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An Equal Exchange Story: When a founding member gets pushed out

Paper posted on March 6, 2011 was prepared for the Babson-Equal Exchange Cooperative Curriculum titled ‘The Worker Cooperative Life Cycle’ by John R. Whitman Ph.D. This is an academic- style paper that explored whether the Cook and Burress’ theory (2009) of the five phases of a co-operative fit the life cycle of Equal Exchange. The paper can be found at: http://cooperativecurriculum.wikispaces.com/file/view/The+Worker+Cooperative+Life+Cycle-Whitman.pdf As a non-academic I was more interested in the story of founding a worker co-operative, how democratic the worker co-operative is, and how a founding member can be forced out of a worker co-operative. John R. Whitman interviewed the founders of Equal Exchange in the paper. The following are excerpts from the paper in regards to this. Equal Exchange was founded from its founders compelling motivation to use their existing food warehouse co-operative skills to advocate on behalf of the interests of developing country farmers. The challenge faced by founders Jonathan…

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Worker Co-ops in Michael Moore film: “Capitalism: A Love Story”

TOKYO – NOVEMBER 30: Director Michael Moore attends the ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’ press conference at Tosho Hall on November 30, 2009 in Tokyo, Japan. The film will open at a limited number of theaters in Tokyo and Osaka on December 5, and throughout the rest of Japan on January 9, 2010. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images) The film from Michael Moore, Capitalism: A Love Story, features United States FWC members Isthmus Engineering and Alvarado Street Bakery as examples of economic solutions.  Look for the section on worker cooperatives when you see the movie.  It was released on DVD on March 9th.   The DVD extras include discussion of co-ops by Canadian Tom Webb (with the St. Mary’s Masters of Management of Co-ops and Credit Union), and the Union Cab Worker Co-op. Michael Moore’s Official Website

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Steelworkers form Collaboration with Mondragon, the World’s Largest Worker-Owned Cooperative

Pittsburgh (Oct. 27, 2009) The United Steelworkers (USW) and MONDRAGON Internacional, S.A. today announced a framework agreement for collaboration in establishing MONDRAGON cooperatives in the manufacturing sector within the United States and Canada. The USW and MONDRAGON will work to establish manufacturing cooperatives that adapt collective bargaining principles to the MONDRAGON worker ownership model of “one worker, one vote.” “We see today’s agreement as a historic first step towards making union co-ops a viable business model that can create good jobs, empower workers, and support communities in the United States and Canada,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “Too often we have seen Wall Street hollow out companies by draining their cash and assets and hollowing out communities by shedding jobs and shuttering plants. We need a new business model that invests in workers and invests in communities.” Josu Ugarte, President of MONDGRAGON Internacional added: “What we are announcing…

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