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Worker Co-ops

Learn how worker co-ops are benefiting our economy and communities.

Ownership, equity, and empowerment make worker cooperatives so unique. Artists own their art and their gallery; brewers own their beer and their brewhouse; manufacturing workers own their products and their company. The cooperative business model offers unrestricted entrepreneurial opportunity for workers to build equity and ownership in the economy and shape the future they want for their businesses.

Worker co-ops have great impact on how employees can take ownership of the businesses their work benefits.

Here is just one story from Metis Construction.

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Worker co-ops are commonly organized around the workers in industry, art, and service businesses, where the people doing the work or delivering the service own the business. Artists organize their worker co-ops to own a gallery to sell their art together in one place to better reach their local and regional markets and cut out middlemen and high consignment fees. Workers in various industrial areas organize their worker co-ops to better produce a good or offer a service and to have more equity and a stronger voice in the work they do than conventional business models. Worker co-ops will look like any other business except it will be the employees, workers, or producers that solely own, control, and benefit from the business.

What is a Cooperative?

When a business is a worker co-op, the workers are members who govern the business democratically, through the one member, one vote principle. This empowers the group to work together in decision making that directly affects them. The workers are also the shareholders and equitably share the profits of the business. In a world where more and more revenue is channeled outside of the local communities that produce the goods and services being sold to outside investors, co-ops offer a sustainable alternative.

“Worker cooperatives look like any other business except it will be the employees, workers, or producers that solely control and benefit from the business.”


Today in the United States there are around 300 arts co-ops.
Worker co-ops operate in 17 different industries in the U.S.
Co-ops build jobs – worker co-ops provide stable employment, reducing turnover from 60% to 15%.
Total annual revenues generated by worker co-ops are around $400 million in the United States.


United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives
International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and Service Producers' Co-operatives (CICOPA)
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What is INVESTED, BUILT, GROWN, MADE and SPENT with a co-op directly benefits the local community – make a bigger impact when you choose local co-ops.

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