Building an economy that is truly just and resilient means putting worker ownership at the center of economic development policies. Local governments can play a critical role in cultivating a friendly policy environment for worker cooperative development. The question for cooperative advocates is, where do we start? This page provides some helpful resources for jump starting local campaigns to promote and remove barriers to worker-owned businesses.
The free advocacy materials available throughout this page are intended to help you start your own campaign! All of the content created and published by the Law Center is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Sample Worker Cooperative Ordinance
In 2015, the Sustainable Economies Law Center started building a sample "City Ordinance for the Promotion of Worker Cooperatives" with the support and collaboration of cooperative allies across the country. We used Oakland, California as a case city, and tailored the ordinance to fit Oakland's municipal code. By going through this exercise, we had created an ordinance that would lead to our local campaign, and created a model for others to use in other cities. To discuss the ordinance in more detail, please contact Sara Stephens.
>> Click here for the sample city ordinance.
>> Click here for the sample city ordinance summary.
Informational Packet for Local Government Leaders
In collaboration with our partners, we have compiled an informational packet aimed at educating local legislators about worker cooperatives and their local economic development benefits. We offer this here for cooperative advocates who aim to introduce policies to promote cooperative economies.
Packet includes: What is worker cooperative, economic and social benefits, how local governments can support business conversions to worker ownership, and more!
>> Click here for the informational packet.
Click here for updates and milestones from our Berkeley campaign.
Following on the heels of the Oakland Resolution Supporting Worker Cooperative Development, the Sustainable Economies Law Center and our allies worked with then Berkeley City Council member (now Mayor) Jesse Arreguín to develop a Berkeley resolution to promote worker cooperatives.
On February 9, 2016, Berkeley City Council unanimously voted in favor of the resolution. Not merely a symbolic gesture, Berkeley's resolution directs City staff to develop a comprehensive policy package that supports and incentivizes the growth of local worker-owned cooperatives. The policy package would, at minimum, add a worker cooperative preference to the existing Buy Local contracting preference, create business tax and land use incentives for worker cooperatives, and develop cooperative-specific educational materials to supplement the City’s business support services.
Visit our press release page to read about major campaign milestones from 2016 to present. Highlights include a $100,000 budget appropriation for worker cooperative technical assistance and innovative changes to the City's revolving loan fund to expand business lending to worker cooperatives.
>> Click here for the Berkeley City Ordinance. Check out our two page summary of the Berkeley ordinance here.
>> Click here for the Berkeley City Council resolution and informational packet we provided to Berkeley City Council.
The Sustainable Economies Law Center worked with Oakland City council members and a coalition of supporters to introduce a Resolution Supporting the Development of Worker Cooperatives on September 8th, 2015. This resolution was an important step toward adopting a more substantial policy in that it publicly recognized the positive impact of the local worker cooperative ecosystem, and built momentum for the ordinance, which will be introduced in 2017.
>> Click here for the press release for the resolution's passage.
>> Click here for the text of the Oakland City Council Resolution.
>> Click here to watch the resolution hearing (fast forward to minute 52)!
Other Policy Tools and Campaigns
Worker cooperative legislation is spreading like wildfire as cities and states recognize the profound positive role worker cooperatives play on the individual and community levels.
For information on policy efforts across the country, we recommend visitng the Democracy at Work Institute's Becoming Employee Owned, Community Economic Development, and Tools for Communities.
Stay Informed and Join the Movement
Do you want to stay up to date with our city policy work promoting resilient economies and worker cooperatives? Do you want to join the movement of worker coop policy activists pushing for an economy that is truly just? Sign up below to hear important updates and calls to action!
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