The worker cooperative—a democratic form of business ownership—has struggled to take hold and grow to scale in the US. Though the US economy has a large cooperative sector, most of these co-ops are consumer co-ops. Credit unions and electric co-ops are the two largest sectors, with well over 100 million member-owners between them. Indeed, credit unions alone now have 115.3 million member-owners. The worker cooperative sector, by contrast, is much more modest in scale. According to a November 2017 report(based on 2015 data) from the nonprofit Democracy at Work Institute, in the US an estimated 323 worker-cooperatives have 6,033 worker-owners and combined revenues of $395 million.
But worker cooperatives are growing, and so is the ecosystem supporting them. In recent months, two well-established cooperatives, the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry in Cleveland and Red Emma’s in Baltimore, have announced plans for expansion.
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