Gleanings

If your neighbourhood has a problem, such as lack of GPs, you can choose to ride with reality or make waves.

In Canberra's north, the frustrated citizens are choosing action over inertia and, in doing so, are finding a solution in one of our oldest institutions – the co-operative.

The recent financial crises in several parts of the world have been followed by a wave of bankruptcies that has taken a heavy toll on workers, business owners and communities. Financial crises and the credit crunch they provoke often lead to the closure of enterprises that are viable and have economic potential, but lack liquidity. This situation has led workers in various countries to respond to these situations by pooling their resources to recapitalize their failing workplaces and operate them in a cooperative mode.

“I would prefer to sell this business to my employees, but an ’employee stock ownership plan’ (ESOP) sounds too complicated for a small business like this one.

“I’ve been reading online about ‘worker’s co-operatives’ that can be set up using a limited liability company (LLC), but as I understand them LLCs cannot retain earnings — everything must be distributed to the owners at year-end, which would prevent this business from growing over time.

“Could you please address this in one of your future columns?”

Santa Ana has become the first city in Orange County to adopt a resolution supporting worker cooperatives – businesses owned and operated solely by their workers, who also share profits.

The resolution to support the development and growth of the cooperatives passed on a 5-0 vote at the Santa Ana City Council on Tuesday night, Aug. 1, with David Benavides and Sal Tinajero absent.

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