A worker cooperative is a democratically controlled business owned by its worker-owners. A worker cooperative is organized to serve the needs of its worker-owners by generating benefits (which may or may not be profits) for the worker-owners rather than external investors.
Worker-owned cooperatives operate in numerous lines of business across the nation. Some of the business sectors incude childcare, commercial and residential cleaning, food service, home care, technology, consumer retail and services, manufacturing, wholesaling and many others. Examples include:
- Union Cab of Madison Cooperative is the largest cab company in Madison, Wisconsin and has over 200 worker-owners.
- Equal Exchange features fairly traded coffee, teas, chocolate and other products from cooperatives of farmers
- Cooperative Home Care Associates is the nation’s largest worker co-op, with more than 1,000 members providing home care in the New York metropolitan area.
- Rainbow Grocery is the nation’s largest retail worker co-op, operating a natural foods supermarket in San Francisco.
In the Northwest area, NWCDC has assisted Circle of Life Cooperative and Paradise Home Care Cooperative providing home care services (respectively) in Washington State and Hawaii, and Blue Scorcher Artisan Cooperative, a bakery in Astoria, Oregon. For more information, contact NWCDC at (360) 943-4241 or by email.