hierarchy, all non‐management worker‐owners belong to the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union (HERE). Rosario believes COLORS will benefit all restaurant workers—not only by providing a successful model of "high road" business practices, but by actively advocating for workers in restaurant owners' association meetings. COLORS also extends its values down the supply chain by supporting fair trade, sustainable agriculture, and local producers. The venture is also revitalizing an old labor organizing strategy of developing democratic worker cooperatives. The first union in the United States, Knights of Labor, wanted "to establish cooperative institutions such as will tend to supersede the wage‐system, by the introduction of a cooperative industrial system." Perhaps, in addition to challenging an industry, COLORS is modeling a "new" organizing strategy for the 21st‐century U.S. labor movement. John Lawrence is a psychology professor at The College of Staten Island, City University of New York, and a member of the GEO collective. Learn more at colors‐nyc.com and rocny.org.
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Published on Jun 22, 2011