International Co-ops Day 2019

International Co-ops Day 2019: CO-OPS 4 DECENT WORK

The International Day of Co-operatives 2019 (#CoopsDay) is coming up on July 6 and this year’s theme is “CO-OPS 4 DECENT WORK”

On Saturday, July 6th, your Neighboring Food Co-ops will unite with co-ops and credit unions around the world in celebrating International Co-ops Day, joining the International Co-operative Alliance and the United Nations in a commemoration held annually since 1923. This year’s theme, Co-ops 4 Decent Work!, highlights the role of co-operatives as people-centered businesses that are focused on building good, sustainable jobs. According to a recent estimate, co-ops employ or are the main source of income for more than 279 million people around the world — almost 10% of humanity’s total working population.

“Co-operatives help to preserve employment and promote decent work in all sectors of the economy,” says Ariel Guarco, President of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA). “Through participation, members have a motivation to change their lives, their communities and the world.”

For food co-ops and their members here in the Northeast, good jobs are central to building a more sustainable local food system and an inclusive economy. For example, a study of food co-ops in our region found that the average wage was 18% higher than in other food and beverage stores in the same states. In addition, food co-ops had lower staff turnover (36%) when compared to supermarkets (59%) and more staff employed full-time (62% compared to 43% in supermarkets).

Food co-ops are not only models for more sustainable jobs, but also for employee ownership. In its most recent impact study, the Neighboring Food Co-op Association found that member co-ops employed more than 2,300 people across New England and New York State–and more than 60% of these employees are also co-op members, sharing in the ownership of their local grocery store.

Celebrated internationally on the first Saturday in July, Co-ops Day in the United States coincides with Independence Day, offering a unique opportunity to focus on the democratic values of the co-operative business model. Based on the principle of one member one vote, co-ops reflect American ideals of democracy, self-help, self-responsibility, and social responsibility. And because co-operatives are focused on meeting member needs rather than maximizing profit, they are focused on goals identified by their members, including social, economic and environmental sustainability.

Co-ops are invited to tell their story using social media using the hashtag #CoopsDay.

For more information on International Co-ops Day, visit