Come Together Now


Unions and co-operatives have a long and bumpy history, despite their common commitment to community action and mutual aid. Yet the record of the health care sector shows how co-ops can be vehicles of citizen empowerment, social justice, and exemplary service, sustaining Medicare, not degrading it. The need for unionists and co-operators to collaborate in health service delivery is great, like the opportunity.

"Why should unions pay attention to the co-operative option? ...

"First, new thinking is needed to deal with the erosion of public health care in Canada. The trend towards privatization is strong. The corporate sector is eager to market its for-profit services. The commodification of health care and social programs is a threat to health care employees, both as workers and as citizens.

"Second, working people face the continuous challenge of exercising some real power over their lives. Ordinary citizens have very little say in how their local health care programs are shaped or delivered....

"And there is a third reason: Opportunity. At present, considerable resources are available to help in the development of health care co-ops.... Canadians have a track record with different co-operative models, as workers and health care consumers. The mantra of globalization has helped give rise to the opposite message: local services, in local hands."

Building Union Support for Community Health Care Co-operatives
Pollak, Nancy
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