The Evergreen Cooperative Laundry’s partnership with Cleveland Clinic is perhaps the best-known example of an “anchor institution” approach to economic development in the United States. The worker-owned business is the primary laundry vendor for the Cleveland Clinic’s entire northeast Ohio area.
Their experience to date suggests that it is indeed possible for a health system to support a worker-owned company, and produce benefits for workers and communities, through its contracting choices. It also shows just how much effort and intentionality such an arrangement can require.
Evergreen Cooperative Laundry employs about 150 people, about half of whom are worker owners. This case study documents Evergreen Cooperative Laundry’s structures of worker ownership and its compensation practices, in addition to its relationship with the health care system.