When workers at Augie’s Coffee demanded recognition of their union last summer, their bosses responded by shutting down all five coffee shops, effectively firing 54 workers. Taking to heart the old Industrial Workers of the World slogan, “The boss needs you, you don't need him,” the workers have now formed a worker co-operative, Slow Bloom Coffee.
Every election, politicians promise jobs. Regardless of who wins, good jobs keep getting scarcer in most UE communities. Is there anything else that working people can do to create — and more importantly, keep — good jobs in our communities?
In 1983, UE members on strike at a copy shop in Amherst, Massachusetts took control of their workplace after the owners shut down rather than meet their demands: They started their own worker-owned-and-operated co-op, Collective Copies (Local 274). It is now one of the largest and most successful copy shops in Western Massachusetts, paying good union wages with comprehensive benefits.
The worker-owners of New Era Windows Cooperative, who are members of UE Local 1110 and some of the former employees of Republic Windows and Doors, will hold a grand opening and press conference on Thursday, May 9. The event will take place at 3:15 at the site of the new plant, 2600 West 35th Street in Chicago.
Elected officials, supporters, customers and remodeling contractors will join New Era Window Cooperative worker/owners in celebrating the launch of the new cooperative, a unionized, 100 percent worker-owned and operated business.
At Common Wealth Printing and Collective Copies UE Members Work Without Bosses ... and love it.
Working without bosses, UE members at two shops in western Massachusetts have only themselves to blame — and reward.
Collective Copies in Amherst and Common Wealth Printing in Hadley are both worker-owned enterprises. And the worker-owners of both businesses proudly pay dues to amalgamated UE Local 264, based in Holyoke.