When you’re part of a co-op you’re part of a movement.
A cooperative is a business operated and democratically controlled by its membership of Owners to meet their common needs and aspirations. For the states in the US that do have a separate legal entity for worker cooperatives, there are some additional requirements that make our companies different than your standard c-corp or s-corp. One of those requirements is adhering to the seven cooperative principles that guide this resurgent worker cooperative movement.
Six of these principles were drafted by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) in 1966, based on guidelines written by the founders of the modern cooperative movement in England in 1844. In 1995, the ICA restated, expanded and adopted the 1966 principles to guide cooperative organizations into the 21st Century.
The fine folks at Good Good Work strive to embody these principles in our work with clients and one another. Here they are…
The core principles
1. Voluntary, Open Ownership
Open to all without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination. You may shop, you may join, and you may leave the co-op at any time.
2. Democratic Owner Control
One Owner, one vote. Your voice will be heard.
3. Owner Economic Participation
Owners contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. The economic benefits of a cooperative operation are returned to the Owners, reinvested in the co-op, or used to provide Owner services. You control the capital.
4. Autonomy And Independence
Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their Owners. Together, you are autonomous.
5. Education, Training And Information
Cooperatives provide education and training for Owners so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperation. You can develop yourself into the consumer you want to be.
6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their Owners most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, regional, national and international structures. You are more successful when you cooperate with others who know how to cooperate.
7. Concern For The Community
While focusing on Owner needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their Owners. You can do something for the community even as you keep succeeding.
Resources for cooperatives
- This table has more info on state-specific cooperative policies in AL, CT, DE, ME, MA, NY, OR, VT, and WA.
- This website has more in-depth legal info and resources for CA, CO, MA, NC, and TX.
- You can always reach out to Jason Wiener|p.c. for resources and legal guidance.
A good portion of this text was pulled from the Willy Street Co-op blog