Worker Cooperatives in America

Robert Jackall and Henry M. Levin open Worker Cooperatives in America like this:

“This book addresses the history, dynamics, challenges and potential of a remarkable form of enterprise, the worker cooperative. Worker cooperatives are productive firms that are democratically owned and managed by their workers. In an age of unparalleled bureacratization where employees rarely paticipate in the ownership of control of organizations that shape their working lives, worker cooperatives are a vital form of workplace democracy.

Worker cooperatives spring up in a variety of business areas, from small retail operations such as restaurants and bookstores to large multibillion dollar manufacturing enterprises. They also take on a variety of cooperative forms. . . Many smaller cooperatives work through direct participation of their workers in all important decisions, whereas larger cooperatives utilize both participative and representative forms of management. No matter how diverse their arrangements, cooperatives share a commitment to democratic ownership and management.”

Many teacher-powered schools are set up like worker cooperatives, and some are even formally organized as worker co-ops. This book is a great resource for any team of teachers designing and running a school, whether you intend to formally become a cooperative or not, because it communicates the dynamics and challenges of a cooperative-like workplace.

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Deciding whether to formally organize the teacher team