What is the Movimiento Solidarista Costarricense?
It is a non-profit institution of promotion, assistance, advise, training, and counsel of Asociaciones Solidaristas.
It has no political, partisan, religious or ideological commitments, but encourages the Solidaristas to support with its participation the Costa Rican democracy.
About the Costa Rican Solidarity Movement
The Costa Rican Solidarity Movement (Movimiento Solidarista Costarricense – in Spanish) is a non-profit civil organization that groups the Solidarity Associations of the country in order to promote union, promotion, strengthening and development of the sector. It facilitates service provision to the affiliates, according to their needs.
It is the organization that represents and defends the interests of the solidarity sector. It actively participates as the mediator between the government and any other instance, by presenting its position of topics related to solidarity and its environment.
What is a Solidarity Association?
According to the Law No. 6970 “Ley de Asociaciones Solidaristas” (Law for Solidarity Associations), these bodies are defined as social organizations managed by the workers themselves in a totally autonomous way.
Solidarity associations are inspired on a human attitude, through which men identify and recognize the needs and aspirations of others, thus committing themselves to the contribution of resources and efforts to satisfy those needs and aspirations fairly and peacefully. The governance and administration of these associations are exclusive competence of the workers that are affiliated to them. Their main objectives are to foster social justice and peace, to reach employer-employee harmony and to integrally develop its associates.
In sum, the solidarity association represents and wellbeing, economic safety and integral development of its members and their families, a guarantee for the company in terms of having a working environment that promotes harmonious relationships with the workers, that would result in improved production. On the other hand, it represents an increase in national savings and production at the national level.
The solidarity association should be constituted by at least twelve workers of age, appointed according to a set of articles of incorporation and bylaws. A Board of Directors and a Fiscal direct it. Its economic resources come from a percentage of the savings from the salary of its members –the amount is set by the general assembly, and could not be greater than 5%– however, the members can add voluntary savings. In addition, the employer contributes with a percentage that is equal to the fund for dismissals, which is under the custody and administration of the association as a reserve for loans.
What is the inspiration of Solidarismo?
Solidarismo recognizes two main factors integrating a company: management and labor, which are independent.
Management supplies vision, finds resources, assumes the risk.
Labor supplies work, knowledge, creativity, enthusiasm, loyalty, initiative, and ability; so both can together achieve production and create wealth: this is a solidarist relationship.
The company must be productive and efficient; to achieve this, it needs harmony, cooperation, and understanding. It is necessary to create a climate that favors production in order to give each of the individuals conforming the organization the opportunity of satisfying his or her needs and aspirations, which not always are fulfilled just by a salary.
Solidarismo contributes to solve the conflict!
Solidarismo in Costa Rica
In the Western Hemisphere, less than two thousand miles from the United States, in Central America is Costa Rica.
Costa Rica, a small country (52,000 square kilometers) with a population of over 4,000,000 persons; without any armed forces, deeply democratic; lover of work and peace, has found an answer to two important questions:
- Is there any course of action able to contribute to social peace?
- Is it possible to achieve harmony and good relations between workers and management?
Justice, progress for everybody and consolidation of our democracy is the solution set forth by Solidarismo.
For over fifty years, Costa Rica has found in Solidarismo a system that encourages productivity, fosters a more democratic distribution of capital and provides satisfaction to the aspirations and needs of management aind workers.
Today, more than two thousand companies have set their labor relations within the framework of Solidarista associations. More than 250,000 workers (representing 20% of the working population) and their families benefit from solutions and programs that contribute to their Economic progress, Integral Development and Personal Improvement.
How do the Associations work?
They are organizations of workers; democratically directed and managed by the workers, legally registered, of voluntary affiliation and retirement.
The affiliated workers commit himself or herself to save a salary percentage that oscillates between 3% and 5%.
The company contributes a similar percentage to be credited to each worker’s account, towards their severance payment. These funds are managed by a Board of Directors, elected by workers and are used to provide loans to attend to the needs of the workers; freeing them from usury in case of healthcare or burial expenses, education, housing, household improvement, vacations and other personal expenses.
The associations invest part of their resources in services such as grocery stores, dental and medical services, transportation, company cafeterias, stores, recreation centers. These services always have lower prices than can be obtained in the open market.
All the associations channel their resources towards different investment opportunities such as certificates of deposit, shares of stock of the company they work for, of other companies or to create new concerns, allowing for a more democratic distribution of the ownership of the means of production.
Many Costa Rican companies have achieved joint-management through the participation of their workers as stockholders through the adoption of Solidarismo.
The profits of the Association, called surplus are distributed yearly to each worker, proportionally to his or her accumulative savings.
The Solidarist Associations promote the complete development of the workers through sports, recreation, cultural and educational activities. The family of the worker participates in these programs, fostering family integration and highlighting its importance as the fundamental building block our society.
The company has in the Solidarist Association an instrument of dialogue and coordination, that can be used for consultation of its programs, basing its Labor Relations in Solidarity, Dignity and Cooperation.
The Association established in this way, generates human solidarity, understanding, social justice, peace and progress.
The organizations where Solidarismo operates are the most prosperous, with greatest work spirit and less personnel turnover.
Already, we can observe in Costa Rica a new attitude towards an economic and social change, based in Solidarismo. Towards a deep transformation of our country without violence and without the loss of one’s freedom.
For all these reasons, Solidarismo is a just solution for everybody.