Workshop on Worker Cooperatives in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Coop Workshop

On 5 June, 2019, David Burin (member of the Community Economies Research Network and of INCLUIR, Argentina) and Alejandra Pagotto (Universidad de Buenos Aires and INCLUIR, Argentina) coordinated a small workshop on “Problems and solutions in cooperatives of workers”.

Participants voiced challenges they face when organizing work in a cooperative, with the most frequent challenge being that of shared responsibility, which participants described as very different than the employer/employee logic.

Several cooperatives also discussed the associated challenge of creating and continuously discussing and refining the by-laws as a tool to uncover and reflect these different logics, but also how these by-laws could provide creative solutions.

Participants shared the ways they had written their by-laws, and changed them over time, explaining the reasons behind these transformations.

The workshop coordinators shared information on the ways cooperatives of workers distribute surplus, make decisions, and regulate daily work. This information has been documented for several years by a collaborative research team in which the coordinators participate.

The workshop concluded with a session in which the concepts of work, transactions and property were opened up for discussion.

The workshop was attended by 20 participants from several cooperatives in Buenos Aires, including “La Cuña”, “Riachuelo”, “La Usina de Ideas”, “Radio Gráfica”, “FM En Tránsito”, “Cambá” and “Projecto WOW” (communication and media cooperatives), “Ático” (psychoanalysts cooperative), “El bar de la Casona de Humahuaca” (a coffee shop), “La Litoraleña” (food factory), “Escuela Guido Spano” (a school), amongst others. A few workshop participants were university students, interested in forming new cooperatives.

The Workshop was organized by the Federation of Cooperatives of Workers in Buenos Aires (FEDECABA) in collaboration with three other solidarity-cooperative organizations (IDELCOOP, Instituto Universitario Cooperativo, and INCLUIR).