2017 Was a Good Year for Worker Cooperatives

Promising as the worker cooperative model is, on-the-ground businesses tend to have a difficult time growing, as Next City has covered. In 2014, the city of New York announced a $1.2 million Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative (WCBDI) to cultivate the model.

“We are talking about creating an economy in New York City that protects and preserves jobs and a democratic economy that sees making sure people have jobs as one of its goals,” Chris Michael, founding director of the NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives said at the time. “[Workers’ cooperatives] provide the members with dignity, better working conditions, more flexible working hours, and higher wages.”

In 2017, funds for the successful initiative increased to an annual sum of $2.2 million — and now, a newly released report shows the results of that funding boost, including 36 new worker cooperatives created and 185 total hires. Those numbers may sound small, but they’re a resounding success for a city that boasted just 23 worker cooperatives, total, in January of 2014. And as Next City has covered, the model is still rare in the U.S. The U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives estimated several years ago that there were only around 350 in the nation.

Read more at Next City!