But instead of selling to a private owner, there’s a real opportunity amid this “silver tsunami” to radically scale the presence of worker-owned cooperatives in the U.S. A study from Rutgers found that converting to employee ownership boosts profits by as much as 14%, and doing so does not come at a detriment to wages. Rather, it’s the reverse.
After A Yard & a Half converted to a coop in 2014, average wages have increased from $17.02 per hour to $19.29 per hour despite adding more employees, and revenue has grown to $3.2 million from $2 million. Worker co-ops are still a business, so the employee-owners have to learn the same management and strategy skills that enable companies to grow. The main difference: It’s the workers themselves that reap the benefits of that growth.