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.

Resources & Links

The Center for Family Life, a program of SCO Family of Services, is a neighborhood-based family and social services organization with deep roots in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. 

Amanda Buck designs for both print and screen. She also teaches typography and works in letterpress printing.

Melissa Crowton is an illustrator whose work focuses on design, narrative, and children’s themes in both digital and traditional formats.

Making Policy Public is a program of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP). CUP partners with policy advocates and graphic designers to produce foldout posters that explain complicated policy issues, like this one.

Funding Support

Support for this project was provided by the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, North Star Fund, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional support was provided by Council Member Carlos Menchaca.

Special Thanks

Christine Gaspar, Mark Torrey, Oscar Nuñez, Frampton Tolbert, Jenn Anne Williams, Emma Yorra, Trusty Amigos, Cooperatives United for Sunset Park


  • CUP
  • Ingrid Haftel
  • Sandy Xu

  • Center for Family LIfe
  • Advocacy Partner
  • Vanessa Bransburg
  • Maru Bautista
  • Corinna Zuckerman
  • Designer
  • Amanda Buck

  • Illustrator
  • Melissa Crowton


Worker Co-Ops Explained in the Center for Urban Pedagogy’s Latest Project
  • Impact Design Hub
  • May 03, 2016

CUP created the bilingual fold-out to explain the logistics of worker co-ops, comparing co-ops to typical businesses, outlining how one can start or join a worker co-op, and illustrating the daily employment life of a worker-owner.