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Sat Jun 16, 2012, 11:59 AM

Way Cool !!! - Go Mondragon !!!

Come Saturday Morning: Mondragon!
By: Phoenix Woman - FDL
Saturday June 16, 2012 6:45 am



<snip>

Just when you think there’s absolutely no hope and you feel like giving in to the false frenemies who want you to validate their own messed-up worldview by topping yourself, something like this comes along into your field of vision: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondragon_Corporation

The MONDRAGON Corporation is a corporation and federation of worker cooperatives based in the Basque region of Spain. Founded in the town of Mondragón in 1956, its origin is linked to the activity of a modest technical college and a small workshop producing paraffin heaters. Currently it is the seventh largest Spanish company in terms of asset turnover and the leading business group in the Basque Country. At the end of 2011 it was providing employment for 83,869 people working in 256 companies in four areas of activity: Finance, Industry, Retail and Knowledge. The MONDRAGON Co-operatives operate in accordance with a business model based on People and the Sovereignty of Labour, which has made it possible to develop highly participative companies rooted in solidarity, with a strong social dimension but without neglecting business excellence. The Co-operatives are owned by their worker-members and power is based on the principle of one person, one vote.


Does this sound too good to be true? Guess again: http://www.mondragon-corporation.com/language/en-US/ENG/Who-we-are/Introduction.aspx

MONDRAGON Corporation is the embodiment of the co-operative movement that began in 1956, the year that witnessed the creation of the first industrial cooperative in Mondragón in the province of Gipuzkoa; its business philosophy is contained in its Corporate Values:

Co-operation.
Participation.
Social Responsibility.
Innovation.


The Corporation’s Mission combines the core goals of a business organisation competing on international markets with the use of democratic methods in its business organisation, the creation of jobs, the human and professional development of its workers and a pledge to development with its social environment.

In terms of organisation, it is divided into four areas: Finance, Industry, Distribution and Knowledge, and is today the foremost Basque business group and the seventh largest in Spain.


If you’re at all familiar with Spain, you likely know that the Basque region of Spain had for centuries been one of the poorest parts of that country. That’s started to change in the past fifty years, and Mondragon’s been a key factor — probably the most important factor — in the growing prosperity of the Basque Country. And that’s all come about by rejecting conventional capitalism in favor of economic democracy.

And guess what? The United Steelworkers union in the US is working with Mondragon on creating democratically-run, employee-owned enterprises in our own country:
http://www.usw.org/media_center/releases_advisories?id=0234

<snip>

Link: http://firedoglake.com/2012/06/16/come-saturday-morning-mondragon/



7 replies, 2103 views

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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sat Jun 16, 2012, 12:06 PM

1. I've loved these guys ever since I first heard about them...

...via Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy.

GO CO-OPS!!!

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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sat Jun 16, 2012, 12:27 PM

2. This is how you do it...

...create your own models instead of trying to change the ossified entrenched model.

I've been saying for years that unions should buy businesses instead of politicians. Instead of "fighting the power...become the power". Prove your viability in delivering goods and services by doing a better job.

People need to see new paradigms in action and feel the benefits to their daily lives before they will accept them. You can't constantly tear something down without providing an viable alternative.

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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sat Jun 16, 2012, 12:33 PM

3. co-ops have flourished during time of social change

Farmers set up co-ops to counter distribution monopolies as part of the populist movement in the 1890s.

Co-ops also flourished during the 1930s and late 1960s.

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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sat Jun 16, 2012, 07:48 PM

4. I'm half-Basque myself -- YAY FOR THIS!

Very proud of my compadres there!

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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Jun 17, 2012, 12:10 AM

5. Glad to see USW on board with this. They were ripped off by USS. Good way to rebuld here.

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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Jun 17, 2012, 12:57 AM

6. Oh yea...Spain has the answers.

 

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Response to Zax2me (Reply #6)

Sun Jun 17, 2012, 08:51 AM

7. Mondragon is doing better. In the rest of Spain unemployment is at 22%, but the 83K

or so members of Mondragon are still at work despite the problems in the rest of the nation. Here they have a real motivation to make things work for everyone because everyone is an owner.

4 days a week is better than sitting in California until unemployment runs out or getting a student loan that you can't pay back when you are finished, eh?

Instead of a Mi$$ Rmoney sucking all the wealth out of the core with his probiscus of junk bonds, the workers own the company. They own the bank - the 9th largest in Spain - (by today it might be 6 or 7). The wealth is owned by the workers. They provide their own insurance, their own university.

The company is not in debt to any outside party. They finance their own start-ups.

It's not the cure for the common cold, but it's perhaps the most sustainable and humane business model for large numbers of people in a competitive world.



Here's a little more...

... One of Mondragon's co-operatives is called Fagor Electrodomestic - 3,500 employees make very modern looking fridges, stoves, washing machines and while they sell to 120 countries, Europe is their main market. So when new construction starts in Spain fell from just under 700,000 units in 2007 to just 40,000 units this year, Fagor was hit hard and appliance sales have fallen by 50%. Their response was to reduce workers by 10%- that meant laying off 300 temporary workers and transferring 250 worker members to other coops in Mondragon (worker members are frequently transferred from one coop that isn't doing well to one that is). It also meant reducing wages by 8% in Fagor and reducing the number of models produced. Another interesting strategy is the hours bank- if there is less work at one time of the year , workers will reduce their hours and make it up later in the year. If the total is less than a full salary, Mondragon's internal welfare system will compensate the workers for 80% of the gap between a full time salary and however much they worked- for up to two years!...


All the members still employed.

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