A short history of our store can be found here.
We believe in the concept of worker ownership, and value the right of workers to exercise direct control over their workplace. Co-operation and consensus allow for each worker to have a voice in making the decisions that effect their lives on the job. We support other democratic co-ops and collectives in our purchasing and promotional activities.
Worker co-ops are cooperative enterprises that are owned and democratically controlled by the employees. The main purpose of a worker co-op is to provide employment for its members. Each member pays a membership fee or purchases a membership share, and has one vote regardless of how much money they have invested in the co-op. The co-op’s assets are collectively owned and surplus earnings are allocated to the workers according to policies established by the co-op, often in proportion to hours worked by members and with limited return on shares.
Traditional businesses aim to make profit for the shareholders, who receive their share of profit according to the amount of money they have invested in the business. Control of the business is also based on the amount of the money invested, usually one vote per share purchased.
In a worker co-op, each member has one vote, no matter how many shares they have purchased. They all have equal say in the way the business is run and in the decisions affecting their everyday work lives. Members combine their skills, interests and experiences to achieve mutual goals, such as creating jobs for themselves, providing a community service or increasing democracy in the workplace. Because they develop the policies that determine the co-op’s daily and long-term operation, trust, communication and co-operation are vital elements in the co-op’s success.
Most of us are familiar with co-ops in one form or another – financial (credit unions), service (housing co-ops), consumer (co-op retail stores) or producer co-ops (fishery and farmers’ co-ops). Though these co-ops all supply services (credit, groceries and farmers’ co-ops) to members, the membership is not made up uniquely of those employed by the co-op, as is the case in worker co-ops.
Taken from the website of the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation.