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Worker Cooperatives Are More Productive Than Normal Companies

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  • When maximizing profits isn't the only goal, companies can actually work better. Under worker-run management structures, co-ops might avoid the usual friction between bosses giving orders from above, and staff misunderstanding or disputing decisions or resisting unfair work burdens from below. Fusing the workforce and management streamlines operations and saves energy otherwise sunk into training and monitoring the workforce.
  • Can Treating Low-Wage Workers Well Become The Hot New Business Strategy?

Michelle Chen, the Nation / Portside

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https://portside.org/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/field/image/baker_king_arthur_flour.jpg?itok=7WK6h8FR A baker takes freshly-baked bread from the oven at King Arthur Flour Company, a worker-owned business in Norwich, Vermont. AP Photo / Toby Talbot // the Nation

March 31, 2016 | Imagine an economy without bosses. It's not a utopian vision but a growing daily reality for many enterprises. A close analysis of the performance of worker-owned cooperative firms-companies in which workers share in management and ownership-shows that, compared to standard top-down firms, co-ops can be a viable, even superior way of doing business.

The term "co-op" evokes images of collective farming or crunchy craft breweries. But Virginie Perotin of Leeds University Business School synthesized research on "labor-managed firms" in Western Europe, the United States and Latin America, and found that, aside from the holistic social benefits of worker autonomy, giving workers a direct stake in managing production enables a business to operate more effectively. On balance, Perotin concludes, "worker cooperatives are more productive than conventional businesses, with staff working `better and smarter' and production organized more efficiently."

Michelle Chen is a contributing writer for the Nation.

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Related:

Can Treating Low-Wage Workers Well Become The Hot New Business Strategy? Jessica Leber, Co.Exist

Aetna, Gap, Starbucks—even Walmart—are making moves to pay and treat their employees better. Are we seeing the start of an age of friendlier big business, or is it all just PR?

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Socialism, Bernie Sanders and the working class*

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We have to be clear: Socialism with real political power for the majority will come from the revolutionary struggle of the working class against capitalism, not reforms and laws passed by politicians.

Dave Schneider, Fight Back! News

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Another%20World%20Rainbow.jpg Wednesday, March 30, 2016 | A couple weeks ago, one of my coworkers and I started talking politics near the end of our shift. With the 2016 presidential primary in full swing, the election is now the topic of choice in our break rooms, box lines and union meetings. One thing led to another and this coworker asked me whether I was a Democrat or Republican. I said, “Neither one, I'm a socialist.” Immediately I braced myself for any number of negative reactions. I expected either an intense debate, loud profanity, or the silent treatment. You can imagine my surprise, when my coworker responded, “Yeah, me too.”

Since the 2008 financial crisis, socialism has become more popular in the U.S. Young people increasingly express support for socialism. According to a 2015 Gallup Poll, 43% of people ages 18-to-29 report a positive view of socialism. Nearly half the country says they would vote for a socialist presidential candidate (Gallup, 2015).

Dave Schneider is a 23 year old union organizer and labor activist living in North Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida in fall 2011. He regularly writes for Fight Back! News.

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*Evergreene Digest Editor's Note: 

Evergreene Digest does not endorse any candidate or political party. But we will publish articles that have a serious or substantial intellectual content challenging or supporting the ideas of any of the candidates. 

You can submit articles that deal with the stated content of the candidates' positions and public record of what they have done in the past in their political offices or in their dealings with social movements, non-profits, the poor, the oppressed, the environment, or the super-wealthy. 

You can also comment on or send rebuttals to this article or anything else we publish on-line at www.evergreenedigest.org. Send them to me, David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Snapshot of a broken system: How a profitable company justifies laying off 1,400 people & moved their jobs to Mexico

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When a Carrier air conditioner factory was closed, and its jobs outsourced, it wasn't because of financial hardship. 

David Dayen, Salon

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http://media.salon.com/2016/03/Screen-Shot-2016-03-21-at-10.23.57-PM-620x412.pngTuesday, Mar 22, 2016 | A viral video of 1,400 workers at a unionized Carrier air conditioner factory in Indianapolis being told their jobs would be outsourced to Mexico has become a searing example of the destructive power of globalization. Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have highlighted the video, which surfaced earlier this year, and vowed to fight these corporate practices. But what most people didn’t understand until a New York Times article this weekend is that Carrier’s air conditioning business has, in fact, been quite profitable.

Last year, Carrier produced a significant chunk of total profits for its parent company, United Technologies. Of $7.6 billion in earnings in 2015, $2.9 billion came from the Climate, Controls & Security division, where Carrier resides. Profits from this division have expanded steadily in recent years, which is not what you’d expect from a unit desperate to cut labor costs.

David Dayen is a contributing writer for Salon <http://www.salon.com>. His first book, "Chain of Title," releases in May 2016.

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Can Treating Low-Wage Workers Well Become The Hot New Business Strategy?

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Aetna, Gap, Starbucks—even Walmart—are making moves to pay and treat their employees better. Are we seeing the start of an age of friendlier big business, or is it all just PR?

Jessica Leber, Co.Exist

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World Changing Ideas: This is part of Co.Exist's annual collection of some of the most interesting and thought-provoking trends that will alter the world in the year ahead. See the whole list here.

03.16.15 |  In the auditorium of a drab office building Jacksonville, Florida, almost 200 employees of the health insurer Aetna gathered—with many more following along on a live video stream—for a visit from the CEO this January.

They were there expecting a town-hall-style Q&A. What they got instead was an emotional surprise, at least for the lowest-paid among them: CEO Mark Bertolini announced that everyone who earned less than $16 an hour would get a raise. Those same employees, most of whom worked in customer service and claims processing—and most of whom were women—could also choose less expensive health benefits the following year.

Jessica Leber is a staff editor and writer for Fast Company's Co.Exist. Previously, she was a business reporter for MIT’s Technology Review and an environmental reporter at ClimateWire.

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A secret weapon in fighting homelessness? Interior designers. Really.

One of the biggest challenges facing families transitioning out of shelters and into homes of their own is the cost of furnishing them.

Robbie Couch, Upworthy

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Humble%20Design%2C%20Detroit%20illus.jpgMarch 10, 2016 | When Temia McGuire lost her job, she also ended up losing her home.

As difficult as it was personally for the Michigan mom, she didn't focus on herself. Her main priority was her children.

"I think I was just worried about the kids, how they felt," she says.

Robbie Couch: I'm a wandering writer with Michigan roots, activist tendencies, and an irrational fear of birds. I do what I can to help make empowering, important stories go viral.

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Here’s 6 Common Welfare Myths We All Need to Stop Believing

  • Debunked.
  • Why wealthy Americans’ delusions about the poor are so dangerous.

Tom Cahill, U. S. Uncut

http://3p3mq242g5jc2ki76r3wi6fq.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/stagnantwages-977x1024.png  November 22, 2015 | This Thanksgiving, if one of your right-wing relatives starts mouthing off at the dinner table about the welfare system and how it enables freeloaders to bilk the taxpayers out of their hard-earned cash, show them this article.

Some of the more persistent myths about welfare recipients and the welfare system have been thoroughly debunked thanks to economic research. Busting these offensive and insensitive myths can help us better understand how to simultaneously help impoverished families become economically stable and save taxpayers’ money.

Tom Cahill is a writer for US Uncut based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. 

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Why wealthy Americans’ delusions about the poor are so dangerous, David Sirota, Salon

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  • Regressive state and local tax policies don’t just harm the working class -- they can ruin entire economies.
  • The False Debate on Homelessness

Another Damning Phony Jobs Report

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  • The monthly payroll jobs reports have become a bad joke.
  • Tally beats expectations but major gains were in low wage industries such as restaurants and retail as unemployment rate holds steady at 4.9%.
  • Part 1: Paychecks Shrink Even as U.S. Economy Adds Jobs
  • Part 2: Another Phony Jobs Report

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest


 

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/End%20Corporate%20Greed%20Occupy.jpgPart 1: Paychecks Shrink Even as U.S. Economy Adds Jobs

Tally beats expectations but major gains were in low wage industries such as restaurants and retail as unemployment rate holds steady at 4.9%.

Alexander Reed Kelly, Truthdig

 

http://www.truthdig.com/images/eartothegrounduploads/5995197521_4c1071c095_z.jpg  A line forms outside a claims office. (Phil Campbell / CC-BY-2.0)

Mar 7, 2016 | The U.S. economy added 242,000 jobs in February—but the major gains were in low-wage industries, and average hourly earnings dropped 3 cents. And unemployment rates remained far higher for minorities than for whites.

The Guardian reports:

US businesses have now added 14.3m jobs over six straight years. The unemployment rate is half what it was at the height of the recession. In January the Labor Department announced the economy had added a disappointing 151,000 new jobs. December and January’s reports have now been revised with the Labor Department adding 30,000 jobs for the two months. …

Alexander Reed Kelly, Assistant Editor, Truthdig

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Part 2: Another Phony Jobs Report

 

And if true it is damning.

Paul Craig Roberts, Institute for Political Economy

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor John Stoltenberg.

March 4, 2016 | The monthly payroll jobs reports have become a bad joke.

No growth in real retail sales, but 55,000 retail trade new jobs in February.

No growth in real consumer income, but 40,000 more waitresses and bartenders.

86,000 new jobs in Education, health services, and social assistance. February is a strange month to be hiring new teachers. If February brought a quarter million new jobs, how come a big hike in social assistance jobs?

Manufacturing lost 16,000 jobs.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. 

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