Scott Sorensen (the inaugural subject of LRM’s “Profiles In Resistance”) posted this picture he took today of a woman wearing a rather interesting shirt:
It says “United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives.” Scott said the front said, “Think Outside The Boss.” Who doesn’t love that?! Oh, right–the boss (as opposed to “The Boss” who I would imagine would be down with this)!
The New York Times recently wrote an interesting piece regarding a worker cooperative in San Francisco–the title was “Who Needs A Boss?“:
If you happen to be looking for your morning coffee near Golden Gate Park and the bright red storefront of the Arizmendi Bakery attracts your attention, congratulations. You have found what the readers of The San Francisco Bay Guardian, a local alt-weekly, deem the city’s best bakery. But it has another, less obvious, distinction.
Of the $3.50 you hand over for a latte (plus $2.75 for the signature sourdough croissant), not one penny ends up in the hands of a faraway investor. Nothing goes to anyone who might be tempted to sell out to a larger bakery chain or shutter the business if its quarterly sales lag. Instead, your money will go more or less directly to its 20-odd bakers, who each make $24 an hour — more than double the national median wage for bakers. On top of that, they get health insurance, paid vacation and a share of the profits.
The article points out that the worker cooperative is not at all a new idea. Nevertheless, it’s a rather uncommon arrangement in the U.S., but appears to be gaining more acceptance as the U.S. and world economies continue to decline. The article addresses this as well:
The oft-proposed remedy for this state of affairs is redistribution — namely, taxing the rich to benefit the poor. Piketty, in fact, proposes a global tax, one that can’t be avoided by private jet. Others want to raise the minimum wage. In contrast to those Band-Aids, worker co-ops require no politically unpalatable dictates. And by placing workers’ needs ahead of profits, they address the root cause of economic disparity. “If you don’t want inequality,” says Richard Wolff, the author of “Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism,” “don’t distribute income unequally in the first place.”
Clearly an idea whose time has come–again.