, “creates social norms” that drive up levels of inequality far beyond corporate payrolls.

Those “social norms,” cheerleaders for our current corporate order insist, simply reflect economic reality. In a globalized world where corporations tally sales and profits in the many billions, their argument goes, no modern major business could possibly survive — let alone thrive — without shelling out top executive pay that stretches into the many millions.

The owners of one of the largest businesses in Spain would beg to disagree.

Their nearly 60-year-old enterprise — named Mondragon for the Basque town in northern Spain that gave it birth — has nearly 75,000 employees working in everything from heavy industry and retail to banking and education. A big-league business, in other words, by any metric.

Yet Mondragon doesn’t shell out millions to any of its top executives. No executive at Mondragon makes anything close to even a single million.

How could that be? Mondragon just happens to operate as a cooperative and may be, many analysts believe, the world’s most significant worker-owned business. Read More

 

 

 

From Owing to Owning: How Communities Can Control Commercial Land

By Steve Dubb
Non-Profit Quarterly

April 5, 2023 – A Black woman with a bucket hat smiling and resting on a coffee shop window counter. There is a sign below the counter that reads, “Black Businesses Matter.”

“From Owing to Owning,” reads a sign at the entrance of Plaza 122, a 29,000-square-foot strip mall near the corner of SE 122nd Avenue and SE Market Street in Portland, OR. The complex is modest, but it houses an estimated 27 primarily immigrant-led small businesses and nonprofits. What makes the strip mall unique is its community ownership. Read More.