Membership is the cornerstone of cooperatives: members own their cooperative, members control and run it, and members reap the benefits. Membership is also the basic unit of participation in the USFWC: as a grassroots member-led movement, our membership is our power and our strength.

The USFWC welcomes membership from worker cooperatives, other democratic workplaces, cooperative developers, and allied organizations.

Joining as a USFWC Member is easy.

Complete our online membership application. Our Membership Director, Ana Martina Rivas, will reach out to you to arrange a one-on-one meeting to go over your application. Your member class and annual dues amount will be confirmed during your welcome call.

Wondering what your dues will be? You can use our annual dues calculator to determine dues for your organization.

If you have any questions, please contact Ana Martina, Membership Director at 415-392-7277 ext 5 or email membership@usworker.coop.

Thank you for your interest in joining the USFWC!

Did you know? Your USFWC Membership Dues are Deductible.
Membership dues to trade associations and business leagues are tax deductible business expenses. The Internal Revenue Service allows you to deduct membership dues that are required by your profession or that you join to help your business. Make sure your tax preparer knows to include your USFWC member dues on line 48 of Schedule C as Other Expenses with a memo as “trade association membership fees”--and get in touch with us at info@usworker.coop if you have any questions!

Membership Classes (click on any class for more information)

Worker Cooperative

Workplaces that are majority democratically owned and governed by paid workers; have been operational for at least one year; have Board approved bylaws / operating agreement; and meet the criteria set forth in the USFWC's Worker Cooperative Definition.


Criteria to join as ‘Worker Cooperative’ member:

  • The enterprise is operational, generating revenue, and providing paid work for at least two workers
    for a minimum of one year.
  • Worker-members are the legal owners of the enterprise, each owning one member share that
    reflects initial capital contribution of equal value
  • Decision-making is done utilizing 'one member, one vote' principle.
  • Worker-owners are the only member class, OR the worker-owner member class maintains a
    controlling interest in the enterprise.
  • More than 50% of workers are worker-members or on track for membership consideration.
  • The enterprise is formed as a legal entity (e.g. corporation, LLC) with Board approved bylaws /
    operating agreement
  • The enterprise has a documented path to membership available to all workers with defined
    membership eligibility criteria, member capital contribution, and patronage formula.
  • The enterprise adheres to the 7 Cooperative Principles

Votes: weigh 3; unlimited eligibility to run for board.

Dues: Total annual wages from previous fiscal year x 0.1% ($200 minimum)

Democratic Workplace

Workplaces that are democratically managed and/or governed, but do not meet the full definition of a worker cooperative. Includes democratically managed non-profits, multi-stakeholder cooperatives with worker member class, and democratically-run 100% ESOPS.


Criteria to join as ‘Democratic Workplace’ member:

  • The enterprise is operational, generating revenue, and providing paid work for at least two workers
    for a minimum of one year.
  • The enterprise is formed as a legal entity (e.g. corporation, LLC) with Board approved bylaws /
    operating agreement
  • Governance-level decision-making is done utilizing some form of democracy
  • Day-to-day operations are democratically managed by the workers
  • Worker-owners are a member class, though not necessarily the controlling class (e.g. consumer
    cooperatives with democratic staffing)
  • The enterprise has a documented path to membership available to all workers with defined
    membership eligibility criteria

Votes: weigh 2; board representation limited to 1/3 of seats

Dues: Total annual wages from previous fiscal year x 0.1% ($200 minimum)

Federation Partner
Associations of three or more democratic workplaces joined together for purposes of mutual aid. Cross-sector cooperative associations with at least worker cooperative members are invited to join under this member class.
Criteria to join as a ‘Federation Partner’ member:
  • Three or more democratic workplaces are organized as a joint entity.
  • The joint entity is democratically governed by workplace members
  • The joint entity has a formal structure, such as legal entity formation (coop, non-profit, etc) or fiscal sponsorship; or is activily applying for entity status
  • The joint entity renews an annual agreement with the USFWC where the Federation Partner agrees to (a) provide a written charter or mission statement and annual goals/objectives to USFWC and (b) act as liaison between USFWC’s national work and local/regional work. USFWC agrees to offer direct benefits and support to help achieve the Federation Partner’s annual goals/objectives.

Votes: weigh 3; unlimited eligibility to run for board Dues: $100 – $1,000 sliding scale (0.1% of organization's budget allocated toward coop development)
Cooperative Developer
Organizations that develop worker cooperatives as part or all of their activities. Cooperative Developers that are organized as worker cooperatives or democratic workplaces may choose which member class to join.
Criteria to join as a ‘Cooperative Developer’ member:
  • The enterprise is operational, generating revenue, and providing paid work for at least one staff for a minimum of one year.
  • The enterprise is formed as a legal entity with Board approved bylaws / operating agreement
  • The enterprise is responsible for supporting the development and successful launch of at least 1 operational worker cooperative within the last 5 years

Votes: weigh 1, total cannot exceed 25% of all votes; eligible to run for maximum of developer board seats

Dues: $250 – $1,000, sliding scale (0.1% of organization's budget allocated toward worker coop development)

Start-up

Groups in the process of creating a new worker cooperative or democratic workplace; and worker cooperatives and democratic workplaces that have been operational for less than one year; and newly formed cooperative developers that have not yet developed an operating worker cooperative enterprise.
All Startup members can submit a request for member reclassification during a review period held annually in the spring. Members can join the USFWC as a Startup member and maintain this member class for three years before being required to renew as either a voting member or an Associate member.
Criteria to join as a ‘Startup’ member:
  • The enterprise has been operating and/or incorporated for less than one year
  • The enterprise (or enterprise-to-be) has established a steering committee or initial membership group, drafted a preliminary business plan, and preliminary bylaws
  • The enterprise has governance documentations to complete (i.e.: bylaws, operating agreement, new member criteria and path to join, peer accountability and grievance process, patronage formula)

Votes: none

Initial Dues (first year): $100 dues for start-up businesses receiving assistance from a current Coop Developer member (dues can be paid by workplace or developer)

Dues (ongoing): $250 flat fee per year

Conversion

Established traditional businesses that are in the process of transitioning into a worker cooperative

All Conversion members can submit a request for member reclassification during a review period held annually in the spring. Members can join the Federation as a Conversion member and maintain this member class for three years before being required to renew as either a voting member or an Associate member.


Criteria to join as a ‘Conversion’ member:
  • The enterprise is been operating and/or incorporated for more than one year
  • The enterprise (or enterprise-to-be) has established a steering committee or initial membership group, drafted a preliminary business plan, and preliminary bylaws
  • The enterprise has governance documentations to complete (i.e.: bylaws, operating agreement, new member criteria and path to join, peer accountability and grievance process, patronage formula)

Votes: none

Dues (ongoing): $250 flat fee per year

Associate

Organizations and businesses that support, in theory and practice, the worker cooperative model and the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives.

If your organization or enterprise does not meet the criteria for other USFWC member classes, you are encouraged and welcome to join the USFWC as an Associate member.


Votes: none

Dues: $100 – $1,000, sliding scale (0.1% of budget allocated toward economic, co-op, and/or community development)

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