How Economic Democracy Impacts Workers, Firms, and Communities presents findings from a national survey of 1,147 workers in 82 worker cooperatives and follow-up interviews with 15 participants—the first national survey of its kind. This novel data, collected in 2017, allows us to explore the impact of workplace democracy on individuals, firms, and communities across the United States. It also provides important opportunities for future research about how worker cooperatives can promote resilience and racial equity in this moment.
Scale and Impact
Transitioning your small business to employee ownership can have positive impacts on employee engagement, productivity, and retention; anchor a lasting legacy for your efforts building the business; and offer a financially rewarding exit path that can be supported by experienced professional assistance.
We all have a stake in cultivating and preserving a vibrant small business community. Thriving small businesses promote job stability for local residents and anchor neighborhoods that help driving local economies.
Together with Citi Community Development, Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI) is collaborating with National Urban League and key local leaders to enable more people to share in business assets in their communities– not through creating new businesses, but through leveraging and preserving assets already invested in communities, specifically by promoting shared ownership of existing businesses.
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. If achieved, it would make the U.S.
This is an exciting time to be engaged with worker cooperatives. The worker cooperative model has stood the test of time; its foundations have been in place since 1844, when the Rochdale Pioneers developed their creative response to the suffering of displaced workers during the Industrial Revolution. Since 2008, the Great Recession has inspired more and more workers, advocates, and community developers to bring their creativity and energy to the next generation of the cooperative movement, fueling an explosion of co-op-related discussion and initiatives.
Worker cooperatives are a powerful tool for economic and community development. This resource describes their role in creating a more just economy. It provides an overview of the benefits of the cooperative form, with examples of existing cooperatives and quotes from worker-owners. The resource also describes current initiatives to develop cooperatives by nonprofits, as well as government initiatives to spur the growth of the sector.