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.
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?
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.
At a time when trust in conventional capitalist governance is at a historical low, worker cooperatives demonstrate that, given a fair chance, workers can run the show by themselves and it is indeed a good moment for trade unions to challenge received ideas about worker cooperatives. This journal includes six (6) articles about the relationship between unions and worker cooperatives throughout the world.