National survey shows small but steady growth of U.S. worker cooperatives

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A new report from the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI) and the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives estimates that 357 worker cooperatives operated in the United States in 2016. These businesses employed 6,833 people and generated $428 million in gross revenues in 2016.[i]

As the numbers suggest, worker cooperatives remain marginal in the U.S. economy. In 2016, the year of the survey, 15 new cooperatives were started, and 11 conventional businesses converted to worker ownership, growing the sector by 2.4 percent (a higher rate than the U.S. economy, which…


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Employee ownership is getting increased attention from the Aspen Institute, a Washington-based nonpartisan think tank seeking to build leadership and find solutions to the many challenges that face our nation.

On May 10, as part of the Working in America series, the Employment Opportunities Program and Financial Security Program sponsored “Having a Stake,” a panel discussion exploring the positive impact of employee share ownership plans (ESOPs). Executives from King Arthur Flour, Eileen Fisher, AMSTED Industries, and ComSonic spoke about how their company ESOPs increased employee engagement, productivity, and innovation, while also providing greater financial stability for workers.

In June, the…

Karen Kahn

Writer, editor, activist, and nonprofit communications consultant, with interest in social and environmental justice.

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