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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Nonprofits Promote More Democratic Workplaces

Because its mission is to give voice to and win rights for 2.5 million domestic workers (nannies, housecleaners, and home care workers), a “vital American workforce that perform real, demanding work yet are denied basic labor rights, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, also mentioned in NPQ’s coverage of a new labor movement, deserves attention for its work. (Cooperative Care is represented on its board of directors.) Last month, NPQ also wrote about a fellowship program organized by two nonprofits, the Democracy at Work Institute and the National League of Cities, that is supporting conversions of existing businesses into worker cooperatives, as a way to maintain wealth and preserve employment in cities across the US.

There is one more reason for nonprofits to pay attention. We do not own our nonprofits, of course; by law, we steward them. But the ethos of shared decision-making prevalent in worker co-ops is not foreign to our sector. We have experimented with the idea of collective “ownership” of organizational agendas for at least a half-century; it is well past time to begin a serious effort to build more formal organizational systems that make best use of our collective energy and intelligence.—Kori Kanayama

Read the rest at Nonprofit Quarterly


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