It is truly remarkable that while we have society that claims to uphold democracy, we have managed to leave it out of the place where most spend the majority of their lives… the workplace. The truth is, majority of businesses are structured in a way that is the antithesis of democracy. The decisions flow down from wealthy executives, after being affirmed by a wealthy board of shareholders, through a layer of bureaucratic management systems that then dictates the delivery of those goals to the bulk of the employment, the workers. Workers whose labor produces almost all of the value, yet see a ever shrinking piece of the pie and constantly find themselves at the mercy of those at the top.

If the executives and their shareholders, in their quest for higher and higher profits each quarter, decide that outsourcing the jobs to another state or country is more profitable, they can do so and the workers are left helpless. Leaving the communities and families that relied on those jobs wiped out because while capital can always move, labor cannot.

One solution to this all to common situation is simple; run the businesses as worker owned cooperatives. I visited Mondragon, Spain, in 2010 when I was mayor of Richmond, to learn more about this alternative economic model. Mondragon is known as the world capital of worker-owned co-ops. The Mondragon co-op strategy began in the 1950s and has grown to become a federation of 120 co-ops with over 74,000 employees. It is now a multi-billion dollar business in Spain. And very importantly, the workers actually make their own decisions with the principle of one worker, one vote. Instead of a small handful of likely already wealthy owners reaping in the fruits of labor, the workers can decide how they share the profits they created. When the company is doing well they can give themselves raises, and better hours and when times are tight, everyone could choose a cut to still keep the doors open, and retain employment. Worker co-ops are revolutionary because they give people economic control of their communities, which creates healthier and more successful communities.

In Richmond we began looking into worker co-ops and local activists got the ball rolling by creating the Richmond Worker Cooperative Revolving Loan Fund. This fund looks to provide low interest loans to individuals looking to start a cooperative in Richmond. Often getting this financial support from private banks is difficult, even though co-ops have a record of being more productive than traditional businesses.​ As Lt. Governor, I will fight to provide funding for worker co-ops across the state, and one of the best ways would be through the creation of a Public Bank of California.

Far too often our ideas are treated as giveaways, and freebies, even though this is the farthest thing from the truth. Instead of giving more goodies to corporations, we are investing in our communities and giving them the opportunity to succeed. That is what my corporate free, people first movement is about, and we are exciting the 99% across California with that message. People are ready to have someone who represents them, not the donor class. Your donation is what expands our reach and will allow us to turnout the hundreds of thousands of voters we need to win in June. Every dollar you give allows us to text and call 60 voters. Contribute today and power our outreach!

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