What Is A Worker Owned Cooperative?

Worker-owned co-ops are an important new economic strategy for creating better, more secure jobs, more resilient and productive businesses, and more equitable and capable communities.

worker-owned cooperative is a business that is collectively owned and democratically managed by its workers. Member workers each purchase a share in the business and make business decisions — including how to equitably distribute any profits not reinvested in the business — on a one worker, one vote basis.

According to the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI), employee-owned businesses are more productive and have more stability than traditional businesses. Worker owned co-ops have much lower rates of employee turnover and business closing, are almost always more profitable, and pay better wages to workers.

Because the people doing the work for the company are also the ones who own the company, they feel a greater sense of responsibility for and personal stake in helping the business succeed. Equally important, a worker owned coop instills a sense of autonomy, dignity and empowerment. We believe these are essential characteristics for a self-governing people.

We aim to amplify the great things already happening in the solidarity economy here on the North Coast, as well as to build our community's capacity for responsible resilience going forward. Please explore, connect with, and support the people and organizations listed below already doing great work, and/or contact us to join our work towards making this program area even more robust!