Using a sample of production workers from union, nonunion, producer cooperative, and employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) wood products mills in the Northwest, we test the general proposition that work alienation, defined as low job autonomy, low use of capacities, and lack of participation in decision-making in the workplace, is associated with heavy drinking and negative consequences from drinking.
The concept of workplace democracy has long been vitally important to theorists and activists of the democratic Left. The author here tests some of the claims made for this system, asking: Do such alternative forms of work organization really decrease workers’ sense of alienation? Does participation in a democratic, cooperatively run business encourage political participation? Does such a workplace foster class consciousness as a strategy for superseding capitalism?