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Worker Cooperatives

City governments building community wealth and cooperative local economies

Exciting news from Jacksonville, Florida, New York City, Austin, Texas and Richmond, Virginia

The past few weeks have seen a flurry of impressive activity at the level of city government, all around policies designed to build community wealth and encourage the growth of cooperative local economies. It's encouraging to see that the work of grassroots developers, local foundations, community activists, and field builders (like ourselves here at the Democracy Collaborative) is beginning to gain a foothold in the world of municipal policy. Read more about City governments building community wealth and cooperative local economies ...

Employee ownership can boost NY economy, families

Jessica Rose
Times Union

CFO, and Director of Employee-Ownership of the Democracy Collaborative, Jessica Rose writes in Times Union "Employee ownership can boost NY economy, families." Rose's op-ed highlights how empowee-ownership can boost upstate New York's economy: 

"Companies owned by their employees are more widespread than you might think. Nationally, there are at least 7,000 of these firms in nearly every major industry, sector, and region of the U.S. In New York, many employee-owned businesses are recognized industry leaders and household brands, such as Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA) in the Bronx, and Chobani yogurt, in Norwich, which each employ more than 2,000 workers. Though structured differently, both offer employees an opportunity to share in the fruits of their labor which, in turn, makes workers invested in the company's success. It's not just fair, its smart: Extensive research shows that participatory employee ownership contributes to greater productivity and firm stability." 


Read more in Times Union

Evergreen Cooperative Laundry Expands to Second Plant, More than Tripling Its Workforce

A man wearing scrubs and a hairnet operates industrial laundry machinery

CLEVELAND, OHIO — MAY 10, 2018 Evergreen Cooperative Laundry (ECL) announced a major expansion today in collaboration with Ohio’s second largest employer, taking over management of the Cleveland Clinic’s laundry facility in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood. This additional location complements ECL’s original facility in Glenville. The expansion brings more than 100 new employees into the company, joining the 50 workers employed at the original laundry.

Celebrating this milestone for the workers at this employee-owned business, a proclamation from the City of Cleveland was delivered, highlighting the collaboration between ECL and Cleveland Clinic that will help strengthen and support the vitality of the local economy. “The City of Cleveland welcomes the opportunity for all businesses—new or well established—to participate and grow in our community,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “Investments from employee-owned companies like Evergreen Cooperative Laundry help create more wealth for people in our neighborhoods while making our city an even more desirable place to live, work, play and do business.”

ECL is part of the Evergreen Cooperatives, a nationally celebrated network of companies in Cleveland, Ohio, that creates jobs and builds community wealth through cooperative business ownership. These businesses are located in historically disinvested neighborhoods. For Brett Jones, Executive Vice President at the Evergreen Cooperatives, “this expansion validates the core idea at the heart of the Evergreen model—that businesses owned by workers can succeed and thrive in the market, helping close the wealth gap.” Read more about Evergreen Cooperative Laundry Expands to Second Plant, More than Tripling Its Workforce...

Will Impact Investors Embrace Employee-Owned Companies?

Anne Field
Forbes

Writing for Forbes, Anne Field takes a look at our new report exploring the impact investing landscape for employee ownership:

For social entrepreneurs concerned about growing income inequality in the U.S. and around the world, one way to spread the wealth is through employee ownership. With that in mind, you’d think impact investors would be clamoring to invest in such companies....

Read more about Fifty By Fifty's new report in Forbes...

Hacking the American Dream: Progressive Senators Go Big for Worker Ownership

Jessica Bonanno
Common Dreams

Two common-sense pieces of federal support for employee business ownership on the table...

The best-kept business model secret of our age is about to get the spotlight it has long deserved. It's employee ownership—a proven, common-sense pathway to reduce inequality, anchor jobs at home, and rebuild a strong and stable economy, using a vehicle that’s as American as apple pie: making entrepreneurs out of regular, working folks.

Democracy Collaborative's—Chief Financial Officer and Director of Employee Ownership Programs—Jessica Bonanno writes in Common Dreams about the benefits of employee ownership...read more  

Employee ownership can pay dividends for investors, too

Dennis Price
Impact Alpha

Investment opportunities in employee ownership are limited but emerging, says a new report from the Democracy Collaborative, authored by Mary Ann Beyster of the Foundation for Enterprise Development.

Impact Alpha cites "Impact investing and employee ownership" by Fifty by Fifty in it's article by about the profits of Employee Ownership...read here 

Marjorie Kelly To Address Employee Ownership Conference

VT Digge

May 2, 2017 — Registration is now live for the Vermont Employee Ownership Conference, to be held on Thursday, June 2, 2017 from from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm. The conference will offer a morning keynote by Marjorie Kelly, Senior Fellow at the Democracy Collaborative and author of Owning Our Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution, on the topic of “Who Owns America?”...read more

Chronicling the Lives of the Working Poor Across America

The Leonard Lopate Show
wnyc

Pulitzer Prize-winning author, journalist and Columbia Journalism School professor Dale Maharidge crossed the country to chronicle the lives of today's working poor, from farmworkers in southern California fighting against low wages and a devastating drought, to heroin stricken communities in northern Maine that have been abandoned by industry. His story, “American Ballad: A Photographic Chronicle of America's Working Poor,” marks the 75th anniversary of James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. It was published in the December issue of Smithsonian Magazine...listen here 

Taking Employee Ownership to Scale: Learning + Design Session

Democracy at Work Institute, The Democracy Collaborative

On June 13 and 14, 2016 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. This report summarizes and expands upon the June meeting:

The Cooperative Growth Ecosystem

Melissa Hoover and Hilary Abell
The Democracy At Work Institute, Project Equity

This second paper in Citi Community Development’s Building the Inclusive Economy series focuses on scaling worker cooperatives as a means to create quality jobs and wealth-building opportunities for low-income workers. Authored by Hillary Abell, Co-founder of Project Equity, and Melissa Hoover, Executive Director of the Democracy at Work Institute, the report draws from the experiences of Cincinnati, Ohio, Madison, Wisconsin, New York City, the San Francisco Bay area, and western North Carolina to develop a framework for understanding the successful components of a “cooperative growth ecosystem.” These include collaboration across sectors, diverse funding streams, and a “guiding coalition” to create a strategic vision:

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