NCBA backs call for state investment in California’s worker co-ops

Worker ownership can help to address the retirement of baby boomers, particularly in the context of the Covid-19 crisis, says the group

The National Co-operative Business Administration (NCBA Clusa) has joined a campaign asking California lawmakers to support businesses transitions to worker ownership.

The apex body signed a letter led by the Worker-Owned Recovery California (WORC) Coalition, which is asking the leaders of the state legistlature’s budget committee to make a one-off $10m investment in “education, technical assistance, and forgivable loans to businesses that transition to worker ownership”.

The coalition was formed to push a state policy agenda that addresses the economic problems brought by the Covid-19 economic crisis and the retirement of baby boomer business owners.

The campaign is backed by 16 organisations, including the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, the Democracy at Work Institute, the California Center for Cooperative Development, the Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives, and A Slice of New York Pizza.

Six California assembly members have also sent a letter to the committee requesting a one-time investment of $10M into worker ownership. They warn that California is at risk of losing nearly 1.7 million small businesses.

“Amidst the dual crises of Covid-19 and the silver tsunami , small business owners are looking for an exit,” says the letter, signed by Kansen Chu, Ash Kalra, Lorena Gonzalez, Monique Limon, Richard Bloom, and Rob Bonta.

“Rather than selling to large, out-of-state buyers or simply closing their doors for good, business owners can find willing buyers in the people who work alongside them every day, their workers. The State of California can support struggling business owners and workers by supporting the transition of companies to worker ownership. Doing so will anchor essential production and services in communities, save jobs, and save the State money.”