We want to live in a society where enterprises are cooperatively owned by workers and consumers.
SELC’s Cooperatives Program works to vastly expand the legal resources available to cooperative enterprises of all types. We provide education, advocacy, and advice for cooperatives, including legal documents and guidance for best practices.
SELC prioritizes cooperative ventures for a simple reason: We believe that enterprises and assets should be owned and controlled by the communities that depend on them for livelihoods, sustenance, and ecological well-being. The legal architecture of organizations and enterprises is, in many respects, the architecture of our economy. Legal structures dictate how wealth flows through our organizations and how decisions are made. Traditional enterprise models are designed to grow the wealth of people who already have wealth, giving all decision-making power to those same individuals. By contrast, cooperatives put wealth and decisions into the hands of workers and consumers, building community well-being and transforming local economies.
SELC’s Projects and Resources:
- Legal Resource Library: Co-opLaw.org is SELC’s legal resource library for cooperatives. In partnership with the Green Collar Communities Clinic, we are continually adding information to this collection of resources and sample legal documents for co-ops.
- Workshops: In partnership with the Green Collar Communities Clinic, SELC has offered legal workshops and advice clinics, called Think Outside the Boss, for those who want to start worker-owned businesses. These workshops were held in Richmond and East Oakland, California, and we hope to offer more opportunities for education and advice in the near future. Check the events page or contact SELC for more information.
- Legal Guides: SELC’s Think Outside the Boss Manual is coming soon!
- Research: SELC conducts ongoing legal research on critical legal issues related to cooperatives, including employment law, tax law, securities law, and governance in cooperatives.
- Advocacy: In 2011, SELC helped to draft and introduce California’s Worker Cooperative Statute, AB 1161. This bill did not succeed, and has not yet been re-introduced. SELC may support efforts to re-introduce a similar bill in the future.