Saturday, April 10, 2010


The MONDRAGON Corporation is a federation of worker cooperatives based in the Basque region of Spain.
Currently it is the seventh largest Spanish company in terms of turnover and the leading business group in the Basque Country. At the end of 2008 it was providing employment for 92,773 people working in 256 companies in four areas of activity

The MONDRAGON Co-operatives operate in accordance with a business model based on People and the Sovereignty of Labour, which has made it possible to develop highly participative companies rooted in solidarity, with a strong social dimension but without neglecting business excellence. The Co-operatives are owned by their worker-members and power is based on the principle of one person one vote [1]

The determining factor in the creation of the Co-operatives

1941 of a young priest José Mª Arizmendiarrieta

suffering the painful consequences of the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War:

create employment based on solidarity

Before setting up the first co-operative, Arizmendiarrieta spent a number of years educating young people about a form of humanism based on solidarity and participation, with Christian roots, and the importance of acquiring the necessary technical knowledge.

In October 2009, the United Steelworkers announced an agreement with Mondragon to create worker cooperatives in the United States.[4]

Bendable Business

Cooperatives less likely to break in economic crises

On October 27, 2009 the United Steelworkers announced a framework agreement with Mondragon to develop unionized worker cooperatives in the manufacturing sector in the US. Under the agreement, both parties have pledged to develop a model that combines the collective bargaining system with the “one worker, one vote” hallmark of cooperatives. While it will not be the first time worker cooperatives have looked to unionization, the scale and formal partnership of the Mondragon-Steelworkers proposal is without precedent and could signal a way for cooperatives and unions to work collaboratively in weathering economic storms.

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