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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

The National Worker Cooperative Development and Support Act

The USFWC applauds Representative Ro Khanna (CA) and Rep. Jamaal Bowman (NY) on the introduction of the National Worker Cooperative Development and Support Act, which aims to promote and expand worker-owned cooperative businesses in the United States by endowing the Small Business Administration (SBA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of the Treasury, Department of Commerce, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Department of Labor (DOL) with responsibilities and authorities to implement programs and initiatives to support worker co-ops.

These include reviewing regulations and proposing revisions to remove barriers preventing the wide-adoption of the worker co-op model nationwide by facilitating access to capital, providing education/outreach/technical assistance, and conducting research on worker co-ops.

This bill has been developed and stewarded for many years by the USFWC, DAWI, and so many of its members through its Policy and Advocacy Member Council. Thanks to the continued support from Rep. Khanna, the National Worker Cooperative Development and Support Act will be a launch pad for worker co-ops in the United States. We hope to see it refined and supported by representatives on both sides of the aisle, along with other the worker ownership legislation that has seen a resurgence since 2018.

In addition, the bill establishes a United States Council on Worker Cooperatives within the Department of Labor. This interagency council will coordinate federal efforts relating to worker co-ops, develop a federal strategy to incorporate worker co-ops into economic development, identify regulatory barriers, propose solutions, coordinate research and data availability, coordinate educational initiatives, and report to Congress on progress and recommendations. 

Finally, the bill creates a small business lending pilot program through the SBA specifically for worker-owned cooperatives, providing $60 million in loans over 10 years and provides funding through the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund for education and services to establish and manage worker co-ops.

Read the rest at USFWC


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