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Worker Cooperatives: Democracy at Work

Thursday, February 26, 2015 - 4:30pm to 7:30pm
THO 125

On Thursday, February 26th, the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies will host a campus film and discussion event about worker cooperatives - workplaces democratically owned and operated by the workers.  The event will be catered with delicious foods cooked by Patty Pan Grill and with Fair Trade coffee, tea, and snacks contributed by Equal Exchange.  

Local filmmakers Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin will screen and discuss their documentary Shift Change: Putting Democracy to Work.   Shift Change tells the little known stories of employee-owned businesses that compete successfully in today's economy while providing secure, dignified jobs in democratic workplaces, featuring interviews and insights from worker-owners from the United States to the Mondragón Cooperative Corporation in Basque Country, which is owned by its 76,000 workers and boasts the lowest unemployment rate in Spain’s troubled economy.  Watch a preview of the film:

In addition to the documentary, the event will also feature a panel of worker-owners from cooperatives such as:

  • Bicicooperativa Urbana – a growing cooperative of bicycle messengers in Mexico City
  • Equal Exchange – a Boston-based importer and retailer of Fair Trade products such as coffee, chocolate, fruit and nuts, with an espresso bar in the Ballard Market
  • Black Coffee Co-op – a Seattle coffee shop and activist community space birthed by the Occupy Movement
  • Patty Pan – Seattle’s oldest farmers-market concession, which converted to a cooperative two years ago from a sole proprietorship
  • Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship – helps to train disadvantaged Seattle workers to develop worker cooperatives and home-based or cottage businesses

Schedule of events:

4:30-5:45  Screening of Shift Change: Putting Democracy to Work
5:45-6:30  Question-and-answer discussion with filmmakers Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin
6:00-7:30  Food and a panel discussion with cooperative worker-owners

“Worker Cooperatives: Democracy at Work” is co-sponsored by UW Department of Political Science, Central Co-op, UW Department of Geography, UW Comparative History of Ideas Program, and Equal Exchange, with support from S.L.I.C.E. and UW United Students Against Sweatshops

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