BlueGreen Alliance

Good Jobs, Clean Environment, Green Economy

Dec 17 12

Previewing a Different Union Model

“Shift Change: Putting Democracy to Work”, a new film, by award-winning filmmakers Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin, was screened in Washington, D.C. today.

Prior to the screening there was a panel discussion on worker cooperatives and job creation featuring Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers (USW); Gar Alperovitz of Democracy Collaborative; Liz Bailey of Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF); John Cavanagh of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS); David Madland of Center for American Progress; and Michael Peck of Mondragón. These groups have been instrumental in growing the worker cooperative movement in North America. In fact last March, USW, a founding member of the BlueGreen Alliance, together with the global worker industrial cooperative leader Mondragón International, S.A. and the Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC), announced a new union co-op model for organizations aimed at combining worker equity with a progressive collective bargaining process. An earlier blog post by Brian Lombardozzi goes into more detail on this endeavor in restoring worker equity in the U.S. economy.

The film “Shift Change: Putting Democracy to Work” documents employee-owned businesses that compete in the economy, while giving their workers secure and dignified jobs in democratic workplaces. The movie tells the story of several companies that are dealing with changes to the global economy by rethinking the way businesses run in order to promote more sustainable communities.

Specifically, the film takes a look at Mondragón Cooperative Corporation (Spain), the Evergreen Cooperatives (Cleveland), Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives (San Francisco), Isthmus Engineering and Manufacturing (Madison, Wis.), Equal Exchange (Boston) and cooperatives of immigrant workers.

It’s not too late to screen the film. There will be an additional screening tonight, Monday December 17, in Washington, D.C. at 7:30 p.m. at the Landmark E Street Cinema.

Watch the full trailer.

The Washington, D.C., screenings are sponsored by: American Sustainable Business Council; Coop DC; CDF; DC Labor FilmFest; Democracy Collaborative; IPS; Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO; Mondragon USA; National Cooperative Business Association; NCB Financial Group; New Economy Working Group; ONE DC; Taylored Communications; and the USW.