Unlike the US Bankruptcy Court in Detroit, and the Michigan Governor and Attorney General who chose not to protect worker pensions in the Detroit bankruptcy, a cooperative community of businesses shows that their solidarity, in the form of funds from the other companies, can support the workers with resources and jobs when faced with a major bankruptcy. Following are excerpts from the blog of Michael Peck responding to an article in The Economist claiming that the Fagor bankruptcy severely tested the "real world" ability of community-centered business to survive. In fact, this difficult example is proof of the strength of economic solidarity. Michael of the MAPA Group is the US representative of the Mondragon Cooperative Group.
"The Mondragon Cooperative Group (“Humanity At Work” through Cooperation, Participation, Social Responsibility and Innovation, headquartered in the Basque region between Spain and France) is ranked as the world’s largest worker-owned industrial cooperative group but also as the top Basque industrial group, tenth in Spain with 80,000 personnel, a presence in 70 countries, and winner of the 2013 Financial Times “Boldness in Business” award. Mondragon’s 60-year mission is to generate wealth for society through values-centric and market competitive business development and job creation under the “one worker, one vote” cooperative framework where labor is sovereign and capital, while essential, is subordinate to sustaining job creation.
Yesterday, Fagor Electrodomestics, which evolved from the original Mondragon household white goods manufacturing cooperative (ULGOR) to hold almost a third of its domestic sector market share for decades, was declared formally insolvent (859 million Euros in debt, 5,642 jobs at risk, 100,000 Euros left in the corporate account). Predictably, global media “punditcrats” have wasted no time in jumping on the “see, I told you so” bandwagon. Case in point, The Economist, “Trouble in workers’ paradise–...
Also yesterday, Mondragon’s social mutual, Lagun Aro, announced it would propose a 1.5% raise in contributions from all members at Mondragon’s next General Assembly to support its role in providing additional unemployment benefits to displaced Fagor Electrodomestics worker-owners. This other news received only local media coverage and therein lies the conventional wisdom disconnect from the healing power of practicing metrics-based solidarity. (Read More) http://www.mapagroup.net/blog/#sthash.rUuF4pwM.dpufhttp://www.mapagroup.net/blog/