Oakland City Council Looks to Provide Support for Worker Cooperatives

east_bay_express.png  By: Melissa Wen
  (Originally published September 3, 2015)

"The Oakland City Council is considering a resolution to support an unconventional business model that some say can help fight income inequality in the East Bay. The resolution, which the council will review at its September 8 meeting, is aimed at encouraging the development of worker cooperatives, which are businesses that are owned and governed by employees, meaning workers share profits and tend to make above-average wages. 

"The Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC), an Oakland-based nonprofit that worked with Councilmember Annie Campbell Washington on the resolution, said the measure is largely symbolic but hopes it will be a precursor to the passage of more concrete reforms that would incentivize the growth of these businesses in the city."

Read the full article on eastbayexpress.com

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Oakland set to be a leader in workplace cooperatives

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 By: Sara Stephens
(Originally published August 31, 2015)

"On Sept. 8, community members will pack Oakland City Hall to celebrate the City Council's groundbreaking resolution to support worker cooperatives as a powerful tool for economic development and democratic, empowering workplaces. The resolution will recognize the benefits that worker cooperatives bring to local economies, especially to Oakland, which is a national hub for such enterprises.

"Oakland will be one of the first cities in the country to integrate tailored support for worker cooperatives into its business assistance center.

"This resolution is a first step toward a broader worker cooperative development strategy. Following this event, the Sustainable Economies Law Center and partner organizations will work with Councilwoman Annie Campbell Washington and others in the city to pass an ordinance that creates meaningful incentives and investment in worker cooperatives."

Read the full article on insidebayarea.com

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Governor Brown Signs California Worker Cooperative Act, AB 816

(Oakland, CA) – Governor Brown announced today that he signed a bill into law to facilitate the creation of worker-owned cooperative businesses in California. The new law, Assembly Bill 816, will remove unnecessary barriers to the creation of new worker cooperatives in California and improve operations for some existing worker cooperatives.

 

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Changing Cities: Coops, Climate Resilience, and more!

Did you know that Oakland, California is emerging as a pilot city for more just and resilient communities? We believe cities are a strategic place to drive change, so we've been getting our hands dirty in our own backyard to test some ideas. SELC has been helping Oakland lead the way in supporting worker cooperatives and seed sharing, addressing climate change, promoting economic development without displacement, and removing obstacles for mobile food vending. Here's what we're working on in Oakland.

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Food Bikes

The Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) has been delighted to host Berkeley Food Institute summer fellow John Romankiewicz, who is looking at the barriers to entering the mobile food business, with a particular focus on food bikes! What’s a food bike you ask? It’s a low-footprint, low-capital alternative to a food truck. If you’ve ever traveled around Asia or Latin America, you know that most “street food” is peddled by cart or bicycle as opposed to food trucks. Some examples of local food businesses getting around the East Bay by bicycle include Bicycle Coffee, El Taco Bike, and Curbside Creamery (left to right, below).

 

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The Worker Coop Act Needs Your Support!

Part of the team that attended committee hearings in Sacramentoto advocate for workplace democracy!

We've come down to the wire!

The 2015 Worker Coop Act passed out of the California Assembly with bi-partisan support and passed out of the California Senate 39 votes to zero! Now it goes to Governor Brown's desk for his signature. BUT, there is still a chance that Governor Jerry Brown won't sign the Worker Coop Act. 

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Summer Solidarity: Policy progress, people power (and alliteration!)

After our month-long #PeoplePoweredEconomies campaign, the results are in: you rock! We continue to be motivated by a sense of both urgency and opportunity to create people powered economies everywhere, and YOU give us the inspiration and support we need to make that happen. This is what a People Powered SELC looks like:

  • Over 150 donors during the month of May
  • 50 new Community Members
  • Over $20,000 pledged
  • Hundreds of dollars raised for our allies Richmond Grows Seed Library (Richmond, CA), Cooperation Jackson (Jackson, MS), and Phat Beets Produce (Oakland, CA)
  • Oh yeah, and this…
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