After three years of dedicated work, we're deeply gratified to reach this major milestone. At the same time, we'd like to acknowledge the wonderful support that we've received over the years from the worker cooperative community at the local, regional and national levels. If not for meeting the great folks at the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy, the National Worker Cooperative Conference, Green Worker Cooperatives, and the NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives, we sincerely don't believe that this dream would have become a reality. We'd also like to recognize the good faith extended to us by our lawyer Jenny Kassan at Cutting Edge Capital.
In our experience, worker cooperators are often slightly startled at the thought of "going public." There are certainly good reasons for concern. However, some worker-controlled enterprises have successfully negotiated the complications of outside investment. To take one outstanding example, Equal Exchange issued worker coop stock to 500 investors in Massachusetts.
In short, it is our imperative that voting control and profit remain in the hands of workers. For us, to quote David Ellerman, these are the "two legs" of worker ownership. At the same time, we don't believe that outside investment necessarily interferes with worker control—in principle or in practice.
Finally, if worker control is to have any substantial impact on the economy—and on the manner in which we live our everyday lives—we suspect that worker cooperatives will need to interact with capital markets. Worker-owner investments, outside donations, and bank loans are very powerful tools. However, to achieve a true cooperative commonwealth, to grow our worker coops from wonderful little pizza shops and cleaning coops into multi-million dollar nationwide enterprises, we think it likewise essential to expand our tool set.
That being said, Workers Diner's direct public offering is merely one experiment. At most, it will make available one new tool for worker cooperators and developers. In that spirit of experimentation, and guided by a common moral sense that human servitude is ignoble at best, and physically and psychologically devastating in its worst instances, we hope that you will continue to support us—by word of mouth, through social media, and with your well wishes.
If you do live in New York or Connecticut, and you are 18 or over, then please also consider whether you would like to make a personal investment in the future of Workers Diner. To purchase shares, simply: 1) view our prospectus and 2) complete your purchase electronically. Shares are $25 each, with a four share minimum.
If you have further questions, or if you would like to find out how else you can help, please email us or call (212) 678-2397.
And please stay tuned for details about our upcoming May Day launch party at the Brecht Forum!