The basic cooperative principles were set out over 150 years ago by the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, the model on which all modern cooperatives are based. These principles are not only reflected in our Operating Agreement but also woven into the ways that we interact with one another and our clients, communities, and environment.
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members—those who buy the goods or use the services of the cooperative—who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions.
All members have an equal say in the governance and management of our cooperative. We use a collective-board model of direct democracy, with all significant decisions made on the basis of one member, one vote. One member is elected to serve as an Executive Member to implement our decisions and administer the day-to-day affairs of the cooperative, but may be overruled or replaced at any time.
As part of cooperative governance, the members also appoint the Managers of our operating subsidiaries. Decisions made by a Manager may be appealed by the employees of that subsidiary to the cooperative, which may overrule or replace the Manager at their discretion. These arrangements ensure that our subsidiaries retain democratic values while recognizing the need for executive authority in a business venture.
|Our Operating Agreement allows many matters to be decided by a simple majority. Unanimous votes are required for certain special actions, such as retaining a probationary member beyond 90 days and amending our Operating Agreement.|