Berkeley 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.
On Tuesday, Feb. 9, Berkeley City Councilman Jesse Arreguín (District 4) will introduce a resolution to draft the ordinance, which could also provide tax incentives and educational resources to worker cooperatives.
Arreguín hopes to broaden support in the East Bay for the development of cooperative businesses owned and controlled by workers. Last September, the Oakland City Council passed a resolution similar to Arreguín’s, and in 2012, the City of Richmond funded a pilot project to test development strategies for worker-owned enterprises.
The Berkeley City Council should sustain this momentum by passing Arreguín’s worker cooperative resolution. At a time when income inequality in our region remains severe – the third worst in the nation according to a Brookings Institution study released last month – council members should embrace worker cooperatives for the economic benefits they promise for all segments of the population.
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