We are currently recruiting for the Denver Drivers Cooperative, and the process includes an orientation, interviews, and a 4-weekend Ownership Institute. To get started, please attend our next co-op Open House session or schedule a call with an organizer.
What is a worker cooperative?
A worker cooperative is simply a business owned and managed by its workers. These worker-owners are known as the members. Each member gets one vote to decide on a variety of things from who is on the board of the cooperative to where the profit goes and how the business is run. Plus, at the end of the year if the cooperative has made a profit, that extra money is distributed to the members.
Why should I care about worker cooperatives?
On average worker-owners have higher wages, more job stability, and are more satisfied with their jobs. In 2019, the average end of year profit dividend for a U.S. worker owner was $8,241—who would say no to an end of year bonus like that? Its important to note that these worker-owners are typically working in lower paying jobs like cleaning, home care, restaurants, or laundry services and therefore, an $8,241 dividend is a huge pay raise!
WHAT KIND OF WORK IS IT?
This new cooperative will involve driving and customer experience, with multiple options for professional development in the medical field.
WHEN DOES THE JOB START?
The current project launch date for the cooperative will be February 28th, 2022.
HOW MANY HOURS A WEEK WILL IT BE?
During the incubation process, candidates will commit up to two hours per week depending on your role in the project. During the Ownership Institute (say the months??), we will ask candidates to commit four full Saturdays over two months. We will always work with you to work around an existing work schedule.
Once work begins, it will be a traditional 40 hour a week job. We are still working out if the work will be part-time.
HOW MUCH DOES IT PAY?
Our preliminary projections estimate workers' base annual salary will be $35,000-40,000 per year. Workers will have additional paid opportunities to acquire professional licenses that could lead to higher pay.
HOW MANY COWORKERS WILL I HAVE?
At the beginning, we anticipate there will be roughly 15 worker-owners.
HOW IS BEING A WORKER-OWNER DIFFERENT FROM BEING AN EMPLOYEE OR independent CONTRACTOR?
As a worker-owner you own the business you work for in conjunction with the other employee owners. In a typical job, the business is owned by one or two owners or a group of investors, and these owners hire the managers, new employees, set the hours, set the direction of the company, and have the right to sell whenever they want. In a worker cooperative, the worker-owners make the same decisions that a normal owner would make.
Meanwhile, a contractor is a person who works for themselves and sells their labor or skills to a company. This often means a more flexible work schedule and not having a boss. However, it also means that you likely do not receive benefits since you are not a regular employee. Worker cooperatives are the best of both worlds. You get to set your schedule and hire you own boss, and also receive the benefits of being a regular employee and working in a collective.
WHAT ARE THE STEPS IN THE APPLICATION PROCESS?
Unlike a traditional job, we are not asking workers to apply. Instead we are asking you to build the cooperative with us. This will likely be a 3 month process. If you choose to help with the creation of the cooperative over the 3 months, we will conduct interviews as well as ask you to participate in group activities to ensure that you are a good fit for the worker-ownership role. Next, you will participate in a 8 week, 4 session, Ownership Institute, which will prepare you for your role as a worker-owner. This Institute require you to attend a full day class on a Saturday every other week over 8 weeks for a total of 4 classes. If you complete the classes, you will be hired and become a part owner of the new cooperative. This process will also give you the ability to decide on the structure of the cooperative and hire the manager.
WHAT DOES A CO-OP ACTUALLY INVOLVE?
Being a member of a co-op means that you are a co-owner of a business. Each member is 100% responsible for the business’s success. Beyond your day to day work, members meet regularly to make strategic decisions about the business. They also learn all aspects of the business—from customer service and marketing, to accounting and financial projections, to HR and healthy team dynamics. Each member contributes to the co-op with their unique strengths and abilities; meanwhile, the co-op is a transformative space that allows each member to develop their capacity and leadership in new ways.
WHY DOES THE CENTER FOR COMMUNITY WEALTH BUILDING CARE SO MUCH ABOUT WORKER COOPERATIVES?
Worker cooperatives lower the risk involved in the process of starting a business and allow all workers to become owners. This process builds power and wealth for communities and individuals who need it most. We believe cooperative development is human development. Each of us is capable of creating an economy that works for all. Cooperatives are one space where we can bring an inclusive economy into the world.
WHY ARE WORKER COOPERATIVE GOOD FOR COMMUNITIES?
The structure of worker cooperatives makes sure that profits are shared by workers, and therefore are given back to communities. In a large corporation, the profits go to rich investors and Wall Street. In small businesses the profits are kept by the owners. While some owners do a great job at reinvesting those profits in the communities they come from, other owners keep it all for themselves and often leave the communities they came from behind.
On a personal level, most people in the US build wealth through owning a home or a business. Starting a business, however, is risky, especially for everyday workers who might not have time or access to resources. Cooperatives leverage the power of working together to make business ownership more accessible to everyday workers, and they invite workers to use their talents and grow to their greatest capacity.
On a collective level, we all pay the cost when our jobs don’t center human dignity Many of our friends, family and community members spend their lives working for large corporations—not always by choice. Along the way, many of us have experienced dehumanizing work conditions and workplaces that utilized only a fraction of our creative potential. We want to build worker cooperatives so that our communities retain more of the value they create, in workplaces that center human dignity, creative intelligence and collective power.
Finally, on a community level, successful cooperatives create more than quality jobs. As workers build wealth and develop personally and professionally, they have greater capacity to contribute to the lives of those they care about. Further, many worker cooperatives choose to re-invest in their surrounding communities by sharing their time, their goods and services or their profits.
WHY ARE WORKER COOPERATIVE GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY?
Worker cooperatives have many economic benefits:
On average workers get paid more at worker cooperatives, while executives get paid less. Solving a crucial contributor to inequality at its source.
When worker cooperatives are doing well they tend to hire more workers instead of enriching absentee investors.
During hard times worker cooperatives tend to lower wages slightly instead of laying off workers. This significantly decreases the impact of recessions on communities.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ON WORKER COOPERATIVES?