[The following post comes from Brittany at the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies] Photo: Green Worker Coops
On Feb. 24, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA) proposed a list of recommendations the New York City Council could implement to cope with poverty, long-term joblessness, growing isolation of low-wage workers and unprecedented levels of income inequality.
The hearing began with testimony from New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS). Their recommendations to the City Council included reforming current underutilized business programs to fit the worker cooperative model and introducing the worker cooperative model into SBS basic business curriculum. In response one Council Member stated that she would like to see the NYCEDC allocated specific funding for worker cooperatives. Overall, both representatives from NYCEDC and SBS appeared supportive of the worker cooperative movement.
During the following testimonies the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, worker-owners, members of worker cooperative incubators and other supporters highlighted the benefits of worker cooperatives and the obstacles hindering their development in NYC. The City Council responded positively; commenting on the reevaluation of loan requirements to provide assistance to worker cooperatives, the possibility of a revolving loan program and called upon FPWA to determine exactly what legislation could be implemented to strengthen the progress of worker cooperatives.
Click here to read the FPWA Worker Coop Hearing Testimony
FPWA is eager to take the next step by determining the legislative changes necessary for the development of worker cooperatives. FPWA looks forward to working with government policy makers, workforce development organizations, academics from leading New York City institutions, union representatives, and community-level and grassroots organizations to discuss the worker cooperative model and how workplace democracy can address the continuing economic crisis, income disparity and poverty in New York City.