The goal of Los Angeles Union Cooperative Initiative (LUCI) is to create social and economic justice and worker dignity through the creation of good, sustainable jobs in viable businesses that are accountable to both its workers and their communities.
What is LUCI :: Los Angeles Union Cooperative Initiative
Los Angeles Union Cooperative Initiative (LUCI) is a worker cooperative incubator and developer based out of Los Angeles. Our primary goal is to help facilitate the development of a new worker owned economy in Los Angeles through business development, conversion of existing businesses, incubation of start-ups, outreach, education, grant writing, research, networking, legislation, lobbying, training and counseling for worker self-directed enterprise development.
In July 2015, a number of workers from unions, especially United States Steel Workers Local 675 and American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, community groups and local businesses met to form an entity that would create a model to incubate unionized worker/owner cooperative businesses that would result in local manufacturing and service entities. Utilizing the Mondragon USA, United Steel Workers, Cincinnati Union Coop Initiative, U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, the Union Coop Council of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives and One Worker, One Vote, LUCI explored options. When a local unionized car wash was abandoned by its owner, the workers decided to take control of the abandoned car wash and form a unionized worker owner cooperative. LUCI and the U.S. Steel Workers became supporters to give the new cooperative owners legal guidance and training in management. A member of LUCI became temporary owner of the car wash while the workers were filing their official paperwork and applying for proper permits and licenses. LUCI received a donation from the Steel Workers that permitted operating expenses. When all was in order, ownership was transferred to the unionized worker owners.
LUCI is exploring and creating models to bring in other businesses – either start-ups, conversions, or business development – to become unionized worker cooperatives. LUCI is also exploring avenues of investor financing, either from or for the actual worker owners. All cooperatives will be based on one worker, one share, one vote model. Investors would not automatically be worker owners. The worker owners would decide how to divvy their return of profits.