With midterm elections approaching, help us make everyone smarter about the economy. Donate Now
My Economy

How a St. Louis pottery tool maker became a worker cooperative

Richard Cunningham Apr 14, 2022
Heard on:
HTML EMBED:
COPY
“I think that this is a great way to create an example of how a business can also support its employees and not just value them based on how productive they are,” Collin Garrity says about worker cooperatives. Garrity Tools
My Economy

How a St. Louis pottery tool maker became a worker cooperative

Richard Cunningham Apr 14, 2022
Heard on:
“I think that this is a great way to create an example of how a business can also support its employees and not just value them based on how productive they are,” Collin Garrity says about worker cooperatives. Garrity Tools
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Garrity Tools has five full-time employees, who are worker-owners. (Photo courtesy Garrity Tools)

The pandemic has changed the way people work in a number of ways and caused many workers to examine their relationships with their jobs. Collin Garrity, the owner of a woodworking company in St. Louis specializing in pottery tools, began to question his ideas about work and business ownership. That’s lead to a profound change in how his small business operates.

Last week, Garrity Tools became a worker cooperative.

Worker cooperatives are owned, operated and managed by the workers. Decisions are often made democratically, with one vote for each “worker-owner.” The number of cooperatives in the United States has grown by more than 30% since 2019 to 612, according to a study by the Democracy at Work Institute.

“I think that this is a great way to create an example of how a business can also support its employees and not just value them based on how productive they are,” he said. “But it’s a way for people to really benefit from their hard work and to be able to decide for themselves what their work wants to look like.”

One of the pottery tools crafted by Garrity Tools. (Courtesy Sean Funcik)

Click the audio player above to hear the whole story.

Let us know how your economy is doing using the form below, and your story may be featured on a future edition of “My Economy.”









There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.