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What is a Worker Cooperative?

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Businesses across the United States operate in many different ways. A small family run business will certainly operate differently than a multi-national public corporation. One very unique type of business operation is what’s called a Worker Cooperative, or “Worker Co-Op”.


A Worker Co-Op is an organization that is equally owned by those that work at the business although wages may be different based on job function. In addition, the employees make important decisions about the business as a group. The common phrase is “One person, one vote”.


In a Worker Cooperative conversion, the selling shareholder(s) negotiate a fair price with the employees, and the business converts to a Pennsylvania Workers’ Cooperative Corporation.

Worker cooperatives are values-driven businesses that put worker and community benefit at the core of their purpose. Members at worker cooperatives participate in the profits, oversight, and often management of the enterprise using democratic practices.


There are traditionally 7 Operating Principles of a Cooperative. Learn more here.

Co-ops in Pittsburgh

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