Cooperatives, which are owned and democratically controlled by workers, often provide economic opportunity for the formerly incarcerated, the long-term unemployed and immigrants. In certain industries like commercial cleaning or taxi service, worker-ownership can prevent exploitative or hostile work environments.
At TightShift, which provides moving, landscaping, and cleaning services, every member has equal say in the company’s direction. No CEO collecting bonus checks while workers eke out minimum wage. No orders dictated from boss to employee. Decisions are made collectively as a group. One person, one vote.
As a cooperative, the company’s mission is far more holistic than simply profit margins and gross revenue.
“My understanding of a co-op is it’s bigger than a business,” Reid says. “We’re doing a service to support ourselves, but it’s not about money.”
The cooperative completed 30 jobs in its first year, collecting initial funds from grants. They are raising money for a new moving truck and other equipment necessary to expand the business through a fundraiser held earlier this week and a crowdfunding campaign.