Membership with the Co-op
“Cooperatives are people-centred enterprises owned, controlled and run by and for their members to realise their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations.”
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.
Membership in Comrade Cooperative is time-based as opposed to dues-based. Members must participate in 3 actions or give 6 hours of time per month to gain and retain membership. Actions consist of the different work we do; cooking, distributing, admin work, zine work, seed planting for the Gardener’s Market, tabling the Gardener’s Market, social media help, etc. The volunteer time can be averaged over the course of 3 months to provide flexibility to members and to allow for easy quarterly evaluations of membership. In 3 months time, members will volunteer 9 separate times or for 18 hours total.
Barring any problematic behavior, or concerns from existing co-op members, if folks have hit the volunteer minimums for 3 months they can apply to become members of Comrade Cooperative. Membership is retained by continuing to hit the volunteer minimums.
If a member doesn’t meet the volunteer minimums one quarter, they will be given another quarter to meet them. If after two consecutive quarters they have not met the minimum volunteer time, membership retention will be discussed amongst all cooperative 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