Democracy at Work Institute - Original Research

Taking Employee Ownership To Scale

Taking Employee Ownership To Scale
Author(s): 
Camille Kerr, Marjorie Kelly, Jessica Bonanno
Year: 
2016

On June 13 and 14 in Washington, DC, many of the nation’s leading experts in employee ownership, sustainable business and finance, community and economic development, and philanthropy came together in a Learning + Design session. Co-hosts for the meeting were Marjorie Kelly and Jessica Bonanno of The Democracy Collaborative and Camille Kerr of Democracy at Work Institute. The purpose of the session was to discuss how to achieve unprecedented scale of employee ownership by focusing on achieving an audacious goal: 50 million U.S. employee-owners by 2050.

Industry Research Series: Taxis

Author(s): 
Tim Palmer
Year: 
2015

The recent upsurge in worker cooperatives in the taxi industry presents a contrast between big opportunities and big risks. Hundreds of new worker owners have come together in just a handful of companies over the last 10 years, which outpaces the growth of worker cooperative ownership in many other industries. The coordinated marketing among what are already legally independent, entrepreneurially minded contractors lends itself to larger entities.

Industry Research Series: Craft Beer

Author(s): 
Tim Palmer
Year: 
2015

The Democracy at Work Institute has released the latest publication in the Worker Cooperative Industry Research Series, focusing on Craft Beer. The report examines the opportunities, challenges, and cooperative potential in the industry, which is still growing after more than two decades of upward trends. The success of Black Star Brewery and Pub Co-Op, as well as the ESOP-owned New Belgium Brewing Company provide models for replication and education. 

 

Investing in Worker Ownership

Author(s): 
Camille Kerr
Year: 
2015

For financial institutions looking to create deep and lasting impact, worker cooperatives are a powerful tool for economic and community development. They reduce inequality by allowing a greater segment of the population to build assets through business ownership. They combat poverty by providing access to employment for marginalized populations. And they strengthen local economies by rooting businesses in their communities.

Successful Cooperative Ownership Transitions: Case Studies on the Conversion of Privately Held Businesses to Worker Cooperatives

Author(s): 
Courtney Berner, Michaela Holmes, Anne Reynolds, and Joe Rinehart
Year: 
2015

The idea of selling a business to its employees and converting it to a worker owned cooperative is gaining traction as a viable succession strategy. It is a strategy that saves jobs, builds community wealth, and empowers workers to own and manage their own business. Worker cooperatives differ from other business entity types in that they are owned and democratically controlled by their workers, and workers share in the risk and reward of operating the business.

US Worker Cooperatives: A State of the Sector

Author(s): 
Tim Palmer
Year: 
2015

Worker cooperatives have increasingly drawn attention from the media, policy makers and academics in recent years. Individual cooperatives across the country have been highlighted, and substantive studies have been conducted of the worker cooperative experience in other countries, including Spain, Italy, France, Canada and Argentina. But what do we know about worker cooperatives in the US as a whole?

Guide to Worker Cooperative Bylaws and Operating Agreements

Author(s): 
Camille Kerr
Year: 
2015

After working with professionals to determine which entity type is right for your worker cooperative, the next step is to work with professionals to develop your governing documents. Bylaws and operating agreements should include high-level information about the governance of the organization. They clarify and codify the democratic governance and ownership of your cooperative, help provide a structure through which the cooperative can grow, and provide a last resort for conflict resolution if relationships break down.

The Rural Succession Dilemma and the Cooperative Solution

Author(s): 
Tim Palmer
Year: 
2014

This research paper summarizes an examination of the National Establishment Time Series (NETS) dataset for North Carolina and Iowa to gauge the potential for conversions of existing businesses to worker cooperatives. The data demonstrate that the potential is quite large, and that even if only a fraction of these successfully converted to worker ownership and continued to operate at their last year levels, there would be meaningful economic impacts. 

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