A National Survey of Worker Cooperative Bylaws and Operating Agreements

Mike Sandmel, Khalif Nunnally-Rivera
Affiliated Organization: 
ICA Group

Purpose and Background:

As a leading national technical assistance provider to new and established worker cooperatives, The ICA Group is frequently tasked with supporting worker-owners in drafting or revising their co-ops' bylaws or operating agreements. Through our practice, we have developed widely used template legal documents and facilitative processes to help worker-owners think through a variety of critical questions that can help ensure that these central legal documents create the framework for the successful operation of cooperative businesses that align with members' visions and values. Of course, we are far from the only organization helping worker co-ops to draft these kinds of documents, and different providers make different recommendations. Even within the co-ops we support, there ends up being considerable diversity between these documents due to the unique needs and preferences of different groups of worker-owners. To continuously learn and improve our own work in this area, and to support the development of the larger field, we conducted a survey of governing documents from co-ops across the US. We hope these findings will help co-ops and co-op technical assistance providers better understand how sifecific choices about any given co-op's governing documents fit into larger national trends.

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Resource Format: 
Staff Pick: 
Curated Tools: 
Resources for Conversions
Resources for Coop Developers
Resources for Communities