Worker-owners of co-ops like Hurd's have been active in pushing Berkeley and Oakland to provide city support for co-op development through the Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives (or NOBAWC, which they pronounce "no boss.") "People's lives are changed by working in a worker co-op," said former co-op member Foresta Sieck-Hill, now a network staffer. "There's personal growth and the potential to contribute to the local community. Think about the Cheeseboard. What a gift to work as a baker: make a living wage, and be surrounded by this vibrant community. Most people who work in restaurants work for slave wages for someone who doesn't appreciate them."
Last week, the Cheeseboard's longtime home committed to a new strategy for fighting economic inequality and building the local economy: city support for worker cooperatives. The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously on Fe.26 to include co-ops in the city's small-business revolving loan fund; give co-ops, along with women- and minority-owned businesses, preference for city contracts; and provide ongoing technical assistance to help existing small businesses convert to worker cooperatives.
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