Data power, ownership, and governance

Worker-owners have power in numbers. When we come together, we win things that aren't possible alone - whether that's paychecks that equal the actual value of our work, worker health benefits we can rely on, or stable, empowering jobs where we have a voice.

The USFWC is extending that principle to our data governance. At the USFWC, data is a powerful tool that helps us achieve our goals. We maintain the most accurate database of worker co-ops and democratic workplaces in the United States, tracking essential business information such as the incorporation/conversion of new businesses, their size, structure, revenue, demographics, and points of contact. Our members generate and share this data that the USFWC owns and governs in alignment with our values and mission.

We use member data to research and create new benefits and advocate for laws and policies that favor worker cooperatives. We use data to develop new member-informed programs that benefit worker cooperatives, such as our Worker Health Benefits program. Our research drives our organizing efforts, like our industry-based peer networks. We use data to support our organizing and strategically share information with our Federation Partner member organizations and local networks (such as the NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives) to support their local network-building with our joint member co-ops.

Through our close partnership with the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI), we directly survey and study democratic businesses and their workers. This research generates valuable reports such as the State of the Sector, which provides a snapshot of the economic impact of worker co-ops in the US, the industries that we work in, worker co-op demographics, and more. Read about DAWI's values-driven research here:

By strategically sharing our data, we increase the impact of our work. In partnership with DAWI, we share the information we gather in our surveys with vetted academics to support broader research efforts. We also share sectoral data with the National Cooperative Business Association and CICOPA, the international organization of worker cooperatives, to contribute to the global understanding of the worker cooperative movement. Our publications and the information in our cooperative directories and maps are regularly cited in news media and support our advocacy efforts by providing accurate and up-to-date information about worker cooperatives. By sharing our data with these organizations, we can contribute to research that helps further worker cooperatives' growth and success.

We strive to use data transparently and responsibly and respect our members' privacy. We never sell contact data or contact lists, and when we publish cooperative directories, we only share publicly accessible contact information (such as a business's website, industry, and location). Whenever we publicly share demographic or financial data, we aggregate and anonymize it so that nobody can identify individual organizations. We also take additional care when sharing data about targeted groups, such as businesses led by people of color and immigrants.

We are committed to using data responsibly and ethically to support worker cooperatives' growth and success. If you want to get in touch with members of the USFWC/DAWI data team, please reach out to