Recouping Dignity: Argentina’s Worker-Owned EnterprisesListen to this segment | the entire program
Workers throughout Argentina are organizing in support of a national expropriation law – even as some of the country’s best-known worker-run enterprises face legal limbo and eviction. The high rise BAUEN Hotel in the heart of Buenos Aires City, which has been under worker control for the past four years, was issued a 30-day eviction by a federal court in July, which the hotel’s 154 workers have so far been successful in fighting. Behind them are the 10, 000 or so workers who labor at one of the nearly 200 worker-owned businesses in Argentina. The BAUEN Hotel has become a symbol of change and resistance. After being built in 1978 under Argentina’s bloody military dictatorship – in which some 30,000 people were disappeared – BAUEN’s original owner, Marcelo Iurovich never made good on bringing the site up to code, and failed to pay back millions of dollars in state loans. The boss fired the remaining 80 workers in the middle of Argentina’s economic crisis in December 2001, but workers organized to recuperate the hotel, their jobs, and their dignity in 2003. Today, they face legal uncertainty, just like many of the other recuperated businesses in which workers took their future in their own hands and continued to produce products and services with a boss.