"Airbnb profits from transactions," said Yassi Eskandari-Qajar, city policies program director at the Sustainable Economies Law Center in Oakland. "There's no incentive for them to put limits on how many people can do this, how much they can charge or how many homes they list."
But, she notes, Airbnb is mindful of political pressure. And when pushed, it has agreed to changes.
The deadline is approaching to apply for this year’s Worker Coop Academy (WCA)!
The Academy is an intensive 14 week course that provides entrepreneurs, business owners, and economic development organizations the tools they need to build, strengthen, or convert to a worker owned business. The Academy also provides participants one-on-one business and legal consultations. You can find more information at theselc.org/wca_apply and watch our recorded info session here.
We are accepting applications through June 14th, which is less than a week away! Applications are submitted through an online form and it is free to apply.
Would the Worker Coop Academy be a good fit for your business? Look here to learn more and hear what last year’s participants gained from the experience!Read more
At our favorite local worker-owned cafe, Alchemy Collective Cafe in Berkeley, we recently asked the question:
What do you get when you cross a worker cooperative with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit?
A worker self-directed nonprofit! We've started defining this as an organization in which all workers have the power to influence the realms and programs in which they work, the conditions of their workplace, their own career paths, and the direction of the organization as a whole.Read more
SACRAMENTO, CA—On May 22, the California State Assembly passed AB816, a major step toward making California the twelfth state to establish a legal form specifically for worker cooperatives. This campaign is building on the momentum of worker cooperative policy initiatives happening throughout the country—including a $1.2 million dollar funding initiative in New York City last summer—as the cooperative business form gains recognition as a powerful tool for economic revitalization.
Cooperatives are people powered organizations and SELC has been hard at work building the legal roots for cooperative economies across the country. We've trained legal professionals in New York, Oregon, and DC on cooperative law, worked for the passage of a legal entity for worker coops in California, and started the first business accelerator course for worker cooperatives on the West Coast! The legal roots of people powered economies are still being grown and its only through your support that we'll be able to deepen our impact. Will you support our continuing efforts to lay the legal foundations for People Powered Economies?Read more
In the 8 months since we launched the Save Seed Sharing campaign, we've made incredible progress in protecting people's rights to share seeds! Will you support us in continuing to cultivate this work and People Powered Economies?!Read more
Growing healthy and sustainable food starts with caring for the soil.
We think of SELC’s work as cultivating a healthy soil for more resilient communities to grow. We’re the soil biologists, not the farmers (metaphorically, at least - some of us actually are urban farmers)! So that’s why, as part of SELC’s People Powered Economies campaign, we are lifting up the work of our partners and allies who are rooted in the communities most impacted by the ills of an extractive economy, and most poised to cultivate and grow a new one.
A message from our Executive Director, Janelle Orsi:
Lately, this big word has been stuck in my head:
Three things are happening right NOW that are creating a sense of urgency at the Sustainable Economies Law Center. Sometimes, it's hard to see that they are happening, so we thought some visuals might help...Read more
SELC is pleased to introduce the luminaries, geniuses, and wonderful human beings that make up our Board of Directors and Advisory Board. Sushil Jacob of the Green Collar Communities Clinic and Farzana Serang, Executive Director of the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (CoFED) have recently joined our Board of Directors, and we've established a new Advisory Board filled with amazing people!
Below, you'll also find out about SELC's upcoming #PeoplePoweredEconomies campaign, Financial Transparency at SELC, upcoming events, and more!Read more
democracy |diˈmäkrəsē| noun - “A system of government in which all the people of a state ... are involved in making decisions about its affairs” (Oxford English Dictionary).
What if every one of us got involved in making decisions about our affairs by writing and passing ONE law? At SELC, we’re realizing that many laws need to be created and reformed if we are going to build just and resilient communities.
Our experience has taught us that anyone can become a citizen lawmaker! We've even developed a workshop to get you started! But first...
3 QUICK THINGS YOU CAN DO TO SUPPORT OUR POLICY WORK:Read more
Sustainable Economies Law Center has been fighting hard and may now be able to take credit for small reforms to one of California’s most draconian and economically repressive laws, the Money Transmission Act (MTA). The MTA presents a nearly insurmountable barrier for small enterprises and cooperatives that facilitate the sale of products and services by receiving payment from one person and transferring it to another.
Most people’s jaws drop when they learn that they may be committing a felony if they do not meet the requirement of a $5,000 initial license application fee, $2,500 annual renewal fee, a $250,000 or $500,000 bond or securities on deposit, and a minimum net worth of $250,000. The CA Department of Business Oversight’s latest draft of proposed regulations incorporates SELC’s suggestions that 501(c)(3) nonprofits be exempt from registration and that the Department create a process for other enterprises to apply for an exemption. It’s a small victory, and we will continue to urge the state to consider SELC’s proposals for a more sensible law.
Learn more about Money Transmission Laws and the potential implications for community currencies, cooperatives, and other small enterprises at CommunityCurrenciesLaw.org
Sarah Kessler published a piece in Fast Company entitled, "What does a Union look like in the Gig Economy?"
Janelle Orsi, from the Sustainable Economies Law Center, advocates for a worker-owned platform model:
"The only way for independent workers to really benefit from the platforms that use their labor, argues Janelle Orsi, a lawyer who specializes in sharing economy issues, is for them to own the platforms themselves, in what she calls a 'freelancer-owned cooperative.' Since these platforms would by definition treat workers better, she thinks they could challenge companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Homejoy by essentially stealing their workforces. 'The companies themselves have very few assets," she says. "They don’t own cars, and they don’t own infrastructure, they don’t own hotels. They just own a software platform and a lot of clout. And if that clout goes away, then they just have software. And lots of people can create software.'"
Read the whole article here: http://www.fastcompany.com/3042081/what-does-a-union-look-like-in-the-gig-economy
Rachel's Network, a non-profit committed to advancing women with solutions to our biggest environmental challenges, has chosen SELC Executive Director, Janelle Orsi, has their first fellow!
“More and more people are seeing that happiness comes not through owning things, but through having access to the things that foster rich experiences with their friends, family, and community,” says Rachel’s Network Liaison Annie Leonard. “[Janelle]’s got… an inspiring vision of sharing as a vehicle for social change.”
Read more about the fellowship, and how it'll support Janelle and SELC's work here:
February 11, 2015
It’s easy to take seeds for granted. Tiny dry pods hidden in packets and sacks, they make a brief appearance as gardeners and farmers collect them for future planting then later drop them into soil. They are not “what’s for dinner,” yet without them there would be no dinner. Seeds are the forgotten heroes of food—and of life itself.
Sharing these wellsprings of sustenance may sound innocuous enough, yet this increasingly popular exchange—and wider seed access—is up against a host of legal and economic obstacles. The players in this surreal saga, wherein the mere sharing of seeds is under attack, range from agriculture officials interpreting seed laws, to powerful corporations expanding their proprietary and market control.
Last year, we found out that over 300 nonprofit seed libraries were at risk of being shut down due to misapplication of seed laws by several state departments of agriculture.
In partnership with Shareable and Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library, and with the help of the Clif Bar Family Foundation and Seed Matters, we launched a national petition campaign to build support for seed libraries and to tell regulators to protect our right to freely save and share seeds