What Is A Worker-Owned Cooperative?

A worker-owned cooperative is a business owned and operated democratically by its employees. Each member has an equal say in how the business operates: that includes determining wages, profit distribution, services offered, and determining overall best practices for customer and company. 

The worker cooperative movement is increasingly recognized as part of the larger movement for sustainability. Worker-owned cooperatives tend to create long-term stable jobs, sustainable business practices, and linkages among different parts of the social economy, both locally and globally.

The workers become the shareholders, typically receiving equal shares, and each employee has an equally weighted vote on all matters related to the company and how we do business.

Watch Shift Change, a documentary about thriving Worker Cooperatives, for more information!

  • Operate democratically, usually via majority or consensus vote.
  • Keep money within the local economy for longer.
  • Share profits, responsibility and rewards equitably.
  • Stick around (they don’t outsource themselves!).
  • Provide greater employment stability.
  • Retain jobs during recession better than traditional businesses.
  • Pay higher wages.
  • Pool individual resources, making entrepreneurship more accessible for people with low incomes.
  • Make democracy a regular practice in our lives.