Blueprint for Increasing Worker Ownership in Low-Income Communities


Worker Owners Building the Electrical Industry

More information about Pacific Electric at


Learn How to Start Worker-Owned Businesses With Free Classes in Bed Stuy

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — When Dylan Ricards and Sheila Akbar first opened Bed-Stuy Fresh and Local in 2014, they hoped to start a neighborhood co-op.

The couple wanted employees in their 210 Patchen Ave. grocery store to have a stake in each decision, make equal profit and share direct ownership of the business, but they didn't know how to make it happen.

Bautista C.  2015.  Learn How to Start Worker-Owned Businesses With Free Classes in Bed Stuy.

Co-ops Enable Low-Income Women to Work as Owners and Decision Makers

Co-ops not only give low-income and immigrant women a way to enter an often unwelcoming - and in some cases, hostile - economy, but also give them a way to exert some control over their work lives and simultaneously support themselves and their families. They have consequently been some of the early adopters in the not-yet-critical-mass movement of worker-owned cooperative businesses that has begun to catch fire in towns and cities throughout the United States.

Bader EJ.  2015.  Co-ops Enable Low-Income Women to Work as Owners and Decision Makers.

Please, Do Not Tip Your Server: What happened when a worker-owned co-op restaurant ran afoul of the Department of Labor

Casa Nueva is everything one would expect of an independent, worker-owned restaurant in a funky, progressive college town like Athens, Ohio. The walls are lined with jewelry and art for sale. Children’s drawings are tacked above tables. Its low prices, locavore philosophy, and good beer selection help it attract students, faculty, and townies.

Donatelli J.  2012.  Please, Do Not Tip Your Server: What happened when a worker-owned co-op restaurant ran afoul of the Department of Labor.

Meet Jonah Fertig, jack of cooperative trades

Meet Jonah Fertig, jack of cooperative trades

By Mary Pols Staff Writer [email protected] | @MaryPols | 207-791-6456

We all know the world values a multitasker, but Jonah Fertig’s extensive credentials suggest he takes multitasking to a new level. If you get an email from him, Cooperative Fermentation is the first line under his name, and it’s bolded. Underneath that are the words “cooperator, consultant, facilitator, teacher, chef, artist.” We were intrigued and puzzled. (Does Cooperative Fermentation call for making yogurt in large, amiable groups?)

Pols M.  2015.  Meet Jonah Fertig, jack of cooperative trades. Portland Press Herald.

Interview with Jacques Kaswan, Co-founder of the Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives

Via JJNoire


Casa Nueva's Org Chart

From Casa Nueva:

"The governance structure is based on established models, including those developed by the Industrial Cooperative Association in Boston, and in the larger sense, the Mondragon system of cooperatives in the Basque region of Spain.  However, our success as a cooperative rests firmly on our ability to adapt these models to the goals and needs of the business and the individual co-op members.

Everyone who works at Casa has a voice that is listened to and respected.  However, only the members (worker-owners) of the co-op have a vote.  Each worker-owner owns one non-transferable share of the business and one vote.  We are a cooperative, but there are still decisions to be made and people to hold accountable for those decisions.  This is our structure (which may or may not be considered hierarchal):"


Opportunity Threads Profile by the Catholic News Herald


CoLab's Bylaws on GitHub

The bylaws of CoLab Cooperative, incorporated in New York State in 2014 as a worker cooperative, are posted to GitHub for anyone to fork.



Madison, Wisconsin, Is Investing $5 Million In Worker Cooperatives

Beginning next year, the city of Madison, Wisconsin will invest $1 million per year for five years in establishing new worker-owned businesses, commonly known as worker cooperatives.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin says that he got the idea from New York City's announcement last year to invest $1.2 million in co-op development.

"I'd read about what Mayor de Blasio had proposed for New York City when I was in the process of developing the 2015 city budget," says Soglin. "I simply went back to the office the next day and said: 'We're not going to be upstaged by New York City.'"

Cassano J.  2015.  Madison, Wisconsin, Is Investing $5 Million In Worker Cooperatives. Fast Company.

Transforming Businesses Into Cooperatives: Bringing the New Economy to Scale


Arizmendi's Secret


CERO Cooperative


Own the Change

From Toolbox for Education and Social Action:

Own the Change: Building Economic Democracy One Worker Co-op at a Time is a short documentary meant to give an overview of what a worker co-op is, how it can transform lives and communities, and the realities of starting one. Watch as we go through concrete steps for building economic alternatives by creating worker-owned cooperatives. Featuring conversations with worker-owners from Union Cab; Ginger Moon; Arizmendi Bakery, Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance (AORTA); New Era Windows; and more.

In addition to the film, we have created a series of educational resources to be used alongside this documentary. These can be employed by co-op developers, community organizers, activists, teachers, professors, and more. The resources can be used in formal and informal educational settings, and given their modular design, each section can be used as part of a larger curriculum or as standalone modules. For example, if you are an aspiring group of cooperators that wants learn more about governance, everyday democracy, or cooperative networks, you can pick and choose for those modules – on the other hand, you may be a classroom teacher that wants to explore alternative economic models with your students and provide an overview of the cooperative model.

We produced Own the Change in partnership with GRITtv.



Subscribe to American Worker Cooperative RSS