“The Heinz Endowments awarded $250,000 to the Pittsburgh Steel Valley Authority (SVA) to manage a project development team to build a new green industrial laundry cooperative in the Pittsburgh central district. The goal of the project is to re-employ 100 primarily minority laundry workers who are being dislocated by the Sodexho Corporation. The SVA will be working with a large consortium—the city, county, the laundry workers’ unions (SEIU, Operating Engineers, Teamsters), the Allegheny Conference, the large, Spanish workers cooperative corporation – Mondragon, the Ohio Employee Ownership Center, UPMC, the Hill District KIZ, and other urban community leaders.–to help develop the project.
The idea of cooperative companies as competitive instruments of worker-friendly capitalism has become very popular these days; the Cleveland Foundation’s Evergreen Cooperative platform has spawned a couple of other successful businesses, including a profitable cooperative laundry, employing Mondragon industrial cooperative “one worker, one vote” principles.”
“Primary project goals include:
- Create job opportunities for historically disadvantaged individuals and provide for an opportunity to create family wealth through business ownership & equity
- Establish a sustainable, market-competitive, green laundry in a disadvantaged Pittsburgh neighborhood to support the regional healthcare and hospitality industry
- Build a hybrid co-op/union enterprise as a model for existing and new regional businesses, with help from community partners
- Reduce the environmental impact of regional laundry services by creating a fully competitive green enterprise.”