Uncharted waters

Well, it’s official. All our union cards have been signed and sent off. We are officially union members.

However, our formal relationship with the union has yet to be defined. That’s because we don’t have a Collective Bargaining Agreement, better known simply as a “contract.” And there’s a good reason for that. There are vanishingly few unionized worker co-ops, so there aren’t a lot of models to follow. The good folks at UFCW 1473 have tracked down a couple, and gotten us a sample CBA to read. It looks quite sensible, but it comes from a significantly larger co-op. That means it adheres pretty closely to the Mondragon/Steelworkers version of a unionized worker co-op, which assumes quite a large membership. After all, both Mondragon and the Steelworkers and Mondragon have very large memberships. We, on the other hand, currently have a grand total of five worker-members.

So, we’re in uncharted waters. That’s OK. When we started, there wasn’t a successful example of an interpreters’ co-op to follow, but we went ahead. The union aspect is a new dimension, but there’s a remarkable amount of both enthusiasm and patience on both sides, as we slowly but steadily combine into one side.