Worker Owned Cooperatives
facilitated by Mark Libkuman
This was a free-ranging conversation, but the topics discussed were:
Power and structure
- Acknowledging power, and the tyranny of structurelessness.
- Balance of informality with respect and structure
- There's no boss versus we're all the boss. Accountability practices to keep from taking too many liberties when there's no boss.
- Creating a structure that everyone can agree on.
- Challenges of diversity of roles; decoupling power structure from income.
- Having formalized community agreements/rules of operation.
Operations and self-care
- Running a the coop like professional services firm rather than reinventing the wheel, learning from the partnership model.
- Selling labor: selling hours leads to internalizing market dynamics
- Making work fun?directing the companies strategies toward what the workers find interesting.
- Caring about the worker as a whole person, their health, their family (however defined).
- One approach: Straight hourly wages; each worker gets paid the same wage, but more or less depending on total hours worked; patronage is distributed according to hours worked.
- Another approach: Flat monthly paycheck.
- Pay structure can reinforce power dynamics.
- Patronage/profit-sharing: how to deal with it.
- Questions about tracking time internally, both billable and non-billable.