[Marxism] Worker owned?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Oct 5 13:38:28 MDT 2009


First, here's a link to a review of "Capitalism: a Love Story" from a 
real anti-capitalist (ie, a socialist):

http://www.socialistalternative.org/news/article10.php?id=1169

For those who have either seen the movie or plan to see it, there are 
two worker-owned companies that Moore hails as an alternative to 
capitalism. One is a bakery in the Bay Area, which does seem to 
incorporate that region's ethos.

The other is a robotics firm in Wisconsin that I had a devil of a time 
tracking down. Here's a CNN report on how they are coping during a 
financial crisis. Apparently in this company, all workers are equal but 
some are more equal than others:

http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2009/smallbusiness/0909/gallery.worker_owner_coop.smb/3.html

When workers take charge

Isthmus Engineering in Madison, Wis. is a custom designer and builder of 
factory machines. The company was formed in 1980 and morphed into a 
worker-owned shop three years later. Ownership has since expanded to 28 
“directors” who share democratic control, and this has helped company 
ride out the recession, said John Kessler, an engineer and one of four 
co-founders.

Isthmus laid off two paid-by-the-hour workers earlier this year, but it 
still employs *20 non-owner assembly workers*, he said. The directors 
have avoided further layoffs by agreeing to accept a lighter profit, and 
by juggling schedules between the machining, assembly and engineering 
departments.

“As a worker-owned company, we can make the decisions to take work at a 
lesser margin in order to keep people,” said Kessler. “We have 
reshuffled duties to keep the work that we do have from going out the 
door, while also spreading out the pain as much as possible.”




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