Worker Cooperatives are values-driven businesses that put worker and community benefit at the core of their purpose. They are owned and controlled by their workers, and are found in numerous industries. Cooperatives are often thought of as small, but they can be quite large. Cooperative Home Care Associates in the Bronx, New York—the nation’s largest worker-owned cooperative—employs 2,300 (90 percent of them women of color) and brought in 2013 revenues of $64 million.
The model of worker cooperatives has proven to be an effective tool for creating and maintaining sustainable, dignified jobs; generating wealth; improving the quality of life of workers; and promoting community and local economic development, particularly for people who lack access to business ownership or sustainable work options. By becoming a part of the Prospera house cleaning cooperatives, for example, the median income for a worker-owner jumps from $24,000 to $40,989. They increase their income and acquire an asset that redirects the downward spiral of wealth in communities of color. When employees not only have a job but an ownership stake, they enjoy greater control of their economic fate.