The Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives or NoBAWC (pronounced "no boss") is a grassroots organization of democratic workplaces dedicated to building workplace democracy in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.
As the name implies, NoBAWC is comprised primarily of worker cooperatives. A worker cooperative is an enterprise that produces goods, distributes goods and/or provides services and is owned and controlled by its worker-owners. Ownership of a worker cooperative is vested solely with the worker-owners on an equal basis. Moreover, worker-owners control the resources of the cooperative and the work process. Each worker-owner has equal decision-making power and ultimate authority rests with the worker-owners as a whole. Worker control can be exercised directly or indirectly by worker-owners. If exercised indirectly, members of representative decision-making bodies (e.g. a Board of Directors) must be elected by the worker-owners and be subject to removal by the worker-owners.
In addition to worker cooperatives, NoBAWC includes many Bay Area workplaces that incorporate democratic principles even though they do not satisfy the above definition of a worker cooperative. These include workplaces in transition toward becoming worker cooperatives and those that are democratically run but not worker owned. This latter category includes consumer cooperatives and non-profits that are democratically run by their staffs.
NoBAWC is comprised of small and medium-sized workplaces employing from a few to over 200 workers, representing diverse industries and sectors of the economy. Although all are democratic, their legal and organizational structures vary. Most are for profit while some are non-profit, most provide a living for their workers while some are volunteer-run and many utilize direct democracy while others use both direct and representational structures. A number of these workplaces have been operating successfully for many years, with some celebrating more than 30 years in business.