In June 2014, New York City Council made the largest pledge of government support for worker cooperative business development in U.S. history. At $1.2 million, the NYC Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative will fund a community of nonprofit support providers to build new businesses, support existing businesses, and expand the promise of workplace democracy to hundreds of low-income residents throughout the five boroughs.
“Often times minimum- and low-wage jobs do not provide enough of an economic boost to provide upward mobility for many New Yorkers. Worker cooperatives are designed to help build assets and wealth among low-income individuals and communities, and create entrepreneurs and community leaders. This initiative will target the long-term unemployed and the growing number of under-employed and discouraged workers in high-needs neighborhoods.”
— New York City Council
Dedicated funding will also support the transition of existing businesses to democratic employee ownership–which thereby preserves jobs for New York City residents and improves job quality.
In addition, Mayor de Blasio, Public Advocate James, and Manhattan Borough President Brewer issued proclamations in support of NYC NOWC and workplace democracy. They also announced official recognition of “NYC Worker Cooperative Day” on June 21, 2014.
Finally, over the past year, NYC NOWC and other community partners have engaged in detailed discussions with NYC Small Business Services, NYC Economic Development Corporation, and City Council Members to improve City support for worker cooperative businesses and to expand contracting opportunities for democratic employee-owned businesses.
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