Nov 5, 2021 | News Story

A Union Toolkit for Cooperative Solutions

In the Labor Movement, we need to constantly reevaluate what we consider to be the facts, the realities, of what it means to work in America. And when the shape of work changes, we need to change with it. Better yet, we need to create the terms and conditions for what is considered acceptable, “employee-employer,” relations.

Employers have already found a way to take away workers’ rights by inventing a new workforce of 1099 employees. They have created, out of thin air, a new paradigm of a worker who is the same as the usual worker, but not entitled to any of the same rights. So, why can’t we, as a Labor Movement, create our own new paradigms for what it means to be an employee? Why can’t we return to more favorable paradigms for what we accept as legitimate employee-models? Why can’t we create a world where, not only are workers treated fairly and they are able to control their workplace?

The Coop Movement and the Labor movement have a long history together, it’s time we reunite them! Rebecca Lurie, as a part of the Community Worker Ownership Project (CWOP) and CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, has started the process in a profound way. CWOP, made up of Labor Leaders, Coop Movement Leaders, Lawyers, and Workers, is a space where members can brainstorm how we change what “work” looks like in America. The new Union Toolkit for Cooperative Solutions packages those ideas and challenges Labor Leaders to change the way their unions operate. It challenges the reader to rethink today’s Labor Movement so that our children and our children’s children stand a chance to live in a world where workers have union benefits and control the means of production.

"This is a must-read for anyone who wants to radically re-shape how we, as a labor movement, engage with the concept of “'work'” said Danny Byers, Organizer with UFCW Local 1500. "It is a must-read for anyone who wants a new path towards ensuring the betterment of workers everywhere." Read it here!