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BAUEN, day 77

The judge, in this part of the judgment, made two different interpretations. She accepted as valid and satisfactory the “offer” of the “Morando Law” that proposed that Mercoteles employ the cooperative workers, among other theoretical concessions (like the recognition of the costs of repairs made to the building by the cooperative up to an obviously insufficient amount of AR$150,000). Along the same lines, she confirmed that Mercoteles S.A. made a formal offer “…to contribute to the solution of the conflict created as a result of the bankruptcy of the firm Solari S.A. with the former workers of the same and other personnel currently incorporated and gathered under the orders of the Cooperative Buenos Aires Una Empresa Nacional Limitada…” highlighting its “…entreprenuerial will to structure a positive way out of the same, on the basis of proposals that are assumed as obligations….”

In other words, Mercoteles reaffirmed that it was prepared to renew the proposal already made in the “Morando Law” (indirectly recognizing, in passing, its authorship, or at least participation in the own formulation of the law). But, the judge added to this that carrying out and accepting this kind of negotiations is one of the objectives of the recovered businesses, in accordance with the particular conception that she took to define this complex social and economic process.

Synthesizing and simplifying: the bosses offer to negotiate, and the recovered business is made to negotiate with them. All that was left was vacate the hotel. Logically, that is what follows from the conclusion of the judgment: “It is fitting, then, in light of the above and with the scope which arises from the present, to dispose the restitution of the property sited at Av. Callao 346/60, where the Hotel Bauen works, to its owner of record.” Of course, having reached this point, there is a problem: the hotel is in full operation under the management of the BAUEN cooperative. If it did not accept the offer, the judge would have to order the eviction, and, as was made clear in all the arguments that we have sorted through so far, in her blue eyes, the blame for the eviction falls entirely on the workers themselves, for being too inflexible to accept an offer they couldn’t refuse.

To be reasonable, and to avoid any inconvenience to the hotel guests, the resolution set a term of 30 days to “be able to put into effect with the greatest prolijidad and tranquility possible the restitution of the property,” which would be made public by announcements that Mercoteles SA had to pay for.

Time was up on August 20th, 2007. As we know more than ten years later, things did not turn out the way judge Paula Hualde or Mercoteles SA wanted. Mercoteles lost money on the notices in the newspapers La Nación and Clarín. Among other things, the whole judgment was based on a false supposition: the BAUEN workers did not form a cooperative or occupy the hotel to negotiate with Iurcovich. As in all the recovered businesses of the country, they did so to be able to work in a dignified way.


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