Your host throughout your stay will be a member of the Cooperative Outreach team, who will explain MONDRAGON’s story and its current situation, as well as answer your questions. the General Assembly), where all three roles are united in a one-member, one-vote democratic system. It is the largest cooperative in the world. This means organizing and building institutions together for what we need.”. In a cooperative, the janitor and the CEO have the same voice in the General Assembly — in contrast to the capitalist shareholder system, where the number of votes is based on the amount of money invested in shares of the enterprise — typically by absentee shareholders who have no other interest in the firm. Qu'est ce que les "Learning Exploration" ? There has been an increase in the number of women in managerial positions, conversations around using green energy in their R&D facility, and the development of a social transformation team. And in times of trouble, the General Assembly is a place for the entire cooperative to thrash out difficult issues. Benefits offered include health care, pensions, and unemployment. The Mondragon Cooperative Group has engaged in a domestic expansion process since the early 1960s and internationally since the 1990s. Auch aus dem großen Mondragon-Verbund überlebte eine Genossenschaft diesen Prozess der Deindustrialisierung nicht. Michael Peck also offered specific examples of women in leadership positions, as the General Secretary for Mondragon’s Governing Council, the Mondragon Corporation’s CFO, and the CEO positions in several of the individual cooperatives. Third, the sustainability orientation of Mondragon is potentially further along than I could observe on the ground. Pragmatism is the only enduring “ism.”. The plant that we viewed was an assembly plant, which utilized components, materials and logistics provided by both cooperatives and non-cooperatives. And third, just as the cooperative’s expanded capacity came on line, the recession hit and the bottom fell out of the market. Nonetheless, the Mondragon worker-owners are a fairly homogenous group, so one doesn’t have to travel far to experience empathy for “the other,” and the system is not being asked to address such intractable issues as homelessness, racism or multi-generational poverty, none of which were visible to me in Mondragon. The thing that was so refreshing about Mondragon was its willingness and ability to deal with facts on the ground, to allow practice to modify theory without losing sight of values. The Mondragon pension system is now well aligned and fully integrated with the Spanish government system. Second, as the environmental crisis worsens, it will create many new business opportunities for companies with the technical skills to address them. Spain's Basque Country is home to the world’s largest co-operative Mondragon - a rare success story in a nation mired in recession. Note: ULMA does not make packaging for these products — it makes the machines that make the actual packaging. But then we can also be power ourselves. Mondragon Team Academy (LEINN) together with MONDRAGON and other companies, Foundations and NGOs united to mobilize young people to create solutions for the coronavirus. We didn’t have an opportunity to discuss the thousand relevant details, large and small, that would give us the basis for a good comparison to the rest of the US system, but we already know our ailing system offers the worst care for the highest price of any system in the developed world. Imagine the power of employee-ownership as a lever for creating social, economic, and environmental changes. While the rest of Spain struggled to maintain economic stability after the Great Recession of 2008, areas around Mondragon remained fairly unaffected. The desire for theoretical purity strikes me as a critical failure of both mainstream and alternative economics. Despite its many virtues, Mondragon is not utopia. Power can assist us and we must guide it. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Fagor Electrodomésticos, the largest of the industrial cooperatives, failed, eliminating the jobs of 1,800 worker-owners in 2013. Mondragon has been slowly making changes to take on a larger role in pushing for equitable changes locally. The Mondragon Cooperative Corporation (MCC) is a holding company for 110 cooperatives and 147 subsidiary companies. … Symone Jackson and Rebecca Fisher McGinty. The critical difference, as noted previously, is that the purpose of the firm is to benefit its members rather than its shareholders. OUR ROADMAP MORE COMPETITIVE, COOPERATIVE AND FLEXIBLE. In an export-led economy, such as Mondragon, much of the “local living economy” is based on what Michael Porter and others call “industrial clusters.” In fact, according to Etxeberria, Michael Porter created a strategic plan for the Basque government in the 1990s and helped to shape the industrial clusters operating today. The governance structures supporting that critical difference are the General Assembly and the Social Council. So, ownership has compounding social benefits, stable wages and livelihoods reduce income inequality and improve public health. Shelves: econ. “ There are three kinds of power. Together with the inhabitants of the town he founded a vocational school. As with many successful firms, regardless of structure or industry, much of the growth in recent years has come from international markets, which now account for 70 percent of Mondragon sales. I also noticed a lack of emphases on social and environmental impacts. As I review my experience of Mondragon, I’m thinking this may well be its “secret sauce,” the key to its long-term success. She notes that the biggest change is in the younger generation and further notes that men and women doing the same jobs receive the same pay — an obvious gender equity goal that has yet to be achieved in the US. Here are ten takeaways from the trip: I was not aware of my assumptions about Mondragon until I arrived and found myself surprised. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Zur MCC gehören mehr als 100 Unternehmen verschiedener Sektoren wie Maschinenbau, Automobilindustrie, Haushaltsgeräte, Bauindustrie, Einzelhandel (u. a. Supermarktkette Eroski), Banken und Versicherungen. Their method is sometimes incremental improvement toward the goal of reducing harm, while preserving the essential characteristics of the existing system. One can imagine a sophisticated, cooperatively organized, service-based economy that would also require significant technical expertise. However, if an issue is particularly contentious and the Social Council is opposed to the decision of the Governing Council and Managing Director, it can bring the issue to the General Assembly for a vote of the broader membership. Employee Ownership and Ecological Sustainability, over $500 billion in revenues and employs about two million people, representing well over $3 trillion in turnover, Real Estate: Everyone’s an Expert, Until They’re Not, The Sad Reason the Housing Market Is Booming During a Recession, How Congress Can Stop The Fed From Dragging Its Feet In How It Lends To Municipalities, The Daily Edge: Short-Term Flows Strengthen USD Dominance, A view on compassion or lack thereof in present times. Housing cooperatives, which have been used to address the needs of seniors, students, mobile home park residents, and (occasionally) low-income communities. This observation prompted some musings about different approaches to social change — specifically, the differences between the goals of social responsibility, social justice and social transformation. However, while individuals can evaluate complex issues, they don’t always take the time to do so. But only 98 of those are federated cooperatives, while the rest are international production subsidiaries. Because of the principle of “intercooperation” among the Mondragon cooperative enterprises — that is, the idea of connectedness and reciprocity among all the participants in the system — most the employees were relocated to other cooperatives. … This blog post reflects the author’s personal views and opinions, and does not represent the views and opinions of Beneficial State Bank and/or Beneficial State Foundation. His goal was social transformation and the economic structure of the cooperative enterprises was simply a means to that end. I recently had the opportunity to visit Mondragon, Spain to immerse myself into the world of worker-cooperatives. [5] Es ist damit nach eigene… see review. It is an elective body that represents worker interests to the Governing Council and Managing Director. It has been successful in creating a democratic, sustainable, and secure living environment for its members. Our local guide, the father of two daughters, acknowledged that this situation was less than desirable, but noted that the situation is improving, particularly at the level of the Governing Councils, where they now represent 25 percent of the membership. But it’s not just manufacturing. The chief obstacle to attracting additional sources of capital is a lack of understanding of the cooperative model and investors’ reluctance to supply capital without clear collateral or recourse. While they are reportedly treated well they do not participate in the governance of the firm and are not eligible for many of the other unique benefits of the cooperatives. Definition: Was ist Mondragon-Kooperative? In total, they receive 80 percent of their former salary, enabling them to retire without having to make major shifts in their lifestyle. In a cooperative, where the democratic process has a direct daily impact on people’s lives and livelihoods, the participation rate and level of thoughtfulness would be expected to be higher than in the more distant matters of representative government. This means organizing and building institutions together for what we need.”. Cities across the U.S. are embracing worker cooperatives, writes Oscar Perry Abello at Next City. Mondragon University (officially in Basque: Mondragon Unibertsitatea, MU) is a non-profit cooperative private university in the Basque Country, officially established and recognised in 1997.It is part of Mondragon Corporation.Its main campus is in Mondragón, Gipuzkoa.. As of February 2016 it had about 4000 students pursuing 22 bachelor's degrees, 13 master's degrees and several advanced courses. Spain has since revised its position on coverage for worker-owners and Lagun Aro now provides benefits side by side with those offered by the government. That’s oppression. Die Genossenschaftler der Kooperative Mondragón im Baskenland erwirtschaften trotz Wirtschaftskrise immer noch 14 Milliarden Euro Umsatz im Jahr. Worker cooperative … That’s advocacy. At the time, the small town was plagued by mass unemployment and poverty. Mondragon operates under the values of participation, innovation, social responsibility, and cooperation. In Mondragon, all cooperatives must allocate a minimum of 10% of their net profits to the co-op’s social fund used for community investments. That said, when Father Arizmendiarrieta came to Mondragon, it was the poorest area of Spain. MONDRAGON is the outcome of a cooperative business project launched in 1956. And second, because economic decisions may impact individual workers differently, the structure helps produce decisions based on “fairness” in balancing the needs of the few directly affected individuals with the needs of the many who are not. For U.S. citizens sharing an affinity for a leftist critique of capitalism, the very name “Mondragon” conjures up a humane, economic alternative in which the interests of workers trump the dictates of capital and the well-being of the many trumps the self-interest of the privileged few. These are old, ingrained habits of thinking that will continue to persist among large segments of the US population, reinforced by neoliberal orthodoxy and business-driven consumerism. and Irakasle Eskola S.Coop., which nowadays constitute the University’s two Faculties and School: 1. the Governing Council and Managing Director) and sometimes supporting the “workers” (i.e. We visited one of the industrial cooperatives, ULMA Packaging, which makes machines that make packaging for perishable food products. WE ARE MONDRAGON A PROJECT SPANNING MORE THAN 60 YEARS, COMPETING IN GLOBAL MARKETS WITH ITS OWN MODEL BASED ON PEOPLE AND INTERCOOPERATION. The priest of Mondragón, José María Arizmendiarrieta, wanted to help his community out of economic hardship. Mondragon University is a cooperative university, founded in 1997 and officially recognised under Act 4/1997 of 30 May, albeit comprised of three educational cooperatives (Mondragon Higher Polytechnic School S.Coop, Enpresagintza S.Coop and Teacher Training School S.Coop). Since the traditional division of interests between workers and owners cannot, by definition, exist in a worker-owned cooperative, the Social Council was hard for me to understand initially. OUR AIM IS TO CONSTITUTE A BUSINESS That’s oppression. In all cases, they remained true to their core value — providing long-term employment (and other benefits) to their worker-owners — but they did so with creativity, self-sacrifice, an emphasis on fairness, and an impressive commitment to collaborative decision-making. C'est une offre de voyages apprenants qui … Mondragon today consists of 102 individual cooperatives united in a federation called the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation, which is also organized as a cooperative. As members of a cooperative, Mondragon’s worker-owners were not originally considered employees under state law. A majority of the Mondragon cooperatives are in the industrial manufacturing sector, an increasingly sophisticated part of the economy, where the need for math and science skills is clear — and the US ability to compete successfully is marginal. In the end, I have come to believe the biggest impediments would be our culture and the weakness of our K-12 math and science education. 1 View comments Dec. 16. 3. Each coop is represented at the Cooperative Congress, where system-wide plans and business decisions are made. I am deeply grateful for the lessons learned in the 60 years of the Mondragon experiment and hope we can apply some of them here in the U.S. as we work to create a more equitable, sustainable economy. Mondragon, with its strong technical and industrial skills, will be well positioned to take advantage of these new markets. The Mondragon Cooperative Group, which is the 10th-largest entrepreneurial group in Spain, is one of the most outstanding examples of worker cooperatives in history (Mondragon Corporation, 2013). That’s advocacy. In addition, the Mondragon cooperative system owns its own bank, university, social welfare agency, several business incubators, and a supermarket chain. The Governing Council is roughly equivalent to the Board of Directors; the Audit function corresponds to the audit committee of the board; the Managing Director to the CEO; the Managing Council to the executive leadership team; and the Departments to standard departments, whether organized functionally, divisionally, geographically, or along some other line. And in the culture overall, we need to take responsibility for our contributions to our financial destinies, to the extent we can under existing contraints. There is a need to address societal and environmental issues, and that it is everyone’s responsibility to do so. 6. The Mondragon Cooperative Group, which is the 10th-largest entrepreneurial group in Spain, is one of the most outstanding examples of worker cooperatives in history (Mondragon Corporation, 2013). As the documentary trailer says, Mondragon is a Federation of 120 worker cooperatives, which collectively have 100,000 employees and produce $25 billion in sales. Unless that shifts, the cooperative model will not work. This cultural relationship and understanding of work highlights the MCC principle of the sovereignty of labor. Faculty of Humanities … Thématique : L'apprenance au sein de la Coopérative Mondragon. Today, it is the wealthiest, with the majority of its residents as worker-owners of Mondragon. The government pension program is an unfunded system (pay-as-you-go), while Lagun Aro is an individual capitalization system. “It takes a tremendous re-educational effort to bring people into a culture that carries the responsibilities of running a business and sharing in a democratic process. Some took early retirement, and a handful took a compensation package to leave the system. In the course of our visit, three issues came to light that brought this truth home. The assumption of the dominant culture — reinforced by our current economic system — is that each of us is on our own, out for ourselves (and our immediate families), and that the pursuit of material rewards (including extraordinary rewards) is the primary motivation for our economic behavior. There are a host of intractable social problems in the US — homelessness, racism, addiction, obesity, violence, to name just a few — that may have economic elements, but cannot be solved even by a cooperative economic utopia. Faculty of Business Studies 3. Der Grund: Sie wurden mit Maßnahmen gerettet, die heute noch in Krisen­zeiten angewandt werden. the Social Council). Finally, because these machines play a critical role in their customers’ production processes, they tend to compete on quality and reliability rather than price, and the customer necessity of maximizing “up-time” (that is, the time in which the machines are running properly and production is not halted) creates an important after-market service opportunity. As Ed Whitfield, Co-Managing Director of the Fund for Democratic Communities recently put it, “ There are three kinds of power. The surprise was in the scale of the experiment. Second, the number of its Asian competitors was growing every day. As our local guide, Ander Etxeberria, observed, “In Mondragon, on the one hand, we do not have enough companies to provide to us and, on the other hand, it is not mandatory to buy in our cooperatives.” Instead, their choice hinges on the most competitive bidder. Admittedly, it might also be against their economic interest to include more worker-owners in the confederation. The third issue of concern had to do with the status of women. When asked about specific issues at Mondragon that were troubling to me, our guide would sometimes shrug and say, “This is a democracy.” To me, that shrug said it all: sometimes people make thoughtful decisions, sometimes not; sometimes they take the time to participate in decision-making, sometimes not. On October 27th, the United Steelworkers and Mondragon Internacional, the worldwide network of cooperatives based in Basque territory, announced a new alliance: PITTSBURGH - The United Steelworkers (USW) and MONDRAGON Internacional, S.A. today announced a framework agreement for collaboration in establishing MONDRAGON cooperatives in the manufacturing sector within the United … Workers in those other locations are not members of the cooperatives, and thus do no participate in democratic governance. In Mondragon, the worker democracy explicitly seeks to balance the general interests of the firm with the particular interests of the individual workers, which are not always internally aligned. This is an issue that I think Mondragon has figured out really well, striking an important balance between the need for democratic decision-making and managerial discretion. General Assembly: In most of the Mondragon industrial cooperatives, this is the organization of all worker-owners. The Basque region of Spain is an absolute EU leader in recycling and reuse — having won awards and this sustainability mentality has also influenced Basque leadership on the GINI coefficient.”. First, immediately prior to the recession, Fagor Electrodomésticos had expanded by buying a competitor in the household white goods sector; it financed the acquisition by taking on major debt. In Mondragon, all cooperatives must allocate a minimum of 10% of their net profits to the co-op’s social fund used for community investments. As Winston Churchill and others have observed, “democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms.” I’ve certainly had occasion to reflect on that statement since the 2016 election and the advent of the Trump administration. Each of these inspired considerable envy among our American tour group. As a result, Mondragon had to set up its own social safety net, which it organized as a cooperative called Lagun Aro. Cleveland, Rochester, Madison, Oakland, Austin and New York City, to name a few. That’s the type of future that I see my generation striving to create. But whatever the motivation, the net result is to create a set of second-class citizens on whose backs the growth of the firm now depends. Mar 25, 2009 Kris rated it really liked it. The film TOGETHER available to watch on line! The Mondragon Cooperative Group has engaged in a domestic expansion process since the early 1960s and internationally since the 1990s. The Mondragon Corporation has over 266 business and cooperatives, in 32 countries. Lagun Aro pension funds are invested conservatively, thereby avoiding some of the self-inflicted insolvency problems created by the US profit-maximizing system. Although it may not be the perfect utopia many envision, there is room for growth and change. This is the question that brought me, and most of my traveling companions, to Mondragon in the first place. The tour I took was organized and led by Georgia Kelly of the Praxis Peace Institute. In Spain, the state-run social safety net is designed to cover employees. Even with businesses they have acquired in Spain, an educational process must take place before assuming people are ready to be worker-owners. The Experience. The cause of the failure was a “perfect storm” of three related issues. The Mondragon group of cooperatives is likely the most successful in the world with nearly 90,000 employees, 260 companies and an annual revenue of over 19 billion dollars. Within the global cooperative movement, the Basque town of Mondragon occupies a special place. First, I think it strikes the right balance between the economic survival of the firm and the economic benefits to the individual workers. [3] Sie hat ihren Sitz in Mondragón im spanischen Baskenland und ist global tätig. Few, if any, of these new workers have been offered membership in the cooperatives. The Mondragon Corporation has over 266 business and cooperatives, in 32 countries. To work properly, democracy assumes that voters take the necessary time to educate themselves on the issues and participate in the process. Also at work, however, was the notion of the “tyranny of the majority.” In winner-take-all voting decisions, the will of the majority is imposed on all, including the dissenting minority. Shortly afterwards, these cooperative members founded a credit institution to support the work of the cooperatives – and to help … We heard (and read) many stories of economic crises and how the cooperatives, individually and collectively, weathered them. According to Michael Peck, North American delegate for Mondragon, “in the area of sustainability, where Mondragon cooperatives started with EU adhesion to the Kyoto Protocol starting in 1997 (something the U.S. never achieved), they have been very conscious of both sustainability practices as well as essential green industrial certifications (the EU versions of LEED) which they need in order to compete in global markets. Faculty of Engineering 2. I was impressed in my reading by the complexity of the decisions worker-owners were asked to make, collectively, about salary adjustments, unemployment benefits, overtime pay, required capital inputs, retirement benefits, and a myriad of other issues. Although Mondragon offers numerous benefits through its distribution of wealth and power, the model is not entirely absent of inequities. And all participants in the system are free to make choices with broadly defined benefits — not the narrow capitalist dictates of maximizing returns to shareholders. her work on mission-led employee-owned firms and their potential as the next generation enterprise design that could be key to building a just economy. Mondragon Worker Cooperative Documentary (---Must Watch---) It's 50 minutes and incredibly interesting. The General Assembly meets at least once a year to act on what sounds like a mostly pro forma agenda. Size and success make Mondragon unique among cooperative experiments, and there is a great deal more that is admirable. But there is growing evidence and support for alternatives that seek to satisfy deeper human needs, such as compassion for one’s fellows and the pursuit of meaning in one’s work. The fundamental issues that are well addressed by cooperativism — a reduction in economic inequality and a better alignment of the interests of workers, owners and managers — are critical. The most compelling reason we heard for why these international workers are not also owners is that there is not a culture of cooperatives in these foreign markets and Mondragon does not believe in, or have the capabilities for, proselytizing the cooperative form. We were also told that to achieve a livable family wage, most families required two incomes. It has an advisory role and does not make decisions. Marjorie Kelly—an amazing author, champion of local and democratic economies, and a co-founder of Fifty-by-Fifty—also participated in the study tour. The legacy of the past and present of the Mondragon cooperative experience, capitalised through an inmense experience and knowledge accumulated during these years, offers the opportunity to share it through unique educational offers and research areas. But then we can also be power ourselves. According to what I’ve read, this happens very rarely (as one would hope and expect), but when it has happened, the decisions of the General Assembly have gone both ways — sometimes supporting “management” (i.e. The full version of the documentary TOGETHER. Its first product was paraffin heaters. The University was created by the association of three educational cooperatives, with the guarantee of an extensive career and experience in the world of education, these were Mondragon Goi Eskola Politeknikoa “Jose Mª Arizmendiarrieta” S.Coop., ETEO S.Coop. The structure of Mondragon University provides … Corporations tend to talk about social responsibility, by which they mean taking responsibility for both the positive and negative impacts of the activities they pursue in the normal course of doing business. Although Mondragon cooperatives now operate in multiple sectors, the most significant cooperatives are worker-owned industrial enterprises competing globally in niche markets. In the “second level” cooperatives, that is, the cooperatives that serve other cooperatives, such as the bank and the health system, member-owners include both employees and representatives of the cooperatives served. There are 2000 cooperatives in the Mondragon region with 97 of those connected under the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation (Etxeberria, 2019, n.p.). And, of course, not all people want to be worker-owners.”. 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