"Countering the Crisis by Converting Troubled Firms into Worker Cooperatives", seminar, Trento (Italie), 25 oct

The empresa recuperada, or the worker-recuperated enterprise are formerly investor-owned businesses in trouble or that closed and that are subsequently taken over or bought out by employees and converted to worker coops. Given the re-emergence of these worker-led takeovers, buy-outs, and conversions in recent years in regions and countries particularly hard-hit by macro-economic crises and market failure (such as Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Italy, France, and Spain, to name only a few), and given how communities gain from the presence of worker cooperatives, it behooves researchers, cooperative federations, unions, and policy makers at all levels to better understand the recuperadas phenomenon.

This seminar draws on contemporary research and case studies of empresas recuperadas from Latin America and Europe in order to highlight how conversions of troubled businesses into worker cooperatives or other forms of labour-managed firms are helping safeguard communities from crises and socio-economic depletion. It explores how these conversions unfold, the challenges faced by workers transitioning from being employees to self-managed coop members, what policies help or hinder these conversions, and the positive impact of empresas recuperadas for communities. The seminar also hones in on how social scientists in Europe and the Americas are beginning to engage in new, interdisciplinary research into this phenomenon in order to understand better the organizational specifics of these firms, their processes of emergence, and to encourage policies that could promote more workplace conversions as an antidote to economic crises and business closures.

With the participation of:

Alberto Zevi is one of Italy’s experts in the financing of cooperatives and adjunct professor at Universita degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza.”

Speach title: Converting troubled firms into worker cooperatives in Italy: Financial strategies and policy implications [to be confirmed]

Elvira Corona, feelance journalist, she writes for italian and Latin American online journals (Unimondo.org e Alainet.org). She is the author of the book: Lavorare senza padroni – viaggio nelle imprese recuperate d'Argentina.

Speach title: The cooperative model and self-management as a responce to the crises

George Cheney is Professor of Communication Studies and Coordinator of Doctoral Education in Communication and Information at Kent State University, Ohio, USA. His research interests include identity and power in organizations, workplace democracy and workers’ rights, quality of worklife, professional ethics, the transformation of the citizen to the consumer, alternatives to market globalization, dissent at work and in politics, and the rhetoric of war and peace.

Speach title: Lessons from Mondragon and elsewhere for worker cooperative development in the midst of economic crisis: Understanding and capitalizing on openings toward sustainable and just economic development

Virginie Pérotin is Professor of Economics and Director of Research for Economics at the Leeds University Business School (UK). She specialises in comparative empirical research on the effects of firm ownership and governance on performance. She is currently engaged in a research project comparing workers’ cooperatives in Italy, Mondragon (Spain) and France with colleagues from Mondragon, France and Italy and funding from the Spanish Basque government.

Speach title: Worker cooperatives and the community: Implications of international research findings”

Dr Marcelo Vieta is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Euricse in Trento, Italy. Dr. Vieta researches and publishes on the historical conditons, the political economic environments, and the lived experiences of the worker-recuperated enterprises of Argentina, the conversion of investor-owned workplaces to worker cooperatives around the world, as well as the social and solidarity economies of Latin America.

Speach title: Beyond saving jobs, moving beyond crisis: Comparing Argentina’s empresas recuperadas to other cases of workplace conversions around the world

October 25, 2012 at 2.30 P.M. at Faculty of Economy, Via Rosmini - Trento