The Workers to Owners 2017 Annual Impact Report, produced by the Democracy at Work Institute, introduces the Workers to Owners Collaborative catalyzing a wave of business conversions to employee ownership at a moment of generational opportunity. Led by a core practitioners group and convening the business, cooperative, community development, finance, and nonprofit sectors, the Collaborative advances worker cooperative conversions as a strategy for good jobs and equitable economic development.
The report of its first year of work offers an overview of the state of the field, including innovative approaches, growing press coverage, interest from minority business support organizations, uptake by the economic development community, and policy support at federal, state, and local levels.
Covering the Collaborative’s goals and outcomes from 2016-2017 in comparison to the known data from 2014-2015, the data shared here shows both clear impact and places where we need to concentrate further efforts. Throughout the report we see a coordinated, strategic effort that, even in its short life, has increased interest in employee ownership, built expansive partnerships, and begun to prove the concept through larger and more diverse conversions to employee ownership. The report makes the case for greater investment, paired with a close eye on trends and deeper analysis.
The authors thank the Surdna Foundation for its bold investment in worker ownership as a means to better jobs and a fairer economy. We also recognize the visionary and effective member organizations of the Workers to Owners Collaborative for their deep commitment to increasing ownership and equity in communities most affected by intergenerational poverty, racism and disinvestment.