HistoryWorker cooperatives rose to prominence during the as part of the . As employment moved to industrial areas and job sectors declined, workers began organizing and controlling businesses for themselves. Worker cooperatives were originally sparked by "critical reaction to industrial capitalism and the excesses of the industrial revolution." Some worker cooperatives were designed to "cope with the evils of unbridled capitalism and the insecurities of wage labor". The philosophy that underpinned the cooperative movement stemmed from the writings of thinkers including and . Robert Owen, considered by many as the father of the cooperative movement, made his fortune in the cotton trade but believed in putting his workers in a good environment with access to education for themselves and their children. These ideas were put into effect successfully in the s of , . It was here that the first co-operative store was opened. Spurred on by the success of this, he had the idea of forming "villages of co-operation" where workers would drag themselves out of poverty by growing their own food, making their own clothes and ultimately becoming self-governing. He tried to form such communities in Orbiston in Scotland and in in the , but both communities failed. Similar early experiments were made in the early 19th century and by 1830 there were several hundred co-operatives. Dr William King made Owen's ideas more workable and practical. He believed in starting small and realized that the es would need to set up co-operatives for themselves, so he saw his role as one of instruction. He founded a monthly periodical called ''The Co-operator'', the first edition of which appeared on 1 May 1828. This gave a mixture of co-operative philosophy and practical advice about running a shop using cooperative principles.
Modern movementThe first successful cooperative organization was the consumer-owned , established in England in 1844. The Rochdale Pioneers established the ‘ ’ on which they ran their cooperative. This became the basis for the development and growth of the modern cooperative movement. As the mechanization of the Industrial Revolution was forcing more and more skilled workers into poverty, these tradesmen decided to band together to open their own store selling food items they could not otherwise afford. With lessons from prior failed attempts at co-operation in mind, they designed the now famous , and over a period of four months, they struggled to pool one per person for a total of 28 pounds of capital. On 21 December 1844, they opened their store with a very meager selection of butter, sugar, flour, oatmeal, and a few candles. Within three months, they expanded their selection to include tea and tobacco, and they were soon known for providing high quality, unadulterated goods. The International organization representing worker cooperatives is . CICOPA has two regional organizations: CECOP- CICOPA Europe and CICOPA Americas.
TodayWhen the current cooperative movement resurfaced in the 1960s, it developed mostly on a new system of "collective ownership" where par value shares were issued as symbols of egalitarian voting rights. Typically, a member may only own one share to maintain the egalitarian ethos. Once brought in as a member and after a period of time on probation usually so the new candidate can be evaluated, they would be given the power to manage the coop without "ownership" in the traditional sense. In the UK, this system is known as . Some of these early cooperatives still exist, and most new worker cooperatives follow their lead and develop a relationship to capital that is more radical than the previous system of equity share ownership. In the United States, there is no coherent legislation regarding worker cooperatives nationally, much less Federal laws, so most worker cooperatives make use of traditional consumer cooperative law and try to fine-tune it for their purposes. In some cases, the members (workers) of the cooperative in fact "own" the enterprise by buying a share that represents a fraction of the market value of the cooperative. In Britain, this type of cooperative was traditionally known as a ''producer cooperative''; and while it was overshadowed by the consumer and agricultural types, it also made up a small section of its own within the national apex body, the Cooperative Union. The 'new wave' of worker cooperatives that took off in Britain in the mid-1970s joined the (ICOM) as a separate federation. Buoyed up by the alternative and ecological movements and by the political drive to create jobs, the sector peaked at around 2,000 enterprises. However, the growth rate slowed, the sector contracted, and in 2001 ICOM merged with the Co-operative Union (which was the federal body for consumer cooperatives) to create , thus reunifying the cooperative sector. Since 2006, Co-operatives UK's Worker Cooperative Council wrote and updated a worker co-operative code, the booklet that "sets out what anyone should expect and should work together to achieve, as a member of a worker co-operative". In 2018, Google announced a $1 million grant to a development kit in collaboration with 5 pilot cooperatives, which are all worker-owned.
Research on worker cooperatives
Longevity and resilienceAccording to an analysis of all businesses in Uruguay between 1997 and 2009, worker cooperatives have a 29% smaller chance of closure after controlling for variables such as industry. In Italy, worker owned cooperatives that have been created by workers buying a business when it is facing a closure or put up to sale have a 3-year survival rate of 87%, compared to 48% of all Italian businesses. A 2012 study of Spanish and French worker cooperatives found that they “have been more resilient than conventional enterprises during the economic crisis." In France, the three year survival rate of worker cooperatives is 80%-90%, compared to the 66% overall survival rate for all businesses. During the 2008 economic crisis, the number of workers in worker owned cooperatives in France increased by 4.2%, while employment in other businesses decreased by 0.7%.
Pay and employment stabilityA 2006 study found that wages on co-ops pay in Italy were 15 to 16 percent lower than those that capitalist firms paid on average, and were more volatile, while employment was more stable. After controlling for variables, such as schooling, age, gender, occupation, industry, location, firm-size, user cost of capital, fixed costs, and deviations in its real sales, this changed to 14 percent. The authors suggest this is due to worker cooperatives being more likely than capitalist firms to cut wages instead of laying off employees during periods of economic difficulty. A study looking at all firms in Uruguay concluded that when controlling for variables such as industry, firm size, gender, age and tenure, workers employed in a worker-managed firm earn 3 percent higher wages compared with similar workers employed in the conventional firms. However, this wage premium declines significantly with increasing pay and becomes negative for top earners. According to research by Virginie Pérotin, which looked at two decades worth of international data, the tendency for greater wage flexibility and employment stability helps explain why some research observes higher and others lower pay in worker cooperatives relative to conventional businesses. A study by ''The Democracy Collaborative'' found that in the US, worker cooperatives can increase worker incomes by 70 to 80 percent.
Pay inequalityIn the , the world's largest worker cooperative, the pay ratio between the lowest and the highest earner was 1:9 in 2018. The ratio is decided by a democratic vote by the worker-members. In France, the pay ratio between the highest and lowest paid 10% of the employees is 14% lower in worker cooperatives than in otherwise similar conventional firms.
ProductivityAccording to Virginie Pérotin's research which looked at two decades worth of international data, worker cooperatives are more productive than conventional businesses. Another 1987 study of worker cooperatives in Italy, the UK, and France found “positive” relationships with productivity. It also found that worker cooperatives do not become less productive as they get larger. A 1995 study of worker cooperatives in the timber industry in Washington, USA found that “co-ops are more efficient than the principal conventional firms by between 6 and 14 percent”.
Worker satisfaction, trust, health and commitmentAccording to a study drawing on a questionnaire from the population of the Italian province of , worker cooperatives are the only form of enterprise that fosters social trust between employees. A survey conducted in Seoul suggests that in conventional firms, employees become less committed to their job as their work becomes more demanding; however, this was not the case in worker cooperatives. In the US, home health aides in worker cooperatives were significantly more satisfied with their jobs than in other agencies. A study from 2013 about home aid workers found that "Home health aides at the worker-owned, participative decision-making organization were significantly more satisfied with their jobs than those at other agencies." One 1995 study from the US also indicates that “employees who embrace an increased influence and participation in workplace decisions also reported greater job satisfaction” and a 2011 study in France found that worker-owned businesses “had a positive effect on workers’ job satisfaction.” One 2019 study indicates that “the impact on the happiness of workers is generally positive”.
EnvironmentA 1995 analysis published in suggests that "cooperatives will tend to use natural resource inputs more efficiently and will be less growth oriented than corporations."
Definition of worker cooperativeMany definitions exist as to what qualifies as a workers' cooperative. , the International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and Service Producers’ Cooperatives, gives an 8-page definition in their World Declaration on Workers' Cooperatives, which was approved by the General Assembly in September 2005. Below is the section on the basic characteristics of workers' cooperatives: # They have the objective of creating and maintaining sustainable jobs and generating wealth, to improve the quality of life of the worker-members, dignify human work, allow workers’ democratic self-management and promote community and local development. # The free and voluntary membership of their members, in order to contribute with their personal work and economic resources, is conditioned by the existence of workplaces. # As a general rule, work shall be carried out by the members. This implies that the majority of the workers in a given worker cooperative enterprise are members and vice versa. # The worker-members’ relation with their cooperative shall be considered as different from that of conventional wage-based labor and to that of autonomous individual work. # Their internal regulation is formally defined by regimes that are democratically agreed upon and accepted by the worker-members. # They shall be autonomous and independent, before the State and third parties, in their labor relations and management, and in the usage and management of the means of production.ICA (2005) World Declaration on Worker Cooperatives, Approved by the ICA General Assembly in Cartagena, Colombia, 23 September 2005
Internal structureWorker cooperatives have a wide variety of internal structures. Worker control can be exercised directly or indirectly by worker-owners. If exercised indirectly, members of representative decision-making bodies (e.g. a board of directors) must be elected by the worker-owners (who in turn hire the management) and be subject to removal by the worker-owners. This is a hierarchical structure similar to that of a conventional business, with a board of directors and various grades of manager, with the difference being that the board of directors is elected. If exercised directly, all members meet regularly to make—and vote on—decisions on how the co-operative is run. Direct workers' cooperatives sometimes use to make decisions.How to set up a Workers' Co-op
Worker collectivesThe term 'worker collective' is sometimes used to describe worker cooperatives which are also collectives: that is, managed without hierarchies such as permanent manager roles. Common ownership is practiced by large numbers of voluntary associations and non-profit organizations as well as implicitly by all public bodies. Most co-operatives have some elements of common ownership, but some parts of their capital may be individually owned.
Common ownership worker co-operatives
= Definition= The principle of common ownership was codified in UK law in th
Promotion and financeIn a world of predominately traditional businesses, Worker Cooperatives have developed a wide variety of financing methods over time in order to survive and thrive in the market. Cooperative businesses often employ multiple forms of financing together as each technique tends to be unsustainable on its own.
= ''Internal Capital Accounts/Member Buy-Ins''= Internal Capital Accounts (ICA's), also known as Member Buy-Ins, are shares of capital distributed equally and exclusively to workers. They act as a mandated buy-in loan to the cooperative that generates financial return over time in the form of interest. ICA's are typically equal to a specific term's wages, like an annual salary, that is given a fixed rate of return that is not directly tied to the cooperative's losses or profits. Cooperatives in low-income communities often raise donations to assist workers in meeting the ICA Buy-In requirement, as in the case of the Mariposa Food Coop. This method of financing is one of the most prominent due to its high rates of success in maintaining financial stability for cooperatives. When the cooperative allocates profits, a significant portion are paid back to the workers through these capital accounts. The utilizes a 10-20-70 system, in which 10% of profits are placed into community development and infrastructure programs, 20% back into corporate reserves, and 70% into individual capital accounts. In certain cases, like the Mumbai Tiffin Box Supplier's Association in India, Member Buy-In's allow cooperatives to become completely financially independent from other sources of investment.
= ''Committed Capital/Preferred Stock''= Committed Capital, also known as , are shares of capital offered to external accredited investors that are not a part of the cooperative. In order to maintain workers' ownership over the firm's decisions, these external investors have limited to no voting rights within the cooperative. Committed Capital often have non-guaranteed rates of return. However, Equal Exchange, a U.S.-based worker cooperative, offers preferred stock that still ensures at least a 5% return rate even during periods of economic recession. Because the communal ownership model of cooperatives makes it difficult for investors to determine the credit and reliability of their investments, they often rely on close analysis of the structure, management, and experience of each cooperative in order to decide in which one to acquire stock.
= ''State Financing''= In many countries, the state provides loans or direct funding for worker cooperatives' production, community programs, and investments. Government funding is especially important in assisting newly developing cooperatives in securing finances for the initial stages of business. In Spain, the assists in financing cooperatives within the and for many of Mondragon's education and healthcare programs. Additionally, the financially assists Mondragon in acquiring declining capitalist businesses and transitioning them into worker cooperatives. The provides financing, often in the form of loans, to new cooperatives. The and the in India often provide initial loans for cooperatives in order to help them eventually transition into relying primarily on Internal Capital Accounts. In 1978, the set up the National Cooperative Development Agency and in subsequent years common ownership was promoted as a model to create employment, leading approximately 100 local authorities to establish cooperative development agencies. The Industrial Common Ownership Act authorized the Secretary of State for Industry to make grants and loans to organizations that assisted common ownership and cooperative enterprises. Grants were made to the and the Scottish Co-operatives Development Committee, while loans were administered through Common Ownership Finance Ltd. However, this section was repealed in 2004. The , through the 1985 Marcora Act, has established a financing fund for worker cooperatives, especially for traditional businesses that require extra financial assistance while transitioning into cooperatives. Often, this state investment is equivalent to three times the collective internal capital account investment from workers. Canadian worker cooperatives also rely on government funding to finance their early development. State sources of finance, which often come in the form of grants, include the Quebec Local Development Centre, the Co-op Development Initiative, and the Young Entrepreneurs program.
= ''Financing via Traditional Business Transitions''= When the owner of a traditional business decides to resign and transition the ownership of the firm into a workers' cooperative, they often provide initial financial investment. However, this typically is not a sustainable form of capital investment and cooperatives often use it to begin business and then transition to depend on other forms of finance. Examples of this method of financing include Select Machines, Inc., Metis Construction, A Slice of New York, and Rock City Roasters. The transition process often takes several years and is executed in 5 stages. First, the selling owners must evaluate if a transition is an appropriate step for the business and must consult with advisors and employees regarding new leadership changes. Second, the selling owner must employ specialists to determine the legal and financial logistics of the transition. Third, a transition group or the selling owner must organize the new managerial structure, business practices, and ownership policies. Fourth, legal contracts are signed to establish the new management while methods of finance are drawn upon to jumpstart the newfound cooperative. Fifth, an adjustment period occurs in which training is provided for workers regarding new business policies.
= ''External Finance Firm Investment''= Most finance firms that specialize in providing capital for worker cooperatives are Cooperative Funds and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI's). CDFI's often do not supply the majority of finance for cooperatives, but act as collateral for other forms of investment and/or as support for another form of finance. Additionally, many cooperatives utilize external finance for improvements to their physical capital in order to improve productivity. Several U.S. CDFIs include the Cooperative Fund of New England, the Common Wealth Revolving Loan Fund, the Shared Capital Cooperative of Minneapolis, and Capital Impact Partners. In France, worker cooperatives contribute funds to the SOCODEN (Société coopérative de développement et d’entraide), a cooperative financial institution that finances developing and struggling cooperatives. Additionally, this fund provides collateral for other sources of funding and subsidies for interests on loans for these cooperatives.
= ''Direct Public Offerings''= Direct Public Offerings (DPO's) are loans or donations generated either socially by communities or individually by both accredited and non-accredited investors. The voting rights that this investment produces for the community or investor varies depending on the cooperative and offering type. This form of financing is especially popular with cooperatives that provide services to local communities. One of the primary attributes of DPO's that attract cooperatives is that by advertising investment opportunities to local communities, the firm not only generates financial capital but it also employs an efficient method of advertising that keeps the community engaged in the firm's products and success. For cooperatives undergoing an ownership transition, DPO's are often a source of financial support to the initial loan of the retiring owner. Examples of firms that have utilized Direct Public Offerings for financial support are Real Pickles and the CERO Cooperative.
= ''Peer Financing''= Many worker cooperatives utilize surplus profits to provide loans or establish offering funds in order to support other developing or struggling cooperatives. These funds are also used as collateral for other forms of finance by cooperatives in need. Examples of Peer Financing in the U.S. include the Evergreen Cooperatives, the Share Capital Cooperative, and the Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives. In Italy, large cooperative federations utilize excess profits to develop peer financing funds that not only financially assist other cooperatives, but are also used for workers' training programs and for research into cooperatives. France's worker cooperatives, otherwise known as Société coopérative et participative (SCOPs), are required to allocate a small portion of profits to a financial fund for other French worker cooperatives in s.
ExamplesA very significant early influence on the movement has been the Scott Bader Commonwealth, a composites and specialty polymer plastics manufacturing company in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, which its owner Ernest Bader gave to the workforce in installments through the late 1950s to early 1960s. Contrary to the popular concept of common ownership organizations as being small organizations, this is a high-technology chemical manufacturer whose turnover has exceeded £100 million per annum since the early 1990s with a workforce of hundreds. In London, Calverts is an example of an established worker co-operative with a policy of pay parity. From the collective movement, one of the most successful ventures is probably in Elland, West Yorkshire.
Political philosophy of workers' cooperativesThe advocacy of , especially with the fullest expression of such as within workers' cooperatives, is rooted within several intellectual or political traditions: * The alleviation of alienation in the workplace, especially in regard to thought * The encouragement of or * Radical but popular-democratic strategies for the overthrow of , for example, several strains of and thought * Autonomy and self-control, especially within anarchist thought * Cooperating with other worker cooperatives Workers' cooperatives are also central to ideas of , , mutualism, , participatory economics, , and , among others. The idea of achieving economic democracy through worker ownership on a national scale has been argued by economist Tom Winters, who states that "building a cooperative economy is one small step on the journey to reclaiming the wealth we all collectively create."
An economic model: the labor-managed firmEconomists have modeled the worker cooperative as a firm in which labor hires capital, rather than capital hiring labor as in a conventional firm. The classic theoretical contributions of such a "labor managed firm" (LMF) model are due to Benjamin Ward and . In the neoclassical version, the objective of the LMF is to maximize not total profit, but rather income per worker. But such a scenario implies "perverse" behavior, such as laying off workers when output price rises so as to divide increased profits among fewer members. Evidence supporting such behavior is lacking, however; a review of the empirical economics literature is found in Bonin, Jones, and Putterman. But alternative behavioral models have been proposed. Peter Law examined LMFs that value employment and income. Nobel Laureate examined pay according to work and according to need. Nobel Laureate examined behavior of an "inegalitarian" LMF. Worker cooperatives tend to have a more compressed wage distribution, which can potentially turn off high-ability workers, potentially causing the cooperative to suffer a "brain drain" as they leave to seek higher wages elsewhere, though this effect is less of an issue in a cooperative with a less compressed wage distribution. Hiring managers from capitalist firms can be very difficult because of the lower wages. Generally, the evidence indicates that worker cooperatives have higher productivity than conventional companies although this difference may be modest in size. Research indicates that employee ownership can improve company performance, increase firm stability, increase survival rates and reduce layoffs during a crisis, though the effect is small and only an average, meaning it is not necessarily guaranteed to bring benefits. A 2016 metanalysis concluded that employee ownership had a small positive effect on firm performance but no effects on efficiency or growth-related outcomes. However some researchers have argued that while cooperatives can have higher performance in some circumstances, there is generally little difference in performance between cooperatives and conventional firms and that ultimately they are, on average, just as productive as each other. Economists have explained the clustering of worker coops through leagues or "supporting structures" Regions where large clusters of worker cooperatives are found supported by leagues include Mondragón, in the Basque region of Spain, home of Mondragón Cooperative Corporation and in Italy, particularly . Leagues provide various kinds of scale economies to make coops viable. But as leagues need coops to start them the result is a chicken or egg problem that helps explain why few coops get started. Research has suggested that the primary appeal of a cooperative for its members is in security of employment, as workers can actually become decoupled from a cooperative's ostensible worker ownership (due to a mixture of interests and the more individualistic values of more recent workers), making secure employment, particularly in economically precarious times, a major draw. While it has been suggested that cooperatives could be a solution to unemployment, research indicates that this is unlikely to be the case. Worker cooperatives do not seem to differ in innovation or management capabilities from conventional firms. Workers at cooperatives tend to report higher levels of involvement in their tasks, more positive evaluations of supervisors and greater fairness in their perception of the amount of wages they received and methods of payment. Employment in worker-owned firms tends to be more stable than conventional firms, which fluctuate more. This was attributed to conventional firms fixing wages and having to lay off employees during times of economic difficulty, as workers would not accept a wage cut since they could not guarantee restoration of their original wages at a later date, requiring workers to be laid off instead. In a cooperative, workers can accept a wage cut since they know they can restore it at a later date. Cooperatives have a higher survival rate than traditional firms, which seems to be down to greater employment stability and willingness of workers to make adjustments to allow the firm to survive, rather than other possible explanations like greater productivity or financial strength. Worker cooperatives and conventional firms tend to have similar wages after controlling for other possible variables, with any wage differentiation being due to other characteristics aside from firm organization. If the workers are not satisfied with their work and participation, they can express their disengagement with higher rates of . Managers can refrain from proposing controversial, needed changes if they feel that they would be rejected by the workers.
Worker cooperatives by country
EuropeWorker co-operation is well established in most countries in Europe, with the largest movements being in Italy, Spain, and France. The European Cooperative Statute, which has been in force since 2006, permits worker cooperatives to be created by individuals or corporate bodies in different EU countries. It is a loose framework that devolves much detail to the national legislation of the country in which the European Cooperative Society (ECS) is registered. It permits a minority of shares to be held by 'investor members' which are not employees.
FranceWorkers' associations were legalized in 1848 and again in 1864. In 1871, during the , workshops abandoned by their owners were taken over by their workers. In 1884 a chamber of workers' cooperatives was founded. By 1900 France had nearly 250 workers' cooperatives and 500 by 1910. The movement was to rise and fall throughout the twentieth century, with growth in 1936, after the Second World War, between 1978 and 1982 and since 1995. In 2004 France had 1700 workers' co-operatives, with 36,000 people working in them. The average size of a co-operative was 21 employees. More than 60% of co-operative employees were also members. French workers' co-operatives today include some large organisations such as and . Other cooperatives whose names are generally known to include the magazines '' Alternatives économiques'' and '' Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace'', the driving school ECF CERCA and the toy manufacturer "Moulin Roty".
ItalyPencavel et al. (2006) found that in the north of , the area where the most co-ops are located, employing around over 4% of the labour force, actually paid their workers 14% less than capitalist firms and their wages were more volatile. This was after controlling for various variables, such as schooling, age, gender, occupation, industry, location, firm-size, user cost of capital, fixed costs, and deviations in its real sales. The cooperative movement in Emilia-Romagna, Italy, successfully melds two divergent philosophical currents: Socialism and Catholicism. With more than a century of cooperative history, the region includes more than 8,000 cooperatives.
SpainOne of the world's best known examples of worker cooperation is the Mondragón Cooperative Corporation in the .
United KingdomIn the United Kingdom, the 's enthusiasm for worker cooperatives was at its highest in the 1970s and 1980s, with being a prominent advocate. The principle has also found some support from the more radical wing of the Liberal Democrats, such as from . A small number of such co-operatives were formed during the 1974 Labour Government as worker takeoversRidley-Duff, R. J. (2007) "Communitarian Perspectives on Social Enterprise", ''Corporate Governance: An International Review'', 15(2):382–392
IsraelIn Israel, worker cooperatives emerged in the early 20th century alongside the , the collective farming movement. The Kibbutz is a cooperative movement that was founded on ideas, with the intention to cultivate land and increase the number of Jewish settlements. By the 1970s, the (Israel Labour Federation) controlled a significant number of corporations, including Israel's largest bank— (literally the Worker's Bank). By the 1990s, the Histadrut had lost its power and influence and many worker cooperative corporations were sold or became . Israel's biggest company, Egged, is still a workers cooperative. However, Egged employs workers who are not cooperative members and are paid at a lower wage than worker-members.
In North America
United StatesNational organization The United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives is the only organization in the U.S. representing worker cooperative interests nationally. Offering a voice on national level, promoting the worker co-operative model, uniting co-ops at conferences and providing a base of support and technical assistance to the worker co-operative community. Regional organizations The Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy and Western Worker Co-operative Conference hold conferences every other year for their respective regions. In addition, there are national and regional nonprofit organizations that focus on providing technical support and assistance to both create new worker cooperatives (start-ups) and conversions of existing businesses into worker cooperatives, usually when the business owner is retiring and wants to sell the company. These organizations include Democracy at Work Institute (created by the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives), Cooperative Development Institute, Ohio Employee Ownership Center, Vermont Employee Ownership Center, Rhode Island Center for Employee Ownership, Project Equity, and others. Cooperation Jackson is a federation of cooperatives based in Jackson, Mississippi, which seeks to build worker-owned coops and other locally operated institutions. The Freedom Quilting Bee was a notable cooperative founded in Alabama during the midst of the Civil Rights movement, and was instrumental in helping underprivileged black workers in the area escape poverty, amassing enough success to fill orders for major department stores such as Sears while helping to spark contemporary interest in quilting.
CanadaWorker co-ops in Canada are represented by the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation (CWCF). Members of the CWCF are found throughout English Canada. Ontario has its own federation with well-developed standards. Quebec has a distinct worker co-operative history, and is presently organised into a number of regional federations.
MexicoAfter the revolt on 1 January 1994 from EZLN, the indigenous people in Chiapas started the reconstruction of their Zapatista coffee cooperatives.
VenezuelaHugo Chávez, in his effort to democratize the workforce, established a lot of worker-owned and operated cooperatives the moment he got into office, in 1998. By 2006, there had been 100,000 worker co-ops set up, which represented around 1.5 million workers. From day one, he made sure to give them cheap start-up credit, technical training, and preferential treatment with government purchases of goods and equipment. Not even a year later, in 1999, he increased the number of co-ops that got tax incentives. Around 16% of the workforce was employed in these co-ops in 2005, but a 2006 census showed that 50% of the co-ops were either functioning improperly or were simply created just to get access to public funds.
ArgentinaIn response to the Argentine economic crisis (1999-2002), economic crisis in Argentina, many Argentinian workers occupied the premises of bankrupt businesses and began to run them as worker-owned cooperatives. As of 2005, there were roughly 200 worker-owned businesses in Argentina, most of which were started in response to this crisis. The documentary film ''The Take (2004 film), The Take'' described this phenomenon. According to a recent statement by the International Co-operative Alliance, cooperative businesses (most of which are not worker co-ops) in Argentina have nearly 20 million members across a number of business sectors from health care to housing to factory work and beyond. These businesses are increasing in number at a drastic rate, with over 6000 having been created in 2012 alone. Worker-owned cooperatives in Argentina have played a role in developing their surrounding communities. For example, the worker-owners of FaSinPat voted to use excess profits to establish education programs, healthcare facilities, and recreational activities for its neighborhood.
IndiaIndia has a substantial set of laws, rules & regulations for enterprises in the co-operative sector. The Indian Coffee Houses in India were started by the Coffee Board in the early 1940s, during British rule. In the mid-1950s the Board closed down the Coffee Houses, due to a policy change. The thrown-out workers then took over the branches, under the leadership of A. K. Gopalan and renamed the network as Indian Coffee House. This history is recorded in Coffee Housinte Katha, a book in Malayalam, the mother tongue of A. K. Gopalan. The author of the book is Nadakkal Parameswaran Pillai one of the leaders of the ICH movement. Another very large network of worker coops is Kerala Dinesh Beedi, originally started by exploited beedi rollers.See T.M. Thomas Isaac, Richard W. Franke, and Pyaralal Raghavan, ''Democracy at Work in an Indian Industrial Cooperative. The Story of Kerala Dinesh Beedi'', Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998.
Comparison with other work organizationsThere are significant differences between ends and means between firms where capital controls labor or firms where the state controls both labor and capital. These distinctions are easily seen when measured by essential elements of commerce: purpose, organization, ownership, control, sources of capital, distribution of profits, dividends, operational practices, and tax treatment. The following chart compares the commercial elements of capitalism, state ownership, and cooperative worker-ownership. It is based on US rules and regulations.
See also* Market socialism * Codetermination ** Worker representation on corporate boards of directors * Employee-owned corporation * Employee stock ownership * Industrial democracy * Social ownership * Workers' control * Economic democracy * Economics of participation * Voluntary association * Collectives * Benefit Corporation * Democratic education, Democratic Education * Housing cooperative, Housing Cooperative ;Other workers' cooperative thinkers * Michael Albert * Hilaire Belloc * Kevin Carson * G. K. Chesterton * G.D.H. Cole * Robert A. Dahl * Sam Dolgoff * Noam Chomsky * John Stuart Mill * Gregory Dow * David Ellerman * Charles Gide * David Griffiths (co-operative economist), David Griffiths * George Holyoake * Derek C. Jones * William King (doctor), William King * Naomi Klein * Michael Moore * * * Mario Bunge * Carole Pateman * Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen * Rochdale Pioneers, The Rochdale Pioneers * David Schweickart * José María Arizmendiarrieta * E. F. Schumacher * Stephen C. Smith (economist), Stephen C. Smith * Roger Spear * Leland Stanford * * Beatrice Webb * Sidney Webb * William Foote Whyte * Richard D. Wolff ;Videos about workers' cooperatives * ''Anarchism in America (film), Anarchism in America'' * ''Capitalism: A Love Story'' *
Further reading* ''For All The People: Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements, and Communalism in America'', PM Press, by John Curl, 2009, * Créer en Scop, le guide de l'entreprise participative, Ed Scop Edit 2005 (disponible gratuitement su