Directories of Worker Cooperatives
- Democracy at Work Directory 2008, a publication of the Democracy at Work Institute and The U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives (pdf)
- Regina, the Regional Index of Cooperatives, at www.find.coop
- List of Worker Cooperatives in the United States, Wikipedia
On cataloging worker cooperatives
In the final section of the March, 1829 publication of Dr. William King's The Co-operator, King ended as usual, indexing the cooperative societies of which word had reached him.
SOCIETIES FORMED - Brighton, 4; London 2; Manchester 2; Worthing; Findon; Branch of Worhing; Greenwich; Kingstanley; Congleton; High Royd; Belper, Duffield; Birmingham; Loughborough; Canterbury; Derby; Worcester; Uley; Almondbury; Preston; Nottongham; Tumbridge Wells; Kidderminster; Bethnam Green; Stepney; Bristol.
By December of that year he saved space by printing "There are about one hundred and thirty Co-operative Societies now established."
Having a a list of worker cooperatives has always been a project for organizers. On one hand, communication between cooperatives has been essential to collaboratively innovate the business model and to face shared business challenges. On the other, the decentralized and localized foci of the cooperatives, along with the volatility of rapid startups and closures has never made it easy.
In the 1970s, organizers from the Bay Area's Intercollective were able to support each other, hold a few conferences, and produce one artifact: a series of Collective Directories, which included maps. The contemporary regional federation has longstanding plans for creating a map of its own, with the idea that customers could use it as a shopping guide. It is hard to tell if the old maps were aimed at potential customers, or simply at the workers so they could all talk to each other.
Regional federations have carried on the maintenance of the list while it thinned in the 1980s and as it began to sprout again in the 2000s. In 2000 GEO Published "An Economy of Hope: Annotated National Directory of Worker Co-ops, Democratic ESOPs, Sustainable Enterprises, Support Organizations & Resources," a project which became the organizing resources for the creation of the national federation. The Regional Index of Cooperatives wiki at http://find.coop/ made it possible for anyone to self-list their cooperative. Finally, when the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives formed it took on then torch of the master spreadsheet, published in a guide.
Cataloging the movement has three major goals. It helps us communicate with each other. It helps us measure the size and shape of the movement. And it helps the public recognize the widespread nature of a decentralized form of economic organizing.