Governor signs Maldonado, Nesselbush legislation that would pave the way for workers’ cooperatives
STATE HOUSE — Gov. Gina Raimondo today ceremonially signed legislation introduced by Rep. Shelby Maldonado (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) and Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence) that creates a statutory vehicle for the creation and functioning of workers’ cooperatives. The bill signing took place at Fuerza Laboral in Central Falls.
The bill (2017-H 6155Aaa, 2017-S 0676Aaa) incentivizes workers to create enterprises that are democratically controlled and operated by their own workers.
“Workers’ cooperatives increase productivity by empowering workers,” said Representative Maldonado. “This is a good business model for the community because it provides a system more concerned with the welfare of its workers than in short-term profits. It’s also better economically for the state because we’ll have more people employed and making more money.”
The act also allows 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.
“This legislation is about empowering workers and lifting hard-working people toward the American Dream,” said Senator Nesselbush. “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.”
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.
Those who advocate for worker-owned cooperatives believe 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.
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903