Blog

August 27, 2022
  By Rebecca Bauen, Director of Education and Training Across industries and borders, worker cooperatives share the potential to ensure workers benefit directly from their labor and provide agency through robust workplace participation. DAWI has partnered with the Cooperative University of Kenya (CUK) and Global Communities, a nonprofit working at the intersection of humanitarian assistance, sustainable development and financial inclusion, to deliver the benefits of cooperative small business... more
February 8, 2022
In 2021, DAWI and the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives surveyed more than 180 worker cooperatives and democratic workplaces as a part of our bi-annual economic census of cooperatives. Our survey revealed how worker cooperatives fared during COVID-19, how worker cooperatives are getting started, and where they exist in the U.S. Included in our analysis is the location of firms across the country. We grouped firms belonging to Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs)—which are represented on... more
December 28, 2021
As cities work to address today’s challenges with an eye toward future economic growth and stability, employee ownership offers significant benefits as a cornerstone of municipal economic and workforce development strategies. Employee ownership is a well-established economic development tactic with a strong record in saving jobs and helping workers build wealth. The most common forms of employee ownership are Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and worker cooperatives. These models anchor... more
December 10, 2021
By Rebecca Bauen for Nonprofit Quarterly A push for changing nonprofit practice is gaining momentum. Some of this push is coming from younger staff expressing their desire for greater voice and power. Some is from new leaders of color stepping into executive roles and wanting organizations to be more inclusive and empowering for all staff. Some is from leaders who recognize that an engaged and empowered workforce increases the impact of the work. I have seen all these forces active in the... more
July 28, 2021
U.S. Representative Adam Smith (D-WA, 9th District) has reintroduced the Emergency Economic and Workforce System Resiliency Act, which creates a five-year funding stream to state and local workforce boards, including funds to assist firms in transitioning to employee ownership or cooperative models. The bill also includes funding to invest in new programs that prevent layoffs, assist displaced workers, and support employers to both preserve and create jobs. The Democracy at Work Institute is... more
July 28, 2021
The Democracy at Work Institute and Seed Commons are pleased to announce that as of August 1, 2021, Roodline Volcy will join the staff of Seed Commons as Director of Peer Advancement, leaving her position as DAWI’s Events and Training Manager.  This personnel transition continues an organizational affiliation between Seed Commons and DAWI. For the past year, Roodline has worked with both organizations, doing training and events with DAWI and facilitating and helping build capacity for the Seed... more
June 25, 2021
In response to the reauthorization of the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), Democracy at Work Institute has begun a conversation primarily within the field of worker cooperative practitioners about how we might meet this opportunity (see our press release with Employee Ownership Expansion Network). Here we offer some thoughts gathered from dozens of conversations with partners, including those in the Workers to Owners Collaborative, on framing the opportunity, the field’s capacity... more
May 8, 2021
Constructing a democratic workplace is similar to building a house. Both require a solid structure and ongoing attention. Just as a building won’t stand without four corner posts, neither will the workplace. If you want to create the fullest expression of democracy and the fullest productive potential for business success, all four corner posts must be strong. The four corner posts of a democratic workplace are:         Power: Power can mean workers’ power to voice opinions and contribute... more
September 25, 2020
Photo Credit: New Economy Coalition The cooperative community has lost a tremendous spirit this week with the passing of Elandria Williams, a visionary agitator and unparalleled educator. Elandria was an immense force within the new economy space - a huge, joyous spirit and a powerful organizer who served in so many capacities -- from the Highlander Center, to the PeoplesHub, to the founding board of The Democracy at Work Institute.  We are forever grateful for Elandria’s contributions to the... more
July 1, 2020
      By Todd Leverette and Philip Reeves The murder of George Floyd and the heroic actions of movement organizers have once again exposed the social fragility created by this nation’s racist underpinnings. In an almost-poetic economic parallel, the Coronavirus pandemic has exposed decades of economic policy and investment practice that have left American workers, especially workers of color, with stagnant wages, declining wealth and little to no economic security.  As the government struggles... more

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