Why Worker cooperatives?
Worker cooperatives are businesses owned and democratically governed by workers for their own benefit. In general, each worker-member has one vote in management, and receives “patronage dividends” (share of overall profits) based on the number of hours worked. This structure creates durable economic benefits for low-income workers and communities:
· Cooperatives provide workers with employment and the opportunity to earn an income.
· Cooperatives balance workers’ needs and concerns with the need for profit and efficiency.
· Cooperatives generally emphasize training and development of their worker-members.
· Worker-members contribute directly to building the enterprise and sharing in its success. Everyone has an equal financial and ownership share.
· Worker-owners participate directly in decisions that affect them in their workplace as well as those that determine the growth and success of the business. One worker, one vote.
· Workers develop critical leadership skills and practice direct, grassroots democratic decision-making.
· Community benefits include increased local spending and social benefits and increased voting levels.
· Since most workers are community residents, worker cooperatives are more likely than other businesses to employ sustainable business practices that do not harm the local environment, and profits are more likely to remain and circulate within the community.
· Converting to the cooperative structure allows for business succession and preserves jobs after the owner retires or otherwise disengages from the business.