Last week’s op-ed about worker cooperatives was important and timely. I’d like to add that we have a several thriving worker cooperatives in Santa Barbara. I am connected with two: Regenerative Landscape Alliance and the Sweetwater Collaborative. As a nonprofit, Sweetwater uses a modified worker-directed approach; my hourly wage as its executive director is comparable with that of other employees.
ReGen.coop converted to worker ownership from Fred Hunter’s landscape contracting company, which was a sole proprietorship for 30-plus years. A number of Sweetwater’s member-owners work at ReGen. We have eight member-owners, seven of whom were founders. As a member-owned cooperative, our collaborative process enables us to leverage the diversity of perspective, expertise, and strength of our team.
Another worker cooperative in Lompoc, which has been around since 2013, is the Green Broom Brigade. As the name suggests, it is an environmentally friendly cleaning co-op, staffed with worker-owners.