/r/cooperatives

Photograph via snooOG

Here is a place for news and information about Cooperatives (Co-ops), Democratic Workplaces, Collectives, Communes, Intentional Communities, Eco-Villages, etc.

r/cooperatives Rules:

  1. Follow Reddit Content Policy

  2. Submissions must be explicitly about cooperatives. If it is so broad it could be posted over dozens of subreddits, it should not be posted here.

  3. Don't be a jerk, please don't swear. We are here because we love coops. Refrain from insults, attacks, bigotry, etc.

  4. No Memes. Please post memes to more specific subreddits.

  5. Low Effort Posting: many answers depend on context, location, etc. If you are asking a question, give at least a paragraph of context, please. Also remember there are Consumer, Worker, Hybrid type Cooperatives. Basic clarification on Wikipedia

  6. No surveys without moderator approval. Message the Moderators

  7. Any self-promotional or advertisement content (about Coops!) should be generally in a self-post and have the majority of content on reddit. Posting a self-promotional link with no further information in the comments or not replying to comments is low-effort and spammy.

Other Subreddits:

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Education & Development:

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/r/cooperatives

20,048 Subscribers

4

Considering bringing my business into Instacart

I’ve run my own coop in Philadelphia for a few years now and have been considering listing on Instacart to bring in some new business and hopefully gain some traction. I’ve heard a mixed bag of opinions and would love any advice on the process or pros/cons associated. Thanks in advance everyone!

0 Comments
2024/04/04
18:32 UTC

12

Worker Cooperatives: Expanding Democracy In The Workplace

0 Comments
2024/04/04
14:08 UTC

23

Proposal: InterCooperative Network (ICN) Platform

So, this has been stuck in my brain for months now. I want to do whatever it takes to make this happen. I'm seeking other members to join me on this quest. I know it's ambitious, but so am I.

https://github.com/fahertym/InterCooperative-Network

Proposal: InterCooperative Network (ICN) Platform

Executive Summary The InterCooperative Network (ICN) is an ambitious initiative aimed at harnessing digital technologies to foster innovation, collaboration and collective action within the cooperative movement across all sectors. The ICN will be a centralized yet democratically-governed platform providing an array of integrated tools and services to empower cooperatives to connect, share resources, access training, coordinate advocacy efforts and engage in transparent decision-making processes. This transformative platform has the potential to significantly strengthen cooperatives' resilience and amplify their socio-economic impact.

Vision & Objectives The core vision is to leverage the combined strengths of cooperatives globally through digital collaboration, enabling members to innovate together and thrive in an era of rapid change. Key objectives include:

  1. Facilitate seamless communication, knowledge sharing, resource pooling and dissemination of best practices between cooperatives.
  2. Promote cooperative entrepreneurship through joint venture support, collaborative project tools and dedicated online marketplaces.
  3. Provide a unified platform to coordinate advocacy campaigns, policy engagement and legislative monitoring for the cooperative sector.
  4. Enhance skills and capacity through an integrated e-learning portal offering courses on governance, sustainability and cooperative management.
  5. Uphold democratic principles by implementing transparent voting mechanisms reflecting the "one member, one vote" ethos.

Platform Features

Identity Management

  • Establish ICN as a central Identity Provider leveraging Keycloak, Gluu, or both
  • Implement federated identity management standards
  • Allow cooperatives to manage user identities securely

Cooperator Finder

  • User profiles specifying skills, interests, desired cooperative types
  • Intelligent matchmaking to connect potential co-founders
  • Guide new groups through cooperative registration as nodes on the ICN

Marketplace & B2B Exchange

  • Online platform for cooperatives to sell products/services
  • Support B2B procurement and transactions between cooperatives

Collaboration Hub

  • Communication channels (forums, chat, video conferencing)
  • Project management capabilities to coordinate collaborative initiatives

Data Analytics

  • Secure data pooling to enable benchmarking and strategic planning
  • Anonymized data exchange to derive sector-wide insights

Training Academy

  • E-courses covering governance, operations, financing and sustainability
  • Resources on cooperative principles, policies and best practices

Advocacy Center

  • Legislative monitoring and tools for coordinated advocacy campaigns
  • Centralized hub to amplify the voice of the cooperative movement

Governance Engine

  • Digital voting module for transparent decision-making processes
  • Mechanisms to propose changes, resolutions and board elections

Technical Architecture The platform will have a microservices-based, polyglot architecture:

  • Decentralized network of nodes operated by member cooperatives
  • Rust for high-performance and security-critical backend services
  • Python/Node.js for agile web app development
  • Container orchestration using Docker and Kubernetes
  • Potential use of blockchain, IPFS and decentralized storage
  • Integration with Keycloak for identity and access management
  • CI/CD pipelines for automated testing and deployment

Implementation Roadmap

Phase 1: Research & Planning

  • Stakeholder consultations to refine concept and features
  • Feasibility analysis of technical, financial and operational aspects

Phase 2: Design & Prototyping

  • Architect the platform prioritizing scalability, security and UX
  • Develop low and high-fidelity prototypes for user testing

Phase 3: MVP Development & Pilot

  • Agile build of a minimal viable product with core functionalities
  • Pilot deployment with a subset of cooperatives for feedback

Phase 4: Expansion & Ongoing Evolution

  • Platform-wide rollout and onboarding of cooperatives
  • Continuous enhancement based on user input and emerging needs

Governance Model The ICN will have a robust, multi-tiered governance structure:

  • General Assembly: Supreme body where all cooperatives convene annually
  • Board of Directors: Elected board to oversee strategic guidance
  • Advisory Committees: Expertise-driven committees providing recommendations
  • Operational Team: Dedicated professionals for implementation

The model allows for democratic participation of all members in key decisions while distributing responsibilities appropriately.

Funding Approach Aligned with cooperative principles of economic participation and democratic member control, a sustainable funding model will include:

  • Membership contributions from participating cooperatives
  • Grants from cooperative development funds and aligned organizations
  • Fair pricing for premium services with discounts for members
  • Partnership opportunities with academic institutions, think tanks, NGOs
  • Potential subsidization by national/regional cooperative bodies

This multi-stakeholder approach ensures the ICN remains an affordable and accessible utility owned and governed by its cooperative members.

Conclusion The InterCooperative Network has the potential to be a game-changer for the global cooperative movement. By blending digital collaboration capabilities with decentralized governance, the ICN can catalyze innovation, build resilience and amplify the socio-economic impact cooperatives deliver. This proposal lays out a comprehensive vision supported by a strong technological foundation and robust implementation plan. The cooperative community is invited to support this pioneering initiative to collectively shape a more empowered and unified future.

9 Comments
2024/04/02
20:48 UTC

7

The City of Chicago’s “Educating the Ecosystem” 2024 Webinar Series

The City of Chicago’s “Educating the Ecosystem” 2024 Webinar Series

Join the Chicago Community Wealth Building Ecosystem (CCWBE) project for the webinar series “Educating the Ecosystem”. The series focuses on technical, professional, and financial assistance providers in the Chicago area and their relation to the topic of worker cooperatives. The webinars are free to attend and facilitated by the Democracy at Work Institute’s Business Transfers Program Director Frank Cetera.

CCWBE is a $6 million program of American Rescue Plan Act grants to 17 organizations to provide highly- specialized technical assistance in research & convening; education & outreach; business development; legal & governance; finance & fundraising; and assets & operations. The city’s Office of Equity & Racial Justice vision is a democratic and reparative economy giving everyone the ability to thrive without extracting from people or the environment in the process. To get there, we are building and strengthening a sustainable community wealth building ecosystem in Chicago.

Visit the CCWBE calendar for registration links at https://ccwbe.org/calendar/

All three of the webinars will provide an audience-tailored look at worker-cooperative development and ownership through case study storytelling and sharing details such as Intake/referral sources, Advising and professional services provided, Tools and resources used, and sources of financing used. Professional attendees will be positioned to integrate worker-ownership development into their services, while General audience attendees will be positioned to begin or advance their journey for worker-cooperative development or conversion.

Attendees Will Also Receive:

Access to a digital resources toolbox curated by the panel experts,

An invitation to participate in the service referral infrastructure for worker ownership in the City of Chicago,

Directions on how to join and participate in industry associated, and grassroots, communities of practice, both in Chicago and nationally, and,

An invitation to two upcoming in-person matchmaker events.

1 Comment
2024/04/02
19:54 UTC

9

NYC, Queens Co-op Annual Inspections - Taking photos of the apartments

I live in a coop in Queens, NYC that has recently been spearheaded by a very nosy and passive aggressive, unemployed woman who has taken it as her full-time job to impose a number of rules---one of which is an annual inspection of each apartment to check fire alarms, to see if people are subletting their apartments, etc., and today I just found out that the superintendent has also been taking photos of everyone's unit. Most residents of the coop did not like it and protested it, but still allowed it to proceed because to do otherwise would solicit a variety of headaches and harassment from "the board," which is dominated by that one woman.

Does anyone know if requiring people to take photos is legal in NYC?

0 Comments
2024/04/02
00:39 UTC

5

Cooperative Housing Opportunity in Chicago, IL

Hi everyone,

My organization is looking to restart an existing housing co-op in Uptown, Chicago, and want to partner with a group of potential members interested in being a part of this process. The members of this group would have autonomy to shape practices and culture in the cooperative, and benefit from lease charges well below market rate. Your co-op organizing group would become a part of NASCO Properties, a non-profit nation-wide land trust. NASCO Properties works with local housing co-ops to create tenant-controlled affordable housing, and we are looking for a new local partner group to create another co-op in this building.

The details of what we're asking applicants to provide is listed in this document, and you can contact us at proposals@nasco.coop with any questions you might have along the way. We're really excited to see what people have to offer for this project! Please feel free to share, especially with your contacts in the Chicago area.

0 Comments
2024/04/01
20:11 UTC

7

Name organizations that exude the cooperative principles and might be considered a model co-op...bonus points for any credit unions...

0 Comments
2024/04/01
15:53 UTC

5

Monthly /r/Cooperatives beginner question thread

This thread is part of an attempt by the moderators to create a series of monthly repeating posts to help aggregate certain kinds of content into single threads.

If you have any basic questions about Cooperatives, feel free to ask them here. Please also remember to visit this thread even if you consider yourself a cooperative veteran so that you can help others!

Note that this thread will be posted on the first and will run throughout the month.

0 Comments
2024/04/01
00:00 UTC

13

Pain points that are specific to a Coop

I recently learned about the coop business structure and am fascinated by the philosophy of this structure. Are there any specific tools or infrastructure that this kind of model needs but lacks at the moment?

In other words, what are some pain points that are specific to forming and running a coop?

Any insights are hugely appreciated

4 Comments
2024/03/31
23:20 UTC

14

Economic Update: Socialism & Worker Co-Ops

1 Comment
2024/03/31
17:35 UTC

8

Bachelor research project - tiredness in worker cooperatives

Hello,

I am a student of sociology at the University of Amsterdam and I am currently conducting a study about experiencess of tiredness in worker cooperatives. If anyone works in a democratically managed, worker cooperative and would like to participate in a 20-30 minute, online interview in English please reach out to me at mateusz.Bz2002@gmail.com

0 Comments
2024/03/30
10:02 UTC

17

The Zapatistas: the largest revolutionary region of Mexico!

1 Comment
2024/03/28
07:33 UTC

56

The Sinn Fein Party, Irelands currently largest party, supports establishing a Cooperative Fund making it one of the only Parties in Europe to do so. What do you think about it?

6 Comments
2024/03/27
18:36 UTC

9

Thoughts on the latest Just A Member blog post by Chip Filson?

This sadly describes the larger Credit Unions in my neck of the woods...

"Credit unions have largely moved away from their focus on a local group or community to become a diversified mixture of legacy founders and new market expansions.  The values and passion so critical for success in early years have been replaced by professional managers brought in for their expertise.

Growth becomes central to reporting success.  Corporate wealth creation versus member well-being is celebrated.  Instead of open governance, oversight is increasingly concentrated in a few hands where leaders perpetuate their tenures.  Rather than paying their success forward to future generations, incumbents explore options to cash out when their term in leadership is ending by turning control over to other firms."

https://chipfilson.com/2024/03/the-lehman-trilogy-and-the-arc-of-american-finance/

5 Comments
2024/03/27
00:09 UTC

12

Housing cooperative separation

It looks like a lot of this sub is based more in business but I have a pretty complex situation I would love help with, regarding housing cooperatives. My coop has ran for over 16 years, we currently have 10 houses and 40 members. Socially, culturally and logistically we are in a place that it is possible that the entire coop dissolves due to low member participation and burnout from those that are basically working here part time for free.

We have 4 collective houses, where individuals each rent out a room and share labor, finances, and decision making. These houses are doing pretty good. The rest are apartments. These are the folks that don't participate for the most part. So the organization is essentially run by a small amount of the folks in the houses, doing a wild amount of labor to keep the organization afloat.

We are at a point of burnout and realizations that we would like to propose to membership a complete separation between the collectives and houses. The collectives would keep our name and website, as they would for sure be doing collective things, while the apartments might do a different non profit housing format.

We know we'll have to bring this to an all member meeting and get 2/3rds majority, but we need to come with a proposal. So I am wondering and hoping someone here has done something similar as it is a complex and arduous journey we are about to take on, full or legal changes and social disruption.

Please share any knowledge you might have on the topic, thank you!

16 Comments
2024/03/26
12:49 UTC

11

Does Mondragon insure their capital accounts?

Hi! I have a question about the Mondragon coops, specifically regarding their capital accounts. As I understand it, the individual member coops are supposed to pay them out of their revenues to workers when they retire or leave the company, but I was wondering what happens if the individual coops go bankrupt, like Fagor, and they can't repay the workers. Is there some kind of insurance system that pays them out of Mondragon's solidarity funds or something?

Thanks!

2 Comments
2024/03/25
09:01 UTC

12

Brainstorming a Sales Cooperative

The title says it all; I am brainstorming a sales oriented worker cooperative with a fair number of ideas in mind. If anybody has some advice and resources to turn to in order to learn more about worker co-ops I would love to get some info.

Additionally tips and warnings would be great as well.

I know this is a bit of a vague post but I am still getting a lot of the framework together before i propose this to anybody so I wanted some outside info! Thanks!

8 Comments
2024/03/25
05:32 UTC

20

Im interested in starting a cooperative business, what are some good ideas?

I ran a bicycle shop for the last twelve years but became burnt out on the industry. Took a year off and now thinking of starting another business, but want to “spread the love” around as it were. What are some good business models/ industries to get into? Also I live in Philadelphia if it helps.

Thanks!

18 Comments
2024/03/25
03:23 UTC

19

Credit Union elections

Has anyone successfully been nominated and elected to their Credit Union's board of directors? My Credit Union requires 500 member signatures just to be nominated which seems unreasonable and explains why there have been no elections in more than a decade. So much for financial democracy.

20 Comments
2024/03/24
17:44 UTC

29

Thoughts on this method of worker cooperative categorization, by the YouTuber RoseWrist? I think it can be a helpful way to describe different methods of financing cooperative enterprises, especially since some laymen seem to not know that there are different types at all.

7 Comments
2024/03/23
23:16 UTC

24

As someone supportive of co-ops, I have a question about them

Hey there. I have been supportive of cooperatives and support a cooperative-based economy, and see it as a much more ethical system that empowers the many. However there is one question I have about them:

How do co-ops lay off someone when it is needed? For example, lets say that an employee frequently calls in (I don’t mean genuine sickness/mental health problems or the occasional vacation, I mean constantly calling in to the point it becomes a burden or fake sicking), is rude/mean, or has done some misconduct such as stealing. I don’t want this to happen but sometimes it has to be done such as in the cases I mentioned.

Also how do co-ops hire someone?

Thanks!

13 Comments
2024/03/22
14:39 UTC

24

Working on a Cooperative Formation, Management and Marketplace Platform

Hey guys,

I am working on developing a product with my fiancé that would be a cradle-to-grave cooperative platform. We both work at major F100 financial institutions doing product and infrastructure work. Here's the plan:

  • Cooperative Learning Platform
    • Entry point for workers unfamiliar with cooperative organizations. Courses available to explain cooperative organization and management including potentially basic business courses to allow everyday workers the opportunity to start cooperatives of their own.
    • A place to store courses on how to use the other platforms mentioned here
    • A moderated wiki with best known methods and guides for new cooperatives looking to avoid mistakes
    • Cost to user: free (subsidized by platforms below)
  • Cooperative Formation Platform
    • Platform much like LegalZoom in so far as it has a wizard that can help you draft the defining documents of the cooperative that follows the laws of your state (assuming your state has cooperative laws in the first place)
    • The platform would also walk users through cooperative governance structures and how they affect the day to day operations of the firm as well as the big picture decisions of the firm.
    • E-filing for paperwork it generates depending on state law.
    • Compliance reminders for legal requirements
    • Potentially a simulator that would allow potential cooperators to map out their desired setup before signing any legal documents to gather support and consensus from their community
    • Cost to user: as close to free as possible (cost of infrastructure and labor to enable functionality ideally something reasonable $25-100) + state filing fees.
  • Cooperative Management Platform
    • This platform would include many business tools necessary to run a business with added modules for cooperative management and governance.
    • Platform would be able to conduct votes, manage shares, etc. [UPDATED 03/20 - to be cooperative type agnostic]
    • Would be based on the open source ERP Odoo. Allowing fast, modular business application development while also not reinventing the wheel on well establish business apps like Point-of-Sale, Invoicing, Payroll, etc.
    • Would likely include financial products built-in to enable the cooperative financially. Eg. checking accounts, payroll accounts, and debt capitalization that is vital to start up cooperatives. I would strongly prefer to keep these accounts at a large credit union like Aliant to support cooperative financial institutions. Optional, the platform would also be able to connect to existing financial institutions.
    • Cooperatives can chose the modules they want to use.
    • Cost to users: As close to free as possible + small interchange fees on related banking products and transfers therein.
  • Cooperative Marketplace
    • Marketplace for all to shop for products and/or services exclusively from cooperatives. [UPDATED 03/20 - to be cooperative type agnostic]
    • Allows cooperatives to create networks of commerce outside of normal capitalist marketplaces
    • Provides escrow for larger contracts where arbitration may be needed.
    • Allows for "meta-cooperation" where multiple cooperatives can band together for purchasing and supplying depending on circumstance. (Federation)
    • Cost to users: As close to free as possible (<5% transaction fees but realistically lower to whatever the infrastructure costs to keep the platform and team behind it going.)

Each platform would integrate with each other but no platform would be required from another. So if a cooperative just wants to use the education platform and the marketplace that's okay. The goal is to support cooperatives with software from inception to maturity with minimal costs and maximum solidarity.

What am I missing here? What do I need to consider as I continue to flesh out this idea? Any and all constructive feedback would be helpful 🙂.

In solidarity,
Max

25 Comments
2024/03/19
18:52 UTC

26

An overview of the evidence surrounding Worker Democracy and the merits of Cooperatives

3 Comments
2024/03/19
05:21 UTC

14

Democratizing profits: A new Business Model

https://youtu.be/OfFrx-UyMxQ this is a 2 minute video that breaks down what I am saying with visuals. this is something that is along the same line of thinking as a cooperative

Hello, my name is Alex Nickerson and I have an idea that will help humanity with automation

It's all about a company that gives its profits to the users.

Democratizing profits: A new Business Model

  • Users get all profits after expenses
  •  Start off with a social media company something like reddit or twitter(X). It can be used the same in any industry for any business, but I think it's best to start with something like this as you need a way for people to go online and vote and social media would provide that platform.
  • Id.me verification level needed for users so that no one can abuse the system by creating bots to go and vote for them and increasing how much money they are making for those bots participating.
  • The more a user participates in voting the more the user gets paid
  • Users get to vote on which way the company goes
  • Possibly Big votes should be once a weekish with a day or more to allow a lot of people to vote.
  • Ceo and users have the power to veto each other on ideas for which way the company will go. This allows for the CEO to control things like rash decisions, troll voting or bad business decisions, however with the users having veto power of their own it will enable them to control the CEO.
  • Ceo veto also helps defend against any actions like hacking or farming in the result that id.me is compromised
  • To add another safeguard against an id.me critical failure it would be nice to have a form of user verification with big votes. Something users can verify for themselves that the vote is legitimate.
  • Ceo limited to 2 4-year terms-> cannot be overwritten
  • Users vote on new Ceo through ranked choice.
  • Possible other positions could be voted on for the user upper management roles
  • Possible to set up a board of directors rather than one CEO to try to take away some of the power of that one man, but still safeguard against mob rule
  • Multiple companies can be set up with same business model to create competition
  • This creates a form of Universal basic Income where the people get a small amount of income that will grow over time
  • This Solves the housing issue as these companies can buy up all the real estate and then the people set the price for rent.
  • This solves automation because as less workers are needed for a company and society to create growth society is still making money off the companies and work.

I have a youtube video that adds visuals to this idea but I don't want to break the rule about self promotion

5 Comments
2024/03/19
01:02 UTC

65

(UK) Cooperatives are significantly more resilient.

2 Comments
2024/03/17
06:16 UTC

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