We invite all U.S. Senators and Members of Congress to join us and support these important efforts in a bicameral and bipartisan wayBelow is a listing of Caucus members for the 114th Congress.
If your U.S. Senator or Member of Congress is not yet a member, please write your Senator here or your Member of Congress here and ask them to join the bipartisan Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus. You may use and copy the sample letter listed in the Resources section below in the body of your message and personalize it as necessary or state your message in your own words.
To promote the cooperative business model as a viable market solution and policy option that can help solve a number of today's public policy challenges and educate and inform policymakers on those issues before Congress and the Administration.
- To represent thought leaders, advocates, practitioners and organizations from the public and private sectors as they inform and encourage policy and legislation that supports and develops all cooperative businesses.
- To provide an ongoing forum for dialogue between Congress, the Administration, state and local leaders, and companies and organizations that promote cooperative business to enhance mutual education, legislative advocacy, and initiatives.
- To work closely alongside and complement USDA’s Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development authorized under the recent Farm Bill.
- To seek opportunities for public education initiatives to help the nation further understand the impact of cooperative businesses on the nation’s economy and encourage the public’s involvement in recognizing and supporting this movement at all levels.
- The Caucus will provide opportunities and platforms to host leading experts and model practitioners to speak and demonstrate how their work advances the mission and goals of the Caucus.
- The Caucus will provide opportunities to connect likeminded and influential policymakers to leading experts and model practitioners and allow them to discuss and collaborate on areas of mutual interest.
- The Caucus will organize occasional media announcements and events during pivotal times in the policy process to ensure its voice is heard and reflected in those discussions.
- The Caucus may work to establish periods of recognition and/or awards that recognize the importance and leadership in the advancement of cooperative businesses.
- The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) will serve as the Caucus’ external partner and advisor to the Caucus and its officers and assist Caucus members and their staff with Caucus operations.
Saat Alety, Office of Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), (202) 225-4111
Sydney Terry, Office of Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), (202) 225-2906
- NCBA CLUSA Press Release
- <http://royce.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=397872>Rep. Royce Press Release
- Rep. Pocan Press Release (to be provided)
- Video announcements at the National Press Club (John Torres providing)
- Congressional Record statement (to be provided)
- Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus registration letter as a Congressional Member Organization for the 114th Congress from the U.S. House Committee on House Administration
- Dear Colleague Letter (to be provided)
- Consumer Survey on Understanding & Awareness of Cooperatives (John Torres providing)
Guidelines by which cooperatives put their values into practice.
- Voluntary and Open Membership
Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
- Democratic Member Control
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are also organized in a democratic manner.
- Member Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
- Autonomy and Independence
Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.
- Education, Training and Information
Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public, particularly young people and opinion leaders, about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
- Cooperation among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
- Concern for Community
Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.
Q: Who are cooperative businesses?
A: A cooperative is a business or organization owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its services. Profits and earnings generated by the cooperative are distributed among the members, also known as member-owners. Typically, an elected board of directors and officers run the cooperative while regular members have voting power to control the direction of the cooperative. Members can become part of the cooperative by purchasing shares, though the amount of shares they hold does not affect the weight of their vote.
Q: What do cooperatives look like?
A: Cooperatives come in all shapes and sizes, from large retail stores like REI and purchasing co-ops like ACE Hardware, to trusted brands like Cabot Cheese and Nationwide Insurance. Cooperatives can be classified by the following:
- Consumer: These are made up of consumers to provide goods and services otherwise not available to them at a reasonable price and quality or acceptable service levels. These could include credit unions, retail food stores, and rural utilities.
- Producer: These are made up of producers of a like product to pool and market their goods in order to leverage greater bargaining power with buyers.
- Worker: Owned & democratically governed by employees who become its members.
- Purchasing: Owned by independent businesses/municipalities to improve its purchasing power.
Q: Why do people choose cooperatives?
A: They are local…
Whether it’s an account at the local credit union in Chicago, power in Peoria or phone service in Phoenix, there are over 40,000 cooperative outlets across the country, meaning you can shop cooperatively wherever you are, and for whatever you need. Co-ops can be found everywhere. Wherever they are, they help the local community – employing local people, using local suppliers, and reinvesting time and money back into their communities.
In fact, for every $1 spent in a cooperative, and additional 40 cents is generated for the local economy.
They think differently…
Co-ops look like every other business, but they do things differently. They are owned and run by their members-whether they are the customers or employees-who have an equal say. Best of all, when they make a profit, they share it with their members and the local community, so they keep the financial benefit local.
As the economy continues to recover from the 2008 economic downturn, people have been turning to businesses they can trust. Co-ops tend to care more about “why” they do what they do, rather than “what” they do. It’s this dedication to social responsibility, through ethical and principled practices, that draws a strong commitment from individuals to the cooperative way of doing business.
From energy to food, cooperatives are thriving. The cooperative sector as a whole has grown by 20% since the start of the credit crunch in 2008.
Q: Where are cooperatives found?
A: The cooperative business model can be applied to nearly every form of business. Currently co-ops can be found in most countries around the world and in every state and every congressional district in America.