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Mondragon The Working Co Operative Essay

712 words - 3 pages

Danny Roberts Business & EthicsWhat is a worker co-operative?A worker co-operative is a business that is owned and controlled by its employees. Each worker owns a share in the business. Decisions as to how the business is run are made democratically by the co-operative system of one member - one vote. Common forms of worker co-ops include Mondragon and The US-Thai.How do worker co-ops form?Worker co-operatives generally form in one of two ways. Either a group of people organises a co-operative to create employment for themselves, or an existing company mutualises by selling shares to its employees, who then take over ownership and management.What is mondragon?The Mondragon Corporacion Cooperativa (MCC) begin here in 1956 when a group of five young engineers were encouraged by their socialist priest, Father Jose Maria Arizmediarrieta, to set up a cooperative to make paraffin cooking stoves. Using Arizmis vision the five young ...view middle of the document...

It has its own bank, a research institute, an entrepreneurial division, insurance and social security institutions, schools, a college and even its own health service.This is definitely one of the success stories of people who take the Church's social doctrine seriously, in particular, the teachings regardingStrongly dedicated to the common goodThe dignity of the human person and his or her labourSocial solidarityThe primacy of labour over capital. In most for profit businesses, labour is hired at the service of capital. For the Mondragon cooperatives, capital is something they rent to benefit the worker-owners.Its Profits are divided as followsTen percent of corporate profits are donated to charity, 40% are retained by the cooperative to be used to benefit the "common good". Such as research, development, job creation, etc, and the remaining balance of the profits would go into capital accounts for the worker owners. These funds may be borrowed against at the cooperative's bank at very low interest rates, and are important parts of the social security arrangements. The MCC views capital as only a means to an end, the goal is for a happy and productive work environment and capital is a tool needed to achieve that. OverallWorker co-operatives continue to face many economic and social challenges.Concern from trade union officialsOne argument against union- co-op alliances is that, in worker co-ops, there is no role for a union; after all, the workers are also the owners/managers. If they chose to strike, they are striking against themselves. So some say there is no one over body looking out for the labours interests.Gender barriersGender barriers continue to exist in worker co-ops. Women are still the minority, and men the majority in skilled labour, management, and director positions.Overall I see cooperative organizations as a good concept as long as it is operated correctly, working as close to its original religious ideas as is possible in today's society.

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