Worker co-op bill means more Rhode Islanders can own businesses

By Aran Valente on October 23, 2017

On September 19, 2017 the Rhode Island General Assembly passed Senator Donna Nesslebush’s Senate Bill 0676 Sub A and Representative Shelby Maldonado’s House Bill H6155, “Corporations, Associations, and Partnerships.” The bill will be signed officially by Governor Raimondo on October 25, 2017 at Fuerza Laboral in Central Falls.

The bill “creates a statutory vehicle for the creation of worker owned cooperatives.” A worker owned cooperative is a business entity that is owned and controlled by the people who actually perform the work, and profit is delivered in the form of wages. Employees, rather than a sole proprietor or CEO, would make business decisions through a democratic process. US News reported, on June 2, 2017, that when worker owned cooperative legislation is signed, startup companies could file a certificate of incorporation to become a cooperative. According to the bill, worker owned cooperatives function on the principle of one person one vote.

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