As a worker-owned landscaping business, we support our workers’ taking part in today’s Day Without Immigrants.
A landscaping business:
Our industry depends on primarily Hispanic immigrants who make up around 40% of the landscaping workforce nationwide (Pew Research). While many U.S.-born workers disregard our work as simple manual labor, for us, landscaping is a craft, not just a job. Perhaps that’s why our clients frequently describe our crews as hard-working, careful, personable and kind. We value the relationships we form with our clients because we see our landscaping work as a career and because putting people first and enriching the lives of our community is central to our mission as a cooperative.
A worker cooperative…
Now more than ever, immigrant communities in the U.S. are using the worker cooperative model to create not only jobs, but business ownership opportunities for themselves (Democracy At Work Institute). According to the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives, immigrant-led cooperatives, primarily those with Spanish-speaking members, are the largest growing segment of worker cooperatives in the U.S.
The city council of Austin,Texas recently passed a cooperative business ordinance spelling out the multiple benefits of worker cooperatives:
“The worker cooperative model has proven to be an effective tool for creating and maintaining sustainable, dignified jobs; generating wealth; improving the quality of life of workers; and promoting community and local economic development, particularly for people who lack access to conventional means of business ownership.”
At A Yard & A Half, we’ve also seen that, through shared decision-making and through offering professional development opportunities, our worker-owners are developing skills in business, finance and democratic governance.
As an immigrant-owned and led landscaping cooperative, we support all workers’ right to organize and share a vision for better treatment of immigrants in this country. Immigrants, businesses and U.S.-born supporters are all welcome and encouraged to join the Day Without Immigrants today, May 1st!