BERKELEY, CA (February 9, 2016) — On Tuesday, the City of Berkeley made a bold proclamation in support of democratic and equitable workplaces, passing City Councilmember Jesse Arreguín’s “Resolution Supporting the Development and Growth of Worker Cooperatives.”
Not merely a symbolic gesture, the resolution directs City staff to develop a substantive ordinance that supports and incentivizes the growth of worker cooperatives in Berkeley. The ordinance would 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.
By approving this resolution, “Berkeley now has the potential to become the first city in the nation to adopt an ordinance giving worker-owned businesses preference in city contracting and procurement,” stated Stanford Law student and Sustainable Economies Law Center legal volunteer, An-Li Herring. John Curl, member-owner of Berkeley-based Heartwood Cooperative Woodshop reflected, “Worker coops reflect the highest ideals of our city, combining social equity with practical economics, filling new job niches, creating sustainable positions for people from diverse backgrounds, and providing quality goods and services. With the City’s support, the entire community will become more aware of the great work that locally owned and operated worker coops are doing and contributing to our economy and culture.”
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