Stronger Together? The USW-Mondragon Union Co-op Model - CLEO Skip to main content


In 2009, United Steelworkers (USW) and Mondragon signed an agreement to promote union co-ops: firms that combine democratic worker ownership and union membership. Eleven U.S. initiatives now seek to implement the USW-Mondragon union co-op model, prompting a debate about whether unions and worker cooperatives are stronger together. This article draws on a case study of the first such initiative in Cincinnati, Ohio, to put claims about the model in dialogue with aspirations and experiences of people on the ground. I synthesize six possibilities and dilemmas of union involvement in worker cooperative formation and argue that these considerations should structure the future debate.