Hi all - I’ve been on the forum for a few months now without a proper introduction.
And now, we have some big news. May First officially passed our new set of bylaws to formally become a coop!.
Although we have effectively been operating as a democratically run organization for many years, our old bylaws still preserved total power in the initial three board members. Now we are fully up to speed and looking forward to our first official membership meeting in the Fall.
While I’m here… I’m curious to get feedback from the UK based coop community on the topic of profit, ownership and legality with coops. In the US, coop law is state law, so we were constrained by the laws of New York state. Unlike some other states in the US, New York state does have a coop designation for incorporation. However, it does not allow for a multi-stake holder coop, so we were not able to use that law to have both consumer members and worker members.
Therefore, we were faced with the option of incorporating as a “limited liability” for profit corporation or we could choose to keep our existing non profit status, but become a membership nonprofit (in which we are legally bound to elect board members from our membership). We opted for the second option.
Over our 6 month process, we have encountered very slight opposition to our inclusion in the coop movement based on not choosing the coop incorporation option and also based on not technically “owning” the organization (at least according to capitalist logic).
I’m curious to know how this plays out in the UK. Are there nonprofit coops in the UK? Are non profit coops with bylaws that abide by the 7 principles accepted as coops in the community here?