The Hotel Bauen is a recuperated business in Buenos Aires run collectively by its workers, serving both as a hotel and as a free meeting place for Argentine leftist and workers' groups. It is also used as a personal residence by some of the worker-owners.
Constructed in 1978, the four-star establishment received generous government subsidies in anticipation of the 1978 FIFA World Cup; however tourism in Argentina was soon sunk by the military dictatorship's Dirty War and economic troubles which eventually led to the crisis of the 1990s and early 2000s. In the wake of the December riots and after systematic firings, the Hotel Bauen was closed on December 28, 2001.
In March 2003, with the help of the Movimiento Nacional de Empresas Recuperadas (MNER), the hotel's former employees occupied the building. While fighting for ownership through activism and negotiation, they began repairs to the building and slowly re-opened business. Since then, the Bauen cooperative has gained 150 workers, inaugurated a streetfront café (whose tile floors come from FaSinPat, a worker-controlled ceramics factory) and equipped more than 200 hotel rooms. Today the Hotel Bauen boasts rising profits, and is a center of cultural and political activity in Buenos Aires.
However, the long term legality of the worker's ownership and operation is ambiguous. On October 21 2005 the hotel was informed that, while a legal right of former employees to keep residence in the hotel was recognized, they were not permitted to function as a business. Upon delivery of this notice, entrances were closed off with official tape, but this tape was quickly removed by hotel workers, and business operations continue today .
In May 2006, Judge Carla Cavaliere officially approved the suspension of the closure order. Workers can now move freely and legally in and out of the hotel. What remains to be determined is who is to be considered the official owner of the hotel. A bill of expropriation, the "Ley Nacional de Expropiación", which would definitively entitle the Bauen workers to ownership of the hotel, has already been drafted and is being considered at the municipal and federal levels. The bill is being opposed by the original owners, led by Marcelo Iurcovich, and supported by the Bauen cooperative, who are circulating a petition in support of the bill.
See also Edit
- Hotel B.A.U.E.N Cooperativa de trabajo (cooperative website)
- Frustrated Argentines take business into own hands, Christian Science Monitor, 2003
- BAUEN Hotel: Struggle, culture and work Zmag, 2005
- D.I.Y. Argentina CampusProgress.org, 2005
- Argentina’s Worker-Run Hotel Bauen
- Hotel BAUEN: Workers without bosses face eviction Zmag, 2007
- Bauen Suite Hotel (commercial website, not related to the recovered hotel B.A.U.E.N.)