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Crossing the Line

Unionized Employee Ownership and Investment Funds

by Jack Quarter

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list price: $29.95
also available: Paperback eBook
published: 1995
imprint: Lorimer

The line that divides management and labour is being crossed regularly in Canada, as workers become owners of the companies that employ them. This is the first book to examine this phenomenon.

Workers own a variety of enterprises small and large, often taking on an ownership role when their companies are in financial difficulty. Unions frequently provide the structure for workers to negotiate their ownership claims, but unions are ambivalent about these buyouts. Nevertheless, union-based and government-subsidized investment funds have rapidly growing resources to finance these takeovers.

Crossing the Line is a groundbreaking look at the controversial phenomenon of employee ownership.

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Editorial Reviews

"So what happens to capitalist enterprises when workers 'cross the line' and become owners? Jack Quarter's book...addressed this question through case studies of worker buyouts, employee ownership plans and labour investment funds in Canada... Crossing the Line should be of great interest to trade unionists and those who reflect on issues of job loss facing workers (and organized labour) today. Jack Quarter's case studies provide both inspiring and sobering local insights into the challenges facing those who espouse worker ownership as a way of contesting economic inequality and community degradation, or achieving workplace democratization. We recommend the book to anyone interested in understanding the current range of worker ownership schemes in Canada."

— Economic and Industrial Democracy

"...the author has succeeded in providing an interesting and valuable picture of these different new initiatives by labour and the dilemma they pose to workers. He has thus shown how crossing the line between capital and labour has created powerful new contradictions in the ongoing restructuring of the capitalist mode of production."

— Labour/Le Travail

"... a very thorough and thoughtful book... a very useful contribution to our knowledge... a phenomenon that does seem destined to become increasingly common in the Canadian landscape."

— Industrial Relations
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About the Author

Jack Quarter

JACK QUARTER is a professor, specialising in the study of co-operatives and other forms of social enterprise, at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in Toronto. He is the editor of How to Start a Worker Co-op and co-editor (with George Melnyk) of Partners in Enterprise: The Worker Ownership Phenomenon.
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