Membership with the Co-op
“Cooperatives are people-centered enterprises owned, controlled and run by and for their members to realize their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations.” Quote from ICA
Cooperatives exist to provide a democratic alternative to the typical hierarchical structure most businesses and organizations function under. Cooperatives give every member an equal share in the decision making processes regardless of the resources they put into the cooperative. In most cases, the resource is money or shares, but in our case the resource in question is our time and labor.
What does it mean to be a member? How is this different from a volunteer?
A volunteer is someone who participates in any kind of action in connection with the Comrade Cooperative, whether by cooking, distribution, or picking up ingredients or resources. A volunteer is able to participate in as many or as few actions as they like, and can get further engaged in the group by joining meetings.
A member is someone who participates in actions and attends meetings on a semi-regular basis. For this reason, they are able to take a more active role in the ongoing administration of the Cooperative. In practical terms, this means Members commit to:
Participating in 2 actions every 3 months. Actions include cooks, distribution, ingredient or supplies pickups
Attending at least 1 meeting every 3 months. Members should be active participants in meetings, taking on action items where necessary.
Being an active part of the Members’ Signal chat. Members respond to requests in the chat in a relatively timely fashion wherever possible
Upholding the Comrade Coop Core Values and Community Agreements
Members are then able to:
Have a say in day-to-day financial decisions for the Cooperative.
Participate in any ongoing discussions and decision-making around strategy and plans which take place between the monthly meetings
Membership in Comrade Cooperative is time-based as opposed to dues-based. Members must participate in 2 actions or give 6 hours of time every three months to gain and retain membership. Actions consist of the different work we do; cooking, distributing, administrative work, picking up ingredients or supplies, zine work, social media help, etc. The actions or time can be averaged over the course of three months to provide flexibility to members.
As the Cooperative grows, a steering committee or board of some sort may need to be created. All members will have the opportunity to run and vote for board members when that time comes. If and when we create bylaws or other formal organizational processes, all members will vote on them.
Written by Olive for Comrade Cooperative, February 2021
Updated by Nikki for Comrade Cooperative, July 2022
Interested in participating as a volunteer or becoming a member, fill out this form and we will follow up!