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Baltimore’s Co-Ops Show There’s Another Way To Work

Baltimore has become what many consider to be ground zero in the emerging “solidarity economy” and the formation of worker-owned, cooperatively run businesses. There’s something important going on here, and there’s a lot that we can all learn from our fellow workers who are in the cooperative space—people who are living, breathing proof that there’s another way to run a business, that there’s another way to run our economy, and that there are other ways we can treat work and workers.

At a recent event hosted by the Baltimore Museum of Industry titled “Work Matters: Building a Worker-Owned Co-op,” Max moderated a panel including workers and representatives from Common Ground Bakery Café, Taharka Bros Ice Cream, A Few Cool Hardware Stores, and the Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy (BRED). He talked to them about how they came to work at these different co-ops, how their businesses transitioned to more cooperative models, and they dig into the nitty gritty of what working at a co-op looks like, what it takes for workers to democratically run a business, and the real challenges, limitations, and rewards that come with this kind of work.

Panelists include:
Vince Green (Taharka Bros Ice Cream)
David Evans (A Few Cool Hardware Stores)
Craig Smith (A Few Cool Hardware Stores)
Sierra Allen (Common Ground Bakery Café)
Christa Daring (BRED)

Additional links/info
Baltimore Museum of Industry website, Facebook page, and Instagram
Jaisal Noor, The Real News Network, “Worker Co-ops vs. COVID
Jaisal Noor, The Real News Network, “Taharka Bros: Ice Cream with a Side of Worker Ownership
Working People, “Your Job Doesn’t Have to Suck (w/ Jaisal Noor)
Lisa Elaine Held, The Washington Post, “Amid Food-Industry Upheaval, Baltimore Businesses Are Handing Workers the Keys
Rebekah Kirkman, The Real News Network, “After Beloved Baltimore Coffee Shop Abruptly Closed, Workers Reopen as Co-op

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