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The basis of Mondragon Corporation, a large federation of worker cooperatives, was laid by the Catholic priest José María Arizmendiarrieta. In the 1940s, he founded a small technical college and a workshop producing paraffin heaters in Mondragon, Spain.


In the following decades, dozens of new cooperative enterprises were founded under the Mondragon umbrella, based on a set of 10 principles that include democratic organization, open admission, participatory management, payment solidarity and the sovereignty of labor. At Mondragon cooperatives, the highest paid workers only make 3 to 9 times as much as the theoretical minimum wage (the average is 5 times as much). In reality, the wage differences are smaller, as in most cooperatives the lowest paid workers earn more than the minimum wage. The companies are owned by the workers.


Since 1990, with the opening of the first plant in Mexico, Mondragon is also expanding internationally. Cooperatives belonging to the Mondragon group now operate on 6 continents.


Today, the Mondragon cooperatives are operating in 4 areas (finance, industry, retail and knowledge) with a total revenue of 14.7 billion euro and over 83,000 workers in 2010. It is now one of the biggest cooperative federations worldwide.


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Type of initiative Company, Other (specify): Federation of co-operatives
Field of work Manufacturing, Trade, Financial services, Education, Knowledge and information, Healthcare, Other (specify): Retail
Date of commencement 1956
Founder(s) José María Arizmendiarrieta
Legal form
Continent Europe
Country Spain
City Mondragon
One or several keywords that describe your initiative cooperation, worker cooperative federation, worker ownership, participatory management
Publications Annual Reports
George Cheney, “Values at work: employee participation meets market pressure at Mondragon” (Ithaca: ILR/Cornell UP, 2002)
William Whyte, “Making Mondragon: the growth and dynamics of the worker cooperation complex” (Ithaca: ILR/Cornell UP, 1991)
More information

Contact person(s)


Contact information

Name Mondragon Corporate Center
Address P. José María Arizmendiarrieta 5
Zip/postal code 20500
Place Mondragon
State/province Gipuzkoa
Country Spain
Phone +34 943 779 300



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