YES! Magazine: Mondragón Worker-Cooperatives Decide How to Ride Out a Downturn

September 3, 2009

by Georgia Kelly, Shaula Massen

Here’s how it played out when one of the Mondragón cooperatives fell on hard times. The worker/owners and the managers met to review their options. After three days of meetings, the worker/owners agreed that 20 percent of the workforce would leave their jobs for a year, during which they would continue to receive 80 percent of their pay and, if they wished, free training for other work. This group would be chosen by lottery, and if the company was still in trouble a year later, the first group would return to work and a second would take a year off.

The result? The solution worked and the company thrives to this day.

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