OAKLAND, CA (September 8, 2015) — The day after Labor Day, Oakland City Council made a bold proclamation in support of democratic and equitable workplaces, passing the “Resolution Supporting the Development of Worker Cooperatives In Oakland.” The Sustainable Economies Law Center championed this resolution in partnership with District 4 Councilmember Annie Campbell Washington, Council President and District 3 Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney, and many organizational partners and allies.Read more
32 specific policy recommendations that enable communities to remove barriers to sharing and realize the benefits of the sharing economy in food, jobs, housing, and transportation. View in window below or click here to download PDF.
Along with a coalition of organizations and currency supporters across California, Sustainable Economies Law Center has advocated to remove California Corporations Code Section 107, which states "[n]o corporation, flexible purpose corporation, association or individual shall issue or put in circulation, as money, anything but the lawful money of the United States."
In June 2014, California took a significant step toward further legitimizing the creation and circulation of community currencies and other innovative means of exchange with the California Alternative Currencies Act (AB 129). Signed into law by Gov. Brown, AB 129 repeals the outdated and vague Section 107 of the California Corporations Code, thus removing a significant legal barrier to the continued growth of the community currencies movement.
SELC's Community Currencies Advocacy
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.
Policy Advocacy, Reports, & Recommendations
We develop innovative policy recommendations and spearhead legislative campaigns that enable more localized, just, and resilient economies. Ready to be a Policymaker in Your City or State?
We want to empower you to make policy! To create economically resilient communities, we need to change or create countless local, regional, state, and federal laws. These new laws would remove barriers to and create incentives for local food production, renewable energy projects, local industry, worker-owned enterprises, shared housing, and other aspects of thriving communities.
Local Worker Cooperative Ordinances
Homes for Communities Not Corporations
Policy Reports and Recommendations
Check out our policy reports below and/or read about our transformative policymakers program here.
In the midst of a pandemic and transformative moment for civil rights in this country, the Worker-Owned Recovery California (WORC) Coalition raced against the clock to intervene in California's state budget bill. The Law Center is a member of this coalition, and our Policy Director, Yassi Eskandari, is its coordinator. WORC's goal for this campaign was to ensure that worker-owned businesses were included in California's economic recovery efforts and, to that end, WORC advocated for $10M to fund education, technical assistance, and forgivable loans to businesses that transition to worker ownership.
This budget request was submitted for the June 15, 2020 budget with the backing of State Assemblymembers Chu, Kalra, Gonzalez, Limón, Bloom, Bonta, and Chiu, in order preserve the economic backbone of our state, reward both workers and selling business owners, and set California on the path to a more equitable economy.
Considering all the legal drama that is happening in California with Uber and Lyft around worker classification, here's a reminder of how things could be if those ridesharing giants were cooperatives instead.
"Instead of optimizing the online economy for growth and short-term profits for the few," the emerging Platform Cooperative movement is trying to build a more sustainable and equitable business model for the 21st century.
Learn more in this case study of Arcade City in Austin, Texas, written by our Transportation Researcher Adam Stocker and our Cooperatives Attorney Sara Stephens.
Short-term residential rentals, like those facilitated by online platforms like Airbnb, Homeaway, and Flipkey, have become a popular alternative to traditional hotels.
Increased short-term rental (STR) activity has exacerbated many municipal issues, including neighborhood quality; access, availability, and cost of housing; and decreased public revenues. Short-term rentals can also provide some benefits, including creating opportunities for income generation; diversifying travel options; and spreading tourism dollars to local residents and businesses.
Our recommendations for equitable short-term rental regulation balance the potential benefits of STRs with the need to protect public interests.
Worker cooperatives create quality jobs, grow local wealth, and promote economic resilience. Local governments can be instrumental in fostering the development of worker cooperatives by removing several key barriers and providing essential technical, strategic, and financial support.
We've drafted a worker cooperative development policy tailored to the city of Oakland, California, a perfect example of a city that could benefit from a thriving cooperative economy and everything that comes with it.
The ordinance can be easily tailored to fit the needs of any U.S. city, and we welcome inquiries from cities wishing to adopt a similar policy.
Policies for Shareable Cities is the first policy handbook of its kind.
It includes over 30 recommended policies for how cities should regulate the true sharing economy in the areas of food, work, housing, and transportation.
More on the Law Center's Advocacy in California
- 2020: We support a state California State Public Bank bill (AB 310) that would create a State Public Bank that can leverage its capital to build a just and equitable post-COVID economy. Read more about the bill here.
- The Law Center supports a California bill to establish the Nutrition Incentives Matching Grants Program (AB 1321) to create incentives for recipients of nutrition assistance programs (eg CalFRESH, food stamps) to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts at California farmers' markets and small retailers. Read more about it here.
- Sustainable Economies Law Center opposes bill to ban right of local government to tax short term rentals (AB 1220). Read our opposition letter here.
SELC Policy Director and Staff Attorney, Yassi Eskandari: yassi [at] theselc.org
Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) Comments on Proposed Rules under Food Safety Modernization Act
As you may have heard, the FDA released proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) earlier this year and the deadline to submit comments is this Friday, November 15. Many small-scale farmers, food processors and good food advocates have expressed concerns about how some of the language in the proposed rule is too vague and how some parts may be excessively burdensome on small food businesses.
Click here for a guide on how to submit comments produced by our friends at the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF). Note: the website where you can submit comments online has been malfunctioning this week so don't wait until the last minute to submit your comments. If you aren't able to access the site, keep trying, or if you hurry, you can mail your comments in time for them to arrive this Friday (see instructions at the link above).
Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) submitted the following comments:Read more
The Sustainable Living Research Ordinance (SLRO) provides Goleta local government with a regulatory pathway to enable residential sustainability projects and designs otherwise illegal under current law. The ordinance does so by designating a property as a "Sustainable Living Research Site," where practices including natural building, onsite wastewater treatment, and self-sustaining agricultural villages would be permitted uses.Read more