UPDATED JULY 2017
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Download these legal guides or read them online by clicking on the manual covers below.
Think Outside the Boss: How to Create a Worker-Owned Business
DISCLAIMER: This manual has been prepared as a handout for a 2015 workshop on starting a worker-owned business. The contents of this manual should not be relied on as legal advice. Also, some of this information could become outdated, and laws vary from place-to-place. Furthermore, although we tried to collect accurate information and give laws our best interpretation, some information in this booklet could even turn out to be incorrect or subject to other interpretations by courts or regulators! We sure hope that's not the case, but what ca we say? Law is complicated stuff! That's why we strongly recommend that you consult an attorney before using this information to form or operate a cooperative!
Read our Think Outside the Boss manual online on by clicking here!
Legal Resources for Food Justice Enterprises
DISCLAIMER: The content of this book should not be relied on as legal advice. This booklet has been prepared as a handout for a 2013 “Legal Eats” workshop. Information in this booklet could become outdated, or laws could vary from place to place. Furthermore, although we tried to collect accurate information, some information in this booklet could even be wrong! We sure hope that’s not the case, but, what can we say? Law is complicated stuff!
Read our Legal Eats: Legal Resources for Food Justice Enterprises online by clicking here!
El Proceso Legal Para Iniciar Tu Negocio Cooperativa
¿Qué son las cooperativas de trabajadores? Las cooperativas de trabajadores son entidades de negocio que están (1) en posesión de los trabajadores, (2) gobernadas por los trabajadores, y (3) operadas por y para el beneficio de los trabajadores. Puesto que las cooperativas son propiedad y están controladas por y para los empleados que trabajan allá, son operadas diferentemente de las empresas tradicionales en unos aspectos clave.
Por favor, lea nuestro manual El Proceso Legal Para Iniciar Tu Negocio Cooperativa en línea y descargar aquí.
The Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC), Project Equity, and the Green Collar Communities Clinic (GC3) invited cooperative members, developers, and supporters to join us in a brainstorming discussion about ways to help Californians learn about cooperatives. The questions we used to prompt the discussion were:
- How might K-12 schools, colleges, and graduate schools begin to incorporate education about cooperatives into their curricula?
- What skills and knowledge should be included in a program to learn about cooperatives?
- What policies might promote greater infusion of cooperative education into various levels of education?
We took notes (below) so we could share the insights that were brought forth during the discussion. We will integrate these and future ideas into the East Bay's very first Worker Cooperative Academy!Read more
Find our worker centered cooperative projects and resources for starting, supporting, or cultivating worker cooperatives below!
Peruse our Law Center's legal resource library for cooperatives, Co-opLaw.org, which provides a forum for sharing, organizing, and making sense of information related to the legalities of cooperatives, including sample bylaws, operating agreements, and plain english guides to coop law.
Find resources for worker self-directed nonprofits, that is nonprofit organizations seeking to provide all workers with the power to influence programming, change the conditions of their workplace, have voice in the direction of their own career paths, and provide guidance to the organization as a whole.
Find information on our project, Democratizing the Invisible Workforce, which works with low-income and immigrant communities to cultivate cooperative enterprises that meet the needs of our elders and people with disabilities and the workers that support them. Our first step in realizing this vision is to support the creation of a domestic care worker cooperative.
Read and download our facilitator guides so you can host your own intro workshop on the legal nuts and bolts of starting a worker cooperative called "Learning to Think Outside the Boss!" It includes a facilitator guide, skit, and powerpoint slides we've created to explain how the law works in, against, and for worker cooperatives.
Find more information about our critical work in partnership with Propsera, the Democracy at Work Institute, and others, to fill the gap in legal and cooperative resources to support immigrant leaders building economic resilience and job stability for their communities.
Find information on the San Francisco Bay Area's first Worker Coop Academy, an intensive multi-month training course for teams who want to operate democratically-run, worker-owned enterprises, including replication resources and links to Academies across the country.
Find our downloadable legal manuals in both English and Español on how to create and run a worker-owned enterprise.
Through our Law Center’s Resilient Communities Legal Cafe, we provide one-time legal advice and consultations multiple times per month across the San Francisco Bay Area. This is a space to come and discuss your cooperative enterprise at any stage of its development, from idea to conversion to operation. We also provide long term representation to a very limited number of clients. For those building worker cooperatives interested in longer term representation from our Law Center, please contact Ricardo S. Nuñez at email@example.com.
SELC hosts teach-ins at the Resilient Communities Legal Cafe and half-day workshops focused on educating the public on cooperatives and advising existing coops on their development and operations. Please check SELC's calendar page for future teach-ins and workshops focused on cooperatives.
One example of our workshops focused on worker cooperatives is called Think Outside the Boss in English and El Proceso Legal Para Iniciar Tu Negocio Cooperativa en Español. Done in partnership with GC3, these workshops have been held in Richmond, East Oakland, San Leandro, West Oakland, Berkeley, and in Downtown Oakland, California. We hope to offer more opportunities for this type of education at least twice a year in English and once a year in Spanish. Check SELC's calendar page or contact SELC for more information.
If you'd like to host your own "Think Outside the Boss" workshop, please visit our "Learning to Think Outside the Boss" resources page. There, you will find guides, manuals, and slides to support you in providing your own introductory workshop into the nuts and bolts of starting a worker cooperative!
Below, one of SELC's many events educating community members on cooperatives: our Think Outside the Boss workshop!
Read below or download by clicking on the manual cover.
Lea a continuación o descargar haciendo clic en la portada del manual.
Would you like more info on the cooperatives program? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, the Law Center's Cooperatives program coordinator.
The Worker Cooperative Policy Coalition held two public feedback forums to solicit feedback on the proposed provisions of the worker cooperative policy that will be (hopefully) going to the California legislature in February 2014. Below are the notes of the feedback forums, one held on December 2nd at the Sudo Room in Oakland and the other held on December 7th in San Francisco at the Main Public Library.Read more
The Sustainable Economies Law Center is proud to be a member of the California Worker Cooperative Policy Coalition and excited about paving new paths to increase democratic worker ownership in California.
UPDATE: Our coalition was successful in finding a legislative author and this policy recommendation has become a full out legislative campaign! Find out more by visiting SELC's Cooperatives Advocacy page.
Below, you will find links to a feedback form so you can provide input on how to define a worker cooperative in California, more information on the statute that the coalition has been working on, and updates on our progress.
Find updates on the progress of our legislation and public feedback.
Two public feedback forums were held, one in San Francisco and one in Oakland, for community members to provide feedback, identify issues of concern, and continue the discussion about the worker cooperative policy.
Check back for more public forums on the California Worker Cooperative Policy initiative to be held at SELC's Resilient Communities Legal Cafes throughout 2014.
CA Worker Cooperative Feedback Form
Having trouble viewing the feedback form below? Click here.
At our recent Think Outside The Boss Workshop in Berkeley, we asked participants to tell us what co-ops meant to them. Check out the slideshow above to see the diversity of faces and answers we received.
Cooperatives aren't some utopian, hair-brained, hippie scheme. They support an incredibly diverse range of people from all over our communities, from families (did you see the baby above?) to young entrepreneurs to faith-based communities to immigrants.Read more