August 2023 Newsletter: Long Live Workplace Democracy & Worker Power!

August 2023 Newsletter

Here in the Bay Area, it’s been an exciting season for workplace democracy and workers flexing their collective power. 

Thanks to the collective organizing of NoBAWC and The Real People’s Fund, vital resources and services have been restored to the Oakland City Budget, specifically for co-ops and small businesses. The workers of the iconic 127-year-old Anchor Brewing Company launched an effort to purchase the brewery and run it as a worker co-op after announcing it was declaring bankruptcy and closing for good. And lastly, the Bay is gaining another worker-owned business! 

We’re proud to share that Law Center Fellow Sarah Kaplan represented the workers of Nick’s Pizza and Bakery throughout the conversion process thanks to support from the Law Centers’ Worker Cooperative Legal Services Fund. The Legal Services Fund has been covering no-cost legal services to worker cooperatives since 2019 because many new cooperatives lack access to affordable and specialized legal support. Our Fund has enabled legal and technical support for 16 worker cooperatives across the country, including in Georgia, Ohio, Illinois, New York, California, and Puerto Rico. 

If you’d like to support worker cooperatives to gain access to legal services, consider donating!

Welcome Hasmik & Veryl!

Hasmik & Veryl

We're so happy to announce two new staff attorneys have joined the Law Center. Hasmik Geghamyan brings years of experience supporting collectives, nonprofit organizations,​ ​and BIPOC-led groups towards democratic transitions of land and community ownership and organizes with the National Lawyers Guild’s The United People of Color Caucus (TUPOCC). Veryl is a grassroots organizer turned movement lawyer and law professor who provided legal representation to activist organizations. Check out Hasmik and Veryl's staff bio pages to learn more about these incredible attorney's.

Law Center Summer Blog Roll

We’ve been blogging away this summer and have four posts to share:

  • A love letter to the solidarity economy movement by Chris Tittle
    • In this blog post, Chris reflects on their transition from the staff collective at Sustainable Economies Law Center, expressing gratitude for the growth of the US solidarity economy movement and highlighting its progress in building collective power. They emphasize the importance of practicing care and solidarity within the movement, urging continued efforts to slow down, resolve conflicts constructively, and strive for collective freedom.
  • From Apprentice to Attorney: Ricardo Nuñez on his Experience in the Law Office Study Program
    • In California, apprenticeship alongside practicing attorneys offers an alternative path to becoming a lawyer, avoiding law school debt and fostering a nurturing, non-hierarchical learning environment. Ricardo Nuñez, the Law Center's Director of Economic Democracy, recently became an attorney through this program after seven years of apprenticeship.
  • Law for Economic Democracy: A Failed Experiment in Building Community
    • This blog post discusses the Law for Economic Democracy (L4ED) project, which aimed to create a community platform for mission-aligned legal practitioners and students. The post explores the goals, joys, challenges, and lessons learned from the project, shedding light on the complexities of building an online community and the importance of managing expectations.
  • Endowments in the Age of Extinction: How Foundations Can Legally Activate their Endowments to Fight Climate and Economic Crises
    • U.S. philanthropic foundations sit on more than a trillion dollars that could be activated for climate and economic justice, but many foundations operate under a misconception that their funds are locked in legally restricted endowments. We researched the law of endowments and offer 10 legal strategies to help foundations spread those funds to critical interventions now. Please share this new resource with folks in philanthropy!

Federation Workers United

Ricardo Nuñez, SELC’s Director of Economic Democracy and Board President of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, is excited about the unionization of the USFWC staff! “This new union builds on years of work USFWC non-management staff, directors, and board members have been doing together to develop strong internal policies which support staff well-being: creating periods of Collective Rest for staff, implementing collaboratively created COVID safety protocols, participatory sustainable work planning, transparent budgeting and finances, and more…Together, the FWU, board of directors, and leadership team will continue to steward the USFWC’s mission of building a thriving ecosystem for worker-owned and controlled businesses – and their cooperative leaders – to power movements for racial justice and economic democracy.”

Find out more on the Federation’s website regarding this exciting development that strengthens the bonds between worker cooperatives, unions, and the workplaces cultivating worker power and worker voice!

Showing 1 reaction

  • Mwende Hinojosa
    published this page in Blog 2023-11-02 08:13:17 -0700

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