Workers fight closing of their factory by buying it

The videos above and below tell the story of how workers at Chicago Window and Door fought the closing of their factory by buying it, and starting a new business, the New Era Windows Cooperative.

I wish them good success, because such enterprises have to face a lot of skepticism and a lot of opposition.  People in the Mitt Romney class—the holders of financial assets—want us to believe that we need them to be job creators.  Their power is threatened if workers can be their own job creators.

What the New Era workers have going for them is that the enterprise can draw on the initiative and knowledge of all of them, versus the standard business enterprise in which you have a few decision-makers and the rest supposedly just following orders (although in fact no organization could function if employees did no more than follow orders)


Click on New Era Windows Cooperative for the New Era home page.

One big problem that worker-owned businesses have is financing.  They can’t sell stock, except to each other, and most lenders have no experience with or interest in such businesses.  New Era got help from The Working World, a non-profit micro-credit organization, which provides small loans to worker cooperatives.  Click on The Working World for Working World’s home page.

The employees of Chicago Window and Door were members of the United Electrical Workers, a union noted for militancy and rank-and-file democracy.  The support of the UE surely must have helped.  Click on United Electrical Workers for the UE’s home page.

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