A Union Toolkit for Cooperative Solutions - CLEO Skip to main content


Labor unions and worker-owned businesses share the objectives of generating better jobs and giving workers control over their workplaces. The scaling of worker ownership paired with unionization offers pathways to expanded worker power and wealth-building for working people. The purpose of this paper is to show strategies used by labor unions to support the creation of worker cooperatives and other worker-owned businesses. It gives a brief overview of the potential for unionization and worker ownership to strengthen workers’ rights, and a list of seven union resources to use toward the creation of worker-owned businesses. The paper includes seven case studies of interaction and collaboration between labor unions and worker-owned entities, in which unions get out their tools to apply their power and capacity toward worker ownership for expanding avenues for worker power.

This Report:

  • Shares key lessons on ways labor unions are interacting with cooperative businesses to expand worker power through ownership and democratic governance.
  • Demonstrates the consistent ways and means that unions are collaborating with economic changes and the development of cooperative economies.
  • Offers a toolkit for those interested in broadening strategies for owning and controlling places of work.