In this moment of crisis, worker cooperatives are a reliable, proven solution to address loss of jobs as well as income inequality.
COVID-19 has devastated the small business community, and the clock is ticking on permanent shutdowns of small businesses. Forty-five percent of businesses believe they have less than six months until a permanent shutdown is unavoidable. Tens of millions of Americans are still unemployed. Millions of them will fall off an “income cliff” when unemployment benefits end.1
Worker cooperatives, fundamentally centered on the needs of the worker, have quickly pivoted to meet the needs of their communities during the pandemic, implementing collective decision-making, mutual aid and resilient business planning to save jobs and stabilize their workforce. While they must still face tough decisions during this time, worker-owners make decisions collectively, influencing how impact is shared across the workforce.
The U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives and the Democracy at Work Institute reached out to more than 250 USFWC members between April and July 2020, and received responses from more than 142 organizations. While deeper examination of the data is still being compiled, this preliminary report helps us to understand the work ahead toward building a stronger economy.