First of its kind in the nation
Urban Animal, a Seattle-based veterinary network, has announced it will become the first worker cooperative veterinary practice in the US this fall. This will enable its 110 employees to share in the governance and profits of the company with more than 50,000 clients.1
Urban Animal joins about 30 worker cooperative-based businesses in Washington. By introducing the limited cooperative association (LCA), Urban Animal founder Cherri Trusheim, DVM, will gift a portion of the company to seed it, striving to become a completely employee-owned worker co-op over time. With the influx of veterinary corporatization, Trusheim aims to empower employees and ensure the practices stay locally owned and community minded while offering the best care.
“The veterinary industry is in the eye of a perfect storm due to factors such as employee burnout and private equity buyouts, which are diminishing the number of qualified veterinary professionals,” said Trusheim, in the release. “Urban Animal is presenting this groundbreaking solution to set the bar for the industry and beyond.”1
The worker cooperative will offer employees access, influence, and transparency to the complexities of operating and growing a business. Urban Animal will continue to run its 3 practices throughout Seattle while inviting employees to take ownership and benefit from the company’s planned growth. The company hopes this helps attract industry professionals looking for a workplace operated by those who provide veterinary care.
“This model will empower our team to drive the business forward while also making sure that we’re benefitting through fair salaries, learning opportunities, and governance over our work environment,” said Mollyrose Dumm, client liaison at Urban Animal.1 “With nationwide staffing shortages at all levels of veterinary care, a worker co-op model will hopefully attract new staff as people see that we’re a company that takes the employee experience seriously.”
With the transition in the works for over 2 years, the worker cooperative will have a functioning group of “early adopters” who will learn the fundamentals from Urban Animal’s cooperative development partner, The Cooperative Way. This group will become ambassadors to promote the idea to other employees.
Trusheim will continue to serve as CEO and will work with the worker cooperative to support continual training and mentorship. Urban Animal is currently hiring across all practice roles.
Empowering employees: Seattle’s urban animal announces first veterinary worker cooperative in the nation. News release. Urban Animal. September 26, 2023. Accessed October 4, 2023.