From New York to Oakland, CA, city governments support worker co-ops

Highlighting new developments in expanding local legislation and funding towards worker cooperatives, Michelle Stearn writes for The Democracy Collaborative, a non-profit dedicated to building community wealth.

Carmen Arroyo and Helen Rosenthal celebrate the New York City Council's advancements in establishing the Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative.

Carmen Arroyo and Helen Rosenthal celebrate the New York City Council's advancements in establishing the Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative.

New York City has raised the bar for municipal involvement in worker cooperative development beyond mere symbolic support by allocating specific funds towards worker cooperative initiatives. Back in June of 2014, the City Council of New York gave a major nod to the worker cooperative movement by allocating $1.2 million towards establishing a “Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative.” As the impact of this funding has begun to pour in, the New York government upped the ante in June of this year by nearly doubling its contributions to the initiative, announcing that it would “invest an additional $2.1 million to expand the Council’s successful Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative and create 22 new worker cooperatives.”

This increase in funding took into account immensely positive results highlighted in the initiative’s first annual review, which found that in the first year the initiative helped to collaborative and improve upward social mobility in 11 existing organizations, extended training opportunities to 1,282 entrepreneurs, and aided in the establishment 21 new worker co-ops, which in turn have created 141 worker owner positions (see graphic below). As the funding distribution continues to take effect, monitoring these partnerships will shed light on just how far-reaching the initiatives can be...

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