While economic development priorities should be to retain local businesses that recycle profits into the community, corporations will continue to be attracted to San Francisco, some good, responsible partners, and others who just use our good name and leave. San Francisco needs to develop a code for Industrial Retention and Corporate Responsibility. This may include:
1. Enforce local hiring policies
Local hiring policies, tied to workforce development programs, similar to the Development Standards discussed above, should be rigorously enforced.
2. Create “Clawback” regulations for any corporation receiving City subsidy
Clawbacks for any tax-breaks, “enterprise zones,” subsidies and incentives, zoning adjustments, etc., when a corporation decides to leave after receiving public support of any kind.
3. Create Layoff and Closure Mitigations
The City should sign contracts with corporations when they move in (like Hershey Corporation buying out locally-owned Joseph Schmidt chocolatier), outlining their community obligations. During the 80s era of plant closures, at least 10 state legislatures considered bills that would have required corporations to give one to two years notice to the community before closure.[i]
4. Explore City-funded buyout policies
City buyout policy of idled plant site and equipment, etc. For example, why couldn’t the city facilitate someone like La Cocina or another insitution taking over the closed Hershey’s / Joseph Schmidt plant. The City could consider laws requiring businesses considering shutdown to offer workers or other investors in the community the option to buy the factory. Examples: Pittsburgh passed an ordinance mandating that firms about to close issue an economic-impact statement exploring alternatives, including the possibility of an employee buyout. Washington State considered a social compact bill that would have given communities and workers the “right of first refusal” to be the purchaser of a plant about to be closed. Illinois, Michigan, and California have funds to assist with worker buyouts. Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania allow eminent domain takeovers whenever a plant closure or relocation will adversely affect the local economy.
[i] Michael Shuman, Going Local.