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|Letters to the Editor Fall '08 : Champlain edition : Tuesday, 24 April 2018 06:38 EDT : a service of The Public Press|
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Letters to the Editor Fall '08
by Stephen Morris
To Stephen Morris, Publisher/Editor of Green Living
Thank you for your article "The State of Co-ops" in the Spring issue of Green Living. Inspiration and creativity weave themselves through the stories of people working together to meet their needs, something becoming increasingly important in our lives.
Worker cooperatives which were not mentioned in your article. Worker co-ops are distinct from consumer and producer co-ops in that members (or members in training) are exclusively the workers. These workplaces function on worker empowerment and environmentally sound and long term business practices while providing a haven of democratic activity. Worker co-ops create a more democratic society by transforming the typical boss/worker dynamic into a center of shared control for economic well being. One person/one vote is a central characteristic of worker co-ops. Cooperative operation of all facets of life is a dream we share.
The more democratic your workplace, the better your workplace. Worker/owners are empowered to voice their opinions, apply their skills and learn about every step of the business. Historically this has created jobs with security, pay, benefits and access to knowledge often exceeding those of traditional jobs. Worker co-ops themselves typically have a longstanding commitment to their communities and environment. This commitment is strengthened when worker/owners live near their workplaces.
In our area these co-ops, ranging from three to over thirty years old add greatly to the community fabric. From auto repair and a spinnery to a bookstore and home repair, copy shops and skin care to alternative power installers and progressive-cause fundraisers, webhosting and programming to bicycle trash and recycling haulers ... each organization has an inspiring story to share.
In 2005 the worker co-ops of southern Vermont and western Massachusetts formed the Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives- a membership organization dedicated to supporting, educating about and developing worker co-ops. For more information call 1-888-682-4801 or visit the Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives website: www.valleyworker.org.
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