Worker Cooperatives

Reducing Economic Inequality through Democratic Worker-Ownership

Shannon Rieger

Amongst developed nations, the U.S. is a leader in unequal income distribution. But according to a recent Century Foundation report on the role of worker-ownership models, this is a trend that can be changed. The author examines how a cohesive national regulatory framework, national tax incentives, a U.S. employee ownership bank, and increased support for employee-ownership technical assistance centers can bolster U.S. worker-buyout policy. In aligning regulatory, technical, and financial support for worker-cooperatives, the United States can bring scale to this key economic equalizer. 

Converting businesses to worker cooperatives—real world lessons learned

A recording of our 5/28 webinar on converting businesses to worker cooperatives, organized to highlight the lessons learned in Project Equity's new report Business Conversions to Worker Cooperatives: Insights and Readiness Factors for Owners and Employees.  Featuring: Read more about Converting businesses to worker cooperatives—real world lessons learned...

Hilary Abell talks with Laura Flanders about scaling worker cooperatives

Hilary Abell, author of the Democracy Collaborative report "Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale", talks with Grit TV's Laura Flanders about the policies and best practices that can help grow the worker cooperative sector in the United States. Read more about Hilary Abell talks with Laura Flanders about scaling worker cooperatives...

Hilary Abell and Kali Akuno talk with The Real News about scaling worker cooperatives

Hilary Abell, author of our new report Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale, talks to the Real News Network about NYC's $1.2 million investment in workplace democracy. Read more about Hilary Abell and Kali Akuno talk with The Real News about scaling worker cooperatives...

City governments building community wealth and cooperative local economies

Exciting news from Jacksonville, Florida, New York City, Austin, Texas and Richmond, Virginia

The past few weeks have seen a flurry of impressive activity at the level of city government, all around policies designed to build community wealth and encourage the growth of cooperative local economies. It's encouraging to see that the work of grassroots developers, local foundations, community activists, and field builders (like ourselves here at the Democracy Collaborative) is beginning to gain a foothold in the world of municipal policy. Read more about City governments building community wealth and cooperative local economies ...

Will Co-ops Spark a New Civil Rights Movement?

Jackson Rising conference brings together social justice and cooperative activists

While the words “co-op” and “civil rights” do not commonly appear in the same sentence, with more than 300 cooperative and social justice activists gathered in Jackson, Mississippi, last weekend, the question was hard to avoid.

Working Together Fiscal Year 2017

Gregg Bishop and Micharl Owh

The city government of New York recently released the third annual assessment of New York City’s Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative, which works to incubate new worker-owned enterprises and provides assistance to convert existing businesses to worker ownership.  In 2017, the initiative helped launch 36 new cooperatives and facilitated 185 new hires. The report also details the technical assistance provided to existing businesses and provides a business directory.

Legacy Business: Our opportunity to build wealth, economy, and culture

National Urban League, Democracy at Work Institute and Citi Community Development

This new report from the National Urban League, the Democracy at Work Institute, and Citi Community Development discusses converting businesses to employee ownership as a critical strategy to sustain and scale black-owned or operated firms. Drawing from survey results and stakeholder convenings, the report highlights shared challenges and opportunities and found that an estimated 284,000 business owners of color are nearing retirement and that employee ownership conversion could help address challenges around access to capital and succession.

Workers to Owners: 2017 Annual Impact Report

Democracy at Work Institute

Published by the Democracy at Work Institute, this new report discusses the accomplishments of the first year of the Workers to Owners Collaborative, launched in 2016 to catalyze business conversions to cooperative ownership. Participating organizations collectively created 215 opportunities for new worker-owners and facilitated the transfer of over $8 million in business assets from retiring owners to employees.

Worker-Owned and Run Cooperative Network of Greater Boston (WORC’N)

Founded in 2002 to facilitate connections between existing co-ops, educate the public about the cooperative model, and encourage the creation of new worker-owned co-ops, the Worker-Owned and Run Cooperative Network of Greater Boston (WORC’N) is a network of worker-owned cooperatives, co-op developers, and those seeking to start new worker cooperatives.  The group now regularly runs Co-op 101 workshops, Peer Resource Groups, and social events.

Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston

Founded in 1978, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston aims to perform an innovative mix of classical and new music while reaching out to the community.  It is one of only four cooperative orchestras in the country, meaning that the conductor as well as its musicians decide what music to perform.  Through its Back to Classical program, its members provide free music lessons and concert tickets to inner-city students, many of whom have severe financial needs and/or learning disabilities.  The orchestra also provides more than 2,000 free and significantly discounted tickets on an annual basis to low-income, at-risk, disabled, and/or elderly individuals.

Dollars & Sense

Founded in 1974, Dollars & Sense is a non-hierarchical, collectively-run nonprofit organization that publishes economic news and analysis.  Its publications, which include a bi-monthly magazine and economic books, cover issues that are ignored by mainstream media, misunderstood by orthodox analysts, question the assumptions of traditional theories, and empower people to think about alternatives to the prevailing system.  The nonprofit also provides research and editorial support to educational institutions and other nonprofits on projects related to popular economics education, organizing, and activism.

Red Sun Press

Founded in 1973 by activists aspiring to create a full-service print shop that would support the movement for political and social change, Red Sun Press is a worker-owned union shop providing printing and graphic design services with a focus on serving nonprofits, socially responsible businesses, and government agencies that share its commitment to promoting a just and equitable society.  The cooperative also aims to be eco-friendly, relying on vegetable-based inks, offering high-recycled content paper, recycling its own paper and metal printing plates, and donating usable waste paper and out-of-date sample books to local schools and daycare centers.


Placetailor is a design, building, and development company committed to constructing high performance, energy-efficient buildings.  Completed projects range from custom, energy-efficient, urban homes to multi-family urban infill developments.  Currently in design is Mayflower Flats, which will be the first all-timber, Passive House-certified midrise construction on the East Coast.