Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale

Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale

Hilary Abell
June 2014

Public interest in cooperatives has surged since the global financial crisis, as people cry out for an alternative to business-as-usual. In spite of their many benefits for individuals, businesses, and society, however, cooperatives are not well understood in the United States. The field of worker co-op development is just beginning to create the infrastructure and knowledge base needed to increase its scale and impact.

This report aims to help build the field of U.S. worker co-op development by providing a current view of the cooperative landscape and by analyzing factors that inhibit or promote cooperative development. Although informed by the cooperative giants in Europe, this analysis highlights lessons learned through the development and growth of worker co-ops in the United States. Analyzing four common "origin stories" for worker cooperatives and five distinct models for cooperative development, the report highlights the benefits of democratic workplaces while providing strategic clarity about scaling up their impact.

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Our Strategy and Models section here on this site provides a comprehensive collection of cutting edge models, best practices from across the sector, essential research, and practical guides.

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Seizing the Moment

Catalyzing Big Growth for Worker Co-ops

In this piece, crossposted from Grassroots Economic Organizing, Hilary Abell summarizes the key conclusions of her recent Democracy Collaborative report, Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale, and discusses how her new initiative, Project Equity, will be working within the strategic framework advanced in the report to build support for worker cooperative  economic development in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Read more about Seizing the Moment...

Worker Cooperative National Conference

May 30th, 2014 to June 1st, 2014
Chicago, IL

At the 2014 National Conference of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, the former director of the WAGES network, Hilary Abell, together with Democracy Collaborative research director Steve Dubb, will launch our new report Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale. Read more about Worker Cooperative National Conference...

News and Updates

Hilary Abell talks with Laura Flanders about scaling worker cooperatives

Hilary Abell, author of the Democracy Collaborative report "Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale", talks with Grit TV's Laura Flanders about the policies and best practices that can help grow the worker cooperative sector in the United States. Read more about Hilary Abell talks with Laura Flanders about scaling worker cooperatives...

Hilary Abell and Kali Akuno talk with The Real News about scaling worker cooperatives

Hilary Abell, author of our new report Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale, talks to the Real News Network about NYC's $1.2 million investment in workplace democracy. Read more about Hilary Abell and Kali Akuno talk with The Real News about scaling worker cooperatives...

How Much Outside Help Do Worker Co-ops Need to Get to Scale?

Confronting the challenge of incubation
Though they end up as owners and decision-makers, workers in low-income communities often don't start off doing all the work of developing and growing a worker-owned cooperative themselves. This is even true for the Mondragón Cooperative Corporation, the world’s single largest worker cooperative network and a leading source of inspiration for efforts to build worker cooperatives to scale in the United States.

Worker-Owners Cheer Creation of $1.2 Million Co-op Development Fund in NYC

Rebecca Burns
In These Times

In These Times talks to Hilary Abell, author of the Democracy Collaborative report "Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale," about New York City's move to invest $1.2 million in worker cooperatives.