most people "CoOp" brings to mind a local health food store
which is owned and run by its members. This is only one example
of a cooperative. Cooperatives - community or employee owned
businesses or groups - can be formed for businesses of any kind,
including cooperative banks (called credit unions), insurance
and health care companies, day care, agricultural distribution
and housing co-ops. Cooperatives are much more popular than
most people realize -- almost a third of American farmers' products
are marketed through cooperatives, half of the electricity in
rural areas comes from rural electric cooperatives and more
than 70 million Americans use credit unions!
mistrust of corporations grows in America, the cooperative core values of honesty,
openness, democracy, social responsibility, and putting people before profits,
is attracting more to consider the CoOp model. More than half a million American
workers have chosen to take control of their lives and economic choices by being
part of employee-owned businesses. Welch's, Sunkist, ACE Hardware and the Associated
Press are just some of the many employee-owned companies.
cooperative movement is growing throughout the world. The International Cooperative
Alliance (ICA) was formed in 1895 - today it has more than 200 participating organizations
with over 800 million members in nearly 100 countries! In 1994, the ICA and International
Labor Organization (ILO) launched a global co-operative campaign against poverty,
Co-operating Out Of Poverty, urging the worldwide cooperative movement to work
together to fight poverty by helping the poor to form cooperatives.
Day has been celebrated on the first Saturday in July since 1927 to help promote
the cooperative movement and the concept of cooperatives as an important community-building
and economic model. Since 1930, October has been observed in America as National
Co-Op Month to further promote the importance of cooperatives.