What happens when a corporation decides to file bankruptcy and shut its doors?
Imagine showing up to work and being greeted by padlocked doors and a note that basically read, “Sorry you no longer have a job. We have closed. Bye Bye!” Well, that is exactly what happened when 400 workers showed up to work on August 11, 2014 at the RR.Donnelley printing plant located just outside Buenos Aries, except their note actually read, “We profoundly regret to inform you that, confronted by an insurmountable crisis and having considered all the viable alternatives, we are closing our operations in Argentina…”
I’m not sure the person who wrote the note with “bye-bye” in the closing, imagined how it would feel to any one of the workers that showed up to work only to find they no longer had a job. The company blames the plant closing on the country’s failing economy. All this comes at a time when the unemployment rate in Argentina is at about 11%.
That didn’t sit well with the workers!
As you can imagine, the news didn’t sit well with some of the newly laid off workers. In fact, some of the workers decided to protest the plants closing by demonstrating, burning tires and beating drums. Union leaders immediately took action and began looking for a practical solution and alternative to closing shop.
Fast forward to this past Monday, October 6, 2014- according to this article in the Buenos Aires Herald “Judge Gerado Santicchia has disregarded the bankruptcy plea of printing company Donnelley Argentina, ruling that workers could keep running the business as part of the MadyGraf Co-operative formed after the company closed down the Garín plant in Buenos Aires province.”
Judge Santicchia’s ruling also stipulated that certain requirements needed to be met by the newly formed workers cooperative including:
- Paying a fee for receiving the business, as well as complying with all essential requisites related to operations.
- Purchasing and having proof of insurance against fire and other property damage, as well as covering employees against workplace accidents.
- Meet all tax requirements and maintain up to date permits to operate in the sector just as any other business would.
As you can imagine we are excited with the news! This not only is a huge win for workers in Argentina but also an example of what happens when workers unite around a common cause.
To better understand why this is a huge victory for the workers with The MadyGraf Co-operative, check out the documentary embedded below. The Take was directed by Avi Lewis and written by Naomi Klein and tells the story of the collapse of Argentina’s economy and how waves of workers, who decided to take matters into their own hands, created jobs to help their country’s failing economic system.