Why has New York City decided to dedicate $1.2 million in next year's budget to grow worker owned cooperatives? Because they are a small but mighty force. They lift people out of poverty, raise industry standards and produce new crops of entrepreneurs perhaps more effectively than any other funded approach. The city's inspiration in part comes from the largest US cooperative, Cooperative Home Care Associates where about half of the over 2,000 employees have opted into the shared ownership and profit structure there. Wages are double minimum wage and benefits and work hours support a sustainable life for individuals and families. The quality of the lives of employees isn't compromised by the growing trend to force people in any business to be on call to maximize efficiency profits for the company.
We cannot say enough about the vital benefits of the model for local communities where people believe that entrepreneurship will be the sea that lifts all boats. For the 200,000 US small businesses that employ half the nation and lack succession plans, the worker owned cooperative model promises a bright future for the economic and quality of life well-being of indivuals, families, couples and communities.