The USFWC is committed to equipping all of our members with the resources they need to succeed.
Click on the arrow next to each section to view the resources.
This guide organizes DAWI and the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives’ library of resource documents. You can also see the complete list. or search the library. If you have materials you would like to contribute, please contact Joe Marraffino at [email protected].
(note: clicking on any of these links will take you to the Democracy at Work Institute’s website)
In addition to worker cooperatives, there are many other types of democratic workplaces, including but not limited to:
- Multi-stakeholder cooperatives, where workers are one of several member/owner category
- Consumer cooperatives with democratic staff self-management
- Non-profit organizations with democratic staff self-management
- ESOPs with majority worker ownership
These businesses and organizations provide paid employment to workers who, while not direct owners or sole owner class, have democratic self-management in the workplace.
How workplace democracy manifests itself in different businesses and organizations, depends on many factors and can be influenced by industry, age, and size. But the core principle remains that workers have some form of democratic participation in the workplace.
Learn about the different types of other democratic workplaces:
- Solidarity as a Business Model: A Multi-Stakeholder Cooperatives Manual (2011)
- FAQs About Employee Ownership – distinguishing worker coop and ESOP
- The Rise of Multi-Stakeholder Cooperatives (Shareable, 2014)
- Multi-Stakeholder Cooperatives are Key Structure to Platform Cooperatives (2015)
- Why a staff collective? (Worcester Roots explains their non-profit management structure)
- Worker Self-Directed Non-Profits
Some well-known democratic workplaces include:
- Central Co-op (multi-stakeholder cooperative with consumer and worker members)
- LINC Foods (multi-stakeholder cooperative with worker and farmer members)
- Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery (consumer coop with democratic staff management)
- People’s Grocery (consumer coop with democratic staff management)
- Sustainable Economies Law Center (worker-self directed non-profit)
- New Belgium Brewery (100% ESOP)
- Once Again Nut Butter (100% ESOP)
If you work at a democratic workplace, we invite you to join the USFWC!
Starting a worker cooperative is an exciting and challenging endeavor! Here's a few to-do's to get you started:
- Join the USFWC as a member organization. You'll be connected to a national and international network of cooperators, developers, and allies that will help to support you through the process.
- Attend our FREE monthly Worker Co-op Startup webinar
- Choose a book from our Co-op Bookshelf to read with your team
- Watch a video together during lunch
- Work through the Co-op Movement study guide from TESA Collective
Make use of the resources available through our ecosystem of worker co-op partners and allies:
- Meetings and Consensus
- Designing Effective Systems of Evaluation and Accountability in Worker Cooperatives
- Conflict Resolution
- Worker Cooperative Governance and Management
- Worker Cooperatives: Pathways To Scale Managing Growth in Worker Cooperatives
- Worker Cooperative Finances
- Harvard Innovation Lab: Startup Secrets Y
- Combinator: How to Start a Startup
- Business Model Canvas / Business Model Canvas for Cooperatives
- Legal support
- 28 questions to ask before meeting the lawyer
- Choosing a Business Entity: A Guide for Worker Cooperatives
- Guide to Worker Cooperative Bylaws and Operating Agreements
- Sample Worker Cooperative Bylaws
- Worker Cooperative Legal Issues free course at Academy.coop
- Accounting support
- Internal Capital Accounts
- Financing resources from the USFWC
- Worker Cooperative Finances free course at Academy.coop
Looking for a start-up resource that is not included on this list? Additional start-up resources are available here.
Startup workplaces are invited to join the USFWC. Learn more.
Retiring? Considering selling your business? Your employees may be your best buyer!
With the increasing number of baby boomers approaching retirement, many are looking for a succession plan and exit strategy that allows them to see the legacy of their business continue on while they enter retirement.
If you’re a selling business owner, or employees are a business up for sale, we hope these resources offer a helpful place to start.
To speak with a conversion advisor directly, please visit our partners with the Conversion Collaborative ‘Becoming Employee Owned’ resource site: http://becomingeo.org/
- A Brief Guide to Understanding Employee Ownership Structures
- Becoming Employee Owned – print resource
- Becoming Employee Owned – online resource
- Ensuring Your Legacy: Succession Planning and Democratic Employee Ownership
- Decisions in the Process of Business Transition (Who Decides What?)
- Successful Cooperative Ownership Transitions: Case Studies on the Conversion of Privately Held Businesses to Worker Cooperatives
- Case Studies: Business Conversions to Worker Cooperatives
- The Lending Opportunity of a Generation: FAQs and Case Studies for Investing in Businesses Converting to Worker Ownership