Berkeley City Council Adopts Budget Referral for Worker Coop Development

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BERKELEY, CA -- Last night, Berkeley City Council approved a budget referral that would commit $80,000 per year for two years to worker cooperative development services. The final number is still subject to change until the budget process draws to a close on June 25th. If adopted, this will be the City’s biggest investment in worker cooperatives to-date.

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Sustainable Economies Law Center and partners preparing for public comment. Left to right: Yassi Eskandari (Policy Director at the Law Center), Foresta Sieck-Hill (Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives), Laura Smoot (US Federation of Worker Cooperatives), Alison Lingane (Project Equity). 

Authored by Mayor Jesse Arreguin, the budget referral provides the full amount that the Sustainable Economies Law Center and its allies requested of Council earlier this year. The funds would enable expansion of the scope and duration of existing technical assistance services for business succession planning and worker cooperative conversion, and establish new programs to support startup worker cooperative businesses.

Yassi Eskandari, Policy Director at the Law Center, is optimistic that the line item for worker cooperatives will be adopted into the final budget next month. "Worker cooperatives and efforts to support them have received enthusiastic reception from Council in recent years," Eskandari noted. Just last night, three Councilmembers (Davila, Bartlett, Harrison) rushed to co-sponsor Mayor Jesse Arreguin’s budget item — maxing out the number of possible co-sponsorships and minimizing the chances that the item would receive pushback down the line.

Questions? Contact Yassi Eskandari at 805-637-2734 / yassi@theselc.org 

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