"Worker cooperatives are values-driven businesses that put worker and community benefit at the core of their purpose. In contrast to traditional companies, worker members at worker cooperatives participate in the profits, oversight, and often management of the enterprise using democratic practices. The model has proven to be an effective tool for creating and maintaining sustainable, dignified jobs; generating wealth; improving the quality of life of workers; and promoting community and local economic development, particularly for people who lack access to business ownership or sustainable work options." -- US Federation of Worker Owned Cooperatives
Woodbelly became a worker owned coop in 2014. We are excited to develop a welcoming pathway to ownership for our workers. The current members are dedicated to empowering the people who work with us around creativity, style, financial literacy, transparency and self-management. We measure ourselves by our ability to pay our staff well and provide a safer, more generative working environment. The cooperative is in a constant process, building this business in comittment to growing and changing in ways that help us show up as whole people at work. We have all experienced traumatic and disempowering dynamics in the workplace; our commitment to these things is informed by an analysis of the inherent alientation that comes with working in a capitalist economy.
Resources & Relationships
We are learning a lot from our connections and friendships with organizations like the US Federation of Worker Owned Cooperatives, Vermont Employee Ownership Center (VEOC), the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI) and Round Sky Solutions.
- COOPERATIVE HOME CARE ASSOCIATES (CHCA) - Nationally recognized home care agency in the Bronx founded in 1992. CHCA"maintains an employer based workforce development program that provides free training for over 400 low income and unemployeed women anually and serves as a significant driver of employment in the Bronx". CHCA is an incredible organization of predominantly women of color (WOC) who are organizing themselves and having power over the deicisions that are made in their business and the conditions of their work.
- CERO | Composting Clean and Affordable - Food waste hauler and cooperatively owned business out of Dorchester, Massachusetts made up of an amazing team of people, they do a bunch of community funding. Generating democracy, autonomy, education, training in their community.
- TIMBERHOMES VERMONT - A design and build construction company cooperatively owned here in Montpelier -- they're our neighbors! They build beautiful handcrafted, locacally sourced timber frames... amazing. Check it out.
- THE NEW SCHOOL OF MONTPELIER - A special education day school for students age 6-22. The New School offers a safe and encouraging environment for folks to forn relationships, develop trust, gain life skills and to be in community.
- COOPERATIVE FUND OF NEW ENGLAND (CFNE) -- A community development loan fund that facilitates socially responsible investing in cooperatives, community-oriented non-profits, and worker-owned businesses in New England. They've been very supportive to us and we love the work that they do.
- A YARD & A HALF LANDSCAPING COOPERATIVE -- Yard & A Half "was formed in 2013 to preserve and continue to develop a locally-owned, safe, just, and democratic workplace in an industry where workers often face exploitation, wage theft, and hazardous working conditions. Participation in the cooperative is a financial and career investment for members, not just a job. Worker-owners participate in professional development, learning transferable skills and creating economic growth and self-sufficiency. We also share in the profits of our labor, allowing us to reinvest in our own local economy, communities, and families."