This Saturday, July 6, is International Day of Cooperatives! Cooperatives from around the world will come together under the theme “Co-ops 4 Decent Work” to amplify how they’re creating stable, sustainable jobs.
This annual celebration of the cooperative movement is led by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) in partnership with the United Nations and takes place on the first Saturday of July. #CoopsDay has been observed since 1923.
NCBA CLUSA is proud to lift up this year’s theme. As people-centered businesses defined by democratic control, cooperatives are contributing to decent work in the U.S. and around the world.
The stability they provide comes at a time when many Americans feel excluded from economic growth and uncertain about their jobs—and their futures. They face growing inequality, flat wages, an exploitative gig economy and heightened vulnerability due to climate change. These realities put into sharp focus the critical moment cooperatives face.
“The International Day of Cooperatives is a great time to remind people that co-ops are a proven solution to empower people in their businesses and their communities,” said NCBA CLUSA president and CEO Doug O’Brien. “Not only do co-ops tend to be more resilient than other types of businesses, but they can also provide workers a pathway to owning their own businesses.”
“Not only do co-ops tend to be more resilient than other types of businesses, but they can also provide workers a pathway to owning their own businesses.” – Doug O’Brien, president and CEO, NCBA CLUSA
One of the many challenges co-ops are equipped to solve is making sure people have the opportunity for decent work, O’Brien added. “While we in the cooperative community understand the power of cooperatives, we should always look for ways to share the co-op story with others.”
And that’s what International Day of Cooperatives is all about. By using the #CoopsDay hashtag, co-ops worldwide will seek to educate policymakers, civil society organizations and the general public on how co-ops are promoting decent work.
Ahead of Saturday, we’re highlighting a few of our members and the work they’re doing to create quality jobs, preserve workers’ rights and build the next economy.
Capital Impact Partners
As a Certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Capital Impact Partners has deployed more than $2.5 billion to serve 5 million people and create more than 37,000 jobs in sectors critical to building equitable communities.
Cooperative Home Care Associates
Based in the Bronx, New York, Cooperative Home Care Associates is the nation’s largest worker cooperative. It employs 2,300 caregivers—90 percent of whom are women of color—who benefit from competitive wages, regular hours, family health insurance, and a strong training and career path program.
Shared Capital Cooperative
Another CDFI, Shared Capital Cooperative connects co-ops and capital to build economic democracy. By borrowing from and investing in the fund, Shared Capital members directly engage in their work, contributing to decent, dignified work, democratic workplaces and living wage jobs.
Farm and factory workers are among the most vulnerable in supply chains. That’s why Fairtrade America works to make sure that supply chains are helping, not harming, workers. Fairtrade certification means producers are not only being paid fairly, but that issues like gender equality, child labor, climate change and workers’ rights are being addressed.
America’s Electric Cooperatives
America’s Electric Cooperatives are powerful engines of economic development in their local communities, directly or indirectly supporting nearly 612,000 quality jobs each year.
With a focus on homecare, childcare and worker co-op conversions, the ICA Group seeks to change the nature of work by advancing businesses and institutions that amplify worker voices, grow worker wealth and build worker power.
U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council
Powered by USAID’s Cooperative Development Program, OCDC members have found that co-ops are a unique and powerful tool for investing in youth. Co-ops excel where other models lack by fostering entrepreneurship through education and teaching management skills through democratic structures.