Low-Income and Immigrant Worker Cooperative Formation
6 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2016
Date Written: October 7, 2016
Cooperatives are member-based organizations, governed by democratic ownership principles where each member has one vote. They are governed by elected boards of directors, and often run by professional managers. Directors are elected by voting members. Cooperatives exist to provide some economic advantage to members or patrons. Typically all members are patrons, but not all patrons have to be members.
In cooperative businesses, capital is subordinated to labor. That means that control is shared based on membership and profits are allocated based on one's patronage of the co-op. Dividends are not allocated based on capital invested. In this regard cooperatives are dissimilar to typical corporate entities. This structure assures that the contribution of labor to the enterprise is put on par with capital contributions.
In general, members all contribute the same amount of capital through purchasing a membership share. The cooperative will set the cost of the membership share which remains constant. The membership share is not like a typical corporate share since it generally cannot be freely sold, its value does not fluctuate based on the value of the cooperative, and it can only be held by a member.
Keywords: Worker cooperatives, cooperatives, community economic development, community development
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