Cooperatives See Revival Amid Growing Demand for Economic Democracy

The chain of command at PV Squared, a solar panel installation company in Massachusetts’s Pioneer Valley, is admittedly convoluted. 

“Technically, I’m Kim’s boss,” says general manager Jonathan Gregory of bookkeeper Kim Pinkham. But “Kim’s on the board, and the board oversees my position, so technically she’s my boss.”

As members of a worker-owned cooperative, the 40-plus employees elect their own board of directors and make decisions based not on majority rule, but by consensus. When they’re not holding the microphone, members at meetings express themselves with hand signals: a flat palm for a question or statement, a raised index finger for direct response, and a hand cupped in a “C” for a clarification. 

Workplace democracy “challenges us as humans and as colleagues to think about what is the ultimate level of respect and mutual benefit,” Mr. Gregory says.

Read the rest at The Christian Science Monitor

 

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