Progressives Pass Bill to Support Worker Co-operatives

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Wayne Ho, FPWA with Prime Sponsors CMs Rosenthal and Menchaca

Intro. 423 was voted on by the Council today and will require the city to report on the number of city contracts awarded to worker cooperatives and the number of worker cooperatives that received assistance from the Department of Small Business Services (SBS). Worker cooperatives are owned and managed democratically by their employees — in other words, every employee owns an equal share of the business and plays an equal role in the business’ decision-making. Worker cooperatives tend to provide higher wages, better hours, and more job security to workers than other small businesses. New York City currently has about 23 worker coops, ranging from a bed and breakfast, a bakery, child care, cleaning services, dog walkers, catering companies and restaurants, web design, and more. The passage of Intro. 423 follows Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo’s Community Development Committee hearing bringing the opportunity of worker cooperatives to light as well as the city’s funding of the Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative, which allocated $1.2 million to the development of worker cooperatives across the city in the FY15 budget. This initiative has already led to the creation of new businesses and jobs in New York City. Full Release

WHAT PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS MEMBERS SAY: 

“We live in a world where CEO’s live in luxury and their workers depend on food stamps to get groceries,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. “It doesn’t have to be this way. Worker co-operatives treat every worker equally, with good wages, stable hours, and an equal share of the business. Worker co-operatives can help lift people from dead-end jobs into the middle class. I am committed to finding ways for the City to support and expand worker co-operatives, and that starts with my bill, Int. 423-A, which requires the Department of Small Business Services to report on how it engages with and supports these businesses.”

“The potential contribution of worker cooperatives to the continued economic growth of our City cannot be understated,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. ” In fact, already existing cooperatives have proven that business models focused on worker enfranchisement—especially for women and people of color—yield great results both economically, and in terms of civic engagement. It is not lost on me as Chair of the Committee on Immigration that worker cooperatives are largely made up of otherwise low-income workers, many of them immigrants. I am proud to be working alongside Council-Members Rosenthal and Arroyo, and all of my Council colleagues, to ensure that we fully understand the universe of cooperatives that exist in relation to the City’s contracts, and how we can better use them as partners in conducting business.”

“Our city’s policies need to not only address affordable housing, but also connect people who live in that housing to good quality job opportunities,” said  Co-Chair, Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “Worker co-operatives put control in the hands of working people, provide good wages and, create opportunities for entrepreneurs. The Worker Co-op Initiative and Intro 423 will help us to support co-ops that already exist and foster development of new ones, extending these opportunities to many more working people.”

IN THE NEWS

Labor Press: City Council Boosts Worker Cooperatives 

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About nycprogressives

The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council is dedicated to creating a more just and equal New York City, combating all forms of discrimination, and advancing public policies that offer genuine opportunity to all New Yorkers, especially those who have been left out of our society’s prosperity.
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