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4/12/2017 Sen. Nesselbush and Rep. Craven hold press conference with Fuerza Laboral about workers’ co-op legislation
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence) and Rep. Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown) were joined by Fuerza Laboral today for a press conference in the Senate Lounge regarding legislation (2017-S 0676 / 2017-H 6001) to create a statutory vehicle for the creation and functioning of workers' cooperatives.  Workers' cooperatives are corporations that are owned and democratically governed by their members.

“This legislation is about empowering workers and lifting hard-working people toward the American Dream.  Worker cooperatives strengthen the community and provide workers with a direct means of bettering one’s life by having a true financial role and stake in their daily jobs.  Our state could use more of these innovative corporations and I fully support any effort to establish more of these employee-owned corporations,” said Senator Nesselbush.    

“Through workers cooperatives, studies have shown increased worker productivity as the idea of these co-ops is to provide long term financial mobility for each member-owner.  The co-ops are more concerned with providing lasting and meaningful employment to its members rather than short-term profits.  This model is better for the community, it’s better for the workers, and it’s better for our state
economy with more people working and making more money,” said Representative Craven.

The act would also allow any corporation to elect to become a workers' cooperative by so stating in its certificate of incorporation, or in its amendments to its certificate of incorporation.

Worker-owned cooperatives are business enterprises that are owned and governed by their employees. All worker cooperatives have two common characteristics, member-owners invest in and own the business together, and share the enterprise’s profits, and, decision-making is democratic, with each member having one vote.

Fuerza Laboral has long advocated for worker-owned cooperatives, believing that if workers themselves control their own economic destiny through worker co-ops, the jobs created would provide living-wage, quality jobs to those who are most vulnerable to income inequality.

Founded in 2006, Fuerza Laboral is a workers' rights center in Central Falls, Rhode Island that educates and trains workers in their rights, and organizes workers to become community leaders toward fighting social injustices.

Senator Nesselbush’s legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on Labor and Representative Craven’s bill has been referred to the House Committee on Corporations.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903