In North Carolina, Co-Ops Are Building A More Democratic Economy

Nestled at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains in western North Carolina, Morganton may seem like an unlikely place to find a large Mayan community. But since the 1980s, the Burke County city of almost 17,000 people, over 75 percent of them white and 12 percent black, is home to a growing Latino community, including Mayan immigrants from Guatemala. Like other immigrants before them, the Maya came to Morganton in search of economic opportunity. Many found work at the local Case Farms chicken processing plant but grew dissatisfied over low wages, poor working conditions, and unsuccessful labor organizing efforts. Searching for a better way to make a living, some have found it in cooperative economics.
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