"In the spirit of the Community Congress’s vision of a more stable, just and sustainable economy, we are requesting that the City of San Francisco show progressive leadership in these tough fiscal times by supporting the continued growth of the local worker cooperative businesses community. San Francisco has often led the way towards a progressive agenda in this country. From its stand on the moral and legal imperative of fair marriage laws, or through providing access to health care to all, San Francisco has been a progressive leader. The current challenges brought on by budget shortfalls should be a resounding signal that this city needs to reorient its vision of economic development. Although these are hard times, this is an opportunity for San Francisco to continue to show leadership by supporting the worker cooperative community to realize a new model of economic sustainability.
The worker cooperative model is a business form well-suited to the diverse needs of urban areas and is already viable in a broad variety of sectors including manufacturing, service and retail. A key aspect of worker cooperative development is that its goal is not just the creation of jobs—it is also about making business ownership accessible. Jobs come and go as corporations with no local commitments follow their bottom line. But worker ownership leads to asset-building in our communities, and has the potential to be the basis of a resilient economic system that is able to transcend hard times.
At the Community Congress, we will be presenting our proposals under two broad requests of the city. The first being that the city officially recognize the worker cooperative model as both viable and preferable, and include it in the city’s various efforts of economic development. And secondly that the city take a leadership role in re-imagining what a vibrant economy could look like and begin to promote worker cooperatives as central to that vision."
The platform, in brief:
Adopt the worker cooperative model for economic development on an equal basis with other business models
- Include worker cooperatives as a viable and sustainable business model in all relevant city literature
- Support worker cooperative incubation & technical assistance
- Ensure that the representatives on the SF Small Business Commission are knowledgeable about worker cooperatives
- Support the inclusion of worker cooperatives in educational and vocational curriculum
- Educate the public about worker cooperatives as a viable and sustainable business model
Prioritize worker cooperatives as a preferable model of doing business
- Prioritize procurement of goods and services from local worker cooperatives
- Finance worker cooperatives through a revolving loan fund, whose capital is provided by city money through a Municipal Bank
- Encourage conversion to the worker cooperative business model as a viable option while advising small businesses with their succession planning
- Create a Worker Co-op Track in the Office of Economic and Workplace Development’s (OEWD) Industry Initiative Program that focuses on the creation of cooperatively owned “back-street” businesses
- Promote worker cooperatives as a viable and sustainable business model within the various OEWD industry tracks
- Consider place-based worker cooperatives development as a primary way to rejuvenate a low-income neighborhood’s economy
- Encourage the SF Board of Education to develop democratically-run and unionized charter schools