Evergreen Cooperatives Forge an Innovative Path toward High-Quality Green Jobs

Apollo News Service

How can we make sure green jobs are good jobs? One approach to this much discussed question is to make green jobs union jobs, which typically offer higher wages and better benefits than non-union jobs. Another is to require that contractors who receive public funding for green projects pay their workers family supporting wages and provide health insurance. In Cleveland, Ohio, a new and different path is being forged toward high-quality, green jobs—through worker-owned cooperatives, where the workers are not only being paid well, but also can accumulate wealth for themselves and their communities as partial owners of profitable green businesses.

“If you can link wealth building and ownership opportunities to the creation of green jobs, then you maximize benefits to workers and you stabilize communities,” said Ted Howard, founding executive director of The Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland and one of the architects of Cleveland’s groundbreaking Evergreen Cooperative Initiative.

The idea for the Evergreen Cooperative Initiative came out of a partnership between the Cleveland Foundation and several local hospitals and universities that are situated in the Greater University Circle area of Cleveland, a one-square mile area surrounded by neighborhoods where the unemployment rate is 20-25 percent and 30 percent of the residents are living in poverty… More at Apollo News Service