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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Platform Co-ops are Coming for the Platform Monopolies

Deep-pocketed firms like Uber have raised billions of dollars and have a first-mover advantage. Moreover, one of the biggest challenges with platforms is that name recognition is highly powerful and there is a tendency toward monopoly.
That said, a growing number of grassroots efforts around the globe are challenging this dynamic. For example, Modo is a car-sharing platform cooperative in Vancouver, British Columbia, with 19,000 members. According to board member William Azaroff, Modo is transforming communities by connecting people with places in a way that is affordable, convenient, inclusive and sustainable. Azaroff spoke at The Platform Cooperativism Consortium’s 3rd annual conference at The New School in New York City in November. Approximately 350 participants from more than 15 countries gathered to share and amplify the value of platform co-ops for workers and sustainable communities.
Homecare workers and cleaners are some of the lowest paid workers, with few rights or protections. Up & Go is a site that promotes and schedules on-demand quality cleaning services for several women-owned cooperative businesses. Workers earn $4–5 more dollars per hour than other cleaning-industry workers in the area and retain 95 percent of the income they generate. The workers can build equity as owners, in addition to earning a fair wage. The software platform amplifies the network’s marketing and streamlines customer support.
According to Nithin Coca, writing in Sharable , Up and Go got off the ground with the assistance of multiple grants, including “one from the Robin Hood Foundation, a nonprofit based in New York City that focuses on fighting poverty, and another from the citizenship initiatives program of the multinational British bank Barclays .” According to Sylvia Morse, Up & Go’s project coordinator, “The impetus for launching Up & Go came from our understanding of the marketing challenges facing worker co-ops—along with the Robin Hood Foundation’s research and focus on the impact of the digital gig economy on low-income workers.”
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