One worker, one vote! That’s the motto of worker-owned businesses—called “worker cooperatives” or “worker co-ops”—all over the world. What sets worker co-ops apart from other businesses is their ownership and decision-making structure. Every worker is also an owner, and has an equal say in how the business operates. Having decision-making power over wages and working conditions is especially important for low-wage earners and people who work unstable jobs. But how do worker co-ops work? And how do you start or join one?
The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) teamed up with Sunset Park-based Center for Family Life, designer Amanda Buck, and illustrator Melissa Crowton to create We Own It, a fold-out poster that breaks down how worker co-ops work. Visuals and text in Spanish and English compare worker co-ops to typical businesses, explain the steps that go into starting or joining one, and show what a day on the job looks like for a worker-owner. The poster’s colorful illustrations draw inspiration from the streets of Sunset Park and the real worker-owners who run New York City’s worker co-ops. We Own It is aimed at increasing awareness of worker co-ops across the city, and increasing access to them among low-income New Yorkers in particular.