Workers in the United States might relate to this. The country’s factories and small businesses have also struggled in recent years. The US has lost 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000, which President Donald Trump has blamed on free trade agreements (a claim Politifact rated only half-true). During the recession, more US businesses closed than opened, although the trend has since reversed.
The recent US election showed that many workers feel left behind. But co-ops can be a way to improve economic and racial inequality, according to Melissa Hoover, executive director of Democracy at Work Institute.
“If businesses go away, they’re not going to be replaced. They’ll be consolidated or shut,” Hoover said. “It’s in no one’s best interest for all these small businesses to close.”
Many American business conversions like this have been cordial, according to Hoover, with owners agreeing to pass the reins on to workers. But as employees become more desperate, some have begun to stage takeovers. That’s what happened at a window factory in Chicago in late 2008.
“If we see more crisis situations like that, my hope is that we will have had enough conversions that weren’t in crisis situations that people know how to do it,” Hoover said.