Union Co-Ops and the Revival of Labor Law

113 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2018 Last revised: 27 Sep 2018

See all articles by Ariana R. Levinson

Ariana R. Levinson

University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law

Date Written: March 16, 2018


Union worker-owned cooperatives (union co-ops) offer a means to combat growing income and wealth inequality, create jobs, and recirculate money in the communities in which they are located. This article contributes to the academic literature about cooperative economics, worker ownership, and labor relations in two distinct ways. First, it relies on original author-collected data from interviews of those involved in establishing Our Harvest, an urban farm in Cincinnati, to discuss the issues involved in establishing a union co-op. Our Harvest was the first union co-op created because of a 2009 partnership to foster union co-ops in the United States. Second, the article addresses the labor law issues involved in establishing a union co-op. The issues include whether worker-owners are covered by the National Labor Relations Act, whether a co-op is required to bargain about worker ownership with the union representing its employees, whether a union co-op can require its employees to join a union, and how union co-ops can use interest-based collective bargaining. The article suggests ways that unions can legally support and finance union co-ops, provides an appendix of legal services, and includes tables to simply complex legal issues. At its best, the article will contribute to the scaling up of union co-ops and a concurrent revival of labor law that enables a more equitable economy for all.

Keywords: cooperatives, unions, labor law, dispute resolution, worker-owned co-op

Suggested Citation

Levinson, Ariana R., Union Co-Ops and the Revival of Labor Law (March 16, 2018). 19 Cardozo J. Conflict Resol. (2018), University of Louisville School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series No. 2018-9, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3141974

Ariana R. Levinson (Contact Author)

University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law ( email )

Wilson W. Wyatt Hall
Louisville, KY 40292
United States

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