‘Clean and Green’ Industrial Laundry Comes to Pittsburgh as a Worker Cooperative

By CUNY CED

Pittsburgh, PA is the home of a new worker cooperative, the ‘Clean and Green Laundry.’  The industrial-scale cleaning firm was brought into being by a joint effort of the United Steel Workers and the City University of New York School of Law’s Community Economic Development (CED) Clinic, both of whom are in a new partnership with the Mondragon Cooperatives, the largest worker-owned cooperative in the world, located in Spain.

Under the new partnership, the CED Clinic, in collaboration with Pennsylvania-based Regional Housing Legal Services, will help launch the job-creating effort, an eco-friendly laundry based on Mondragon’s cooperative model.

Pittsburgh Clean & Green aims to re-employ 100 primarily minority laundry workers, who were laid off when their Sodexho Corporation laundry closed. They will work in a new state-of-the-art facility in Pittsburgh’s Central District.

 

Photo: Industrial laundry similar to ‘Clean & Green’

CUNY’s CED Clinic will provide legal support for a new model of unionized worker cooperatives—called “union coops”—recently launched by Mondragon, the United Steelworkers union (USW), and the Ohio Employment Ownership Center (OEOC).

“Union coops can create well-paying, democratically run workplaces in communities hard hit by the economic recession,” explains Carmen Huertas-Noble, associate professor and director of the CED Clinic. “The union component of the model provides front line worker-owners with the security of a collective bargaining agreement and leverages the organizational expertise and economic power of the labor movement.”

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