Why we celebrate cooperatives
Every October, cooperatives from all sectors across the country celebrate National Cooperative Month. The purpose of this annual celebration is to recognize the cooperative difference and remind everyone about the value cooperatives bring to their communities.
There are many different “days” and “months” that are celebrated throughout the year, but National Cooperative Month is truly an opportunity to celebrate. Observing National Cooperative Month informs others about our unique business model, which is based on the Seven Cooperative Principles: Voluntary and Open Membership; Democratic Member Control; Members' Economic _Participation; Autonomy and Independence; Education,_Training_and Information; Cooperation Among Cooperatives; and Concern for Community.
For co-op employees and members that are familiar with the principles, the month of October is a great opportunity to renew our connection to each other and the purpose of our co-op. Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services’ mission is to provide reliable energy services and be responsive to our communities. The national crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic, certainly created challenges for the co-op. As an essential service, and to ensure reliability of our power supply, we modified our operations to safeguard business continuity. Our line crews and other employees began working on staggered schedules to maintain separation. Some staff worked remotely. In the office, we limited and modified meetings and gatherings to allow for safe separation. We also adjusted our walk-in office availability and in-person service calls to ensure the health and safety of our employees and our members. In addition, we made an early return of capital credits in May to help give our members extra funds to help alleviate some of their financial strain caused by the crisis. For the health and safety of everyone, we think these measures were the prudent course of action for the times.
In the U.S., there are more than 64,017 co-ops serving in every single industry. Many co-ops from different sectors join together during the month of October to educate members in the community about cooperatives. There are more co-ops in our local community than most people realize, such as credit unions, Ace Hardware, True Value, agricultural co-ops, food coops, etc. Co-ops are even represented on the shelves at our local grocery stores in brands like Land O’Lakes, Welch’s, Organic Valley, Sunkist, Ocean Spray and many more.
According to the latest data, 1 in 3 Americans belong to a co-op, with over 350 million co-op memberships worldwide. Co-ops employ more than 2 million Americans and contribute over $650 billion in annual sales. This speaks to the heart of why we take every opportunity to celebrate and teach others about the cooperative business model. So, plan your own co-op celebration by purchasing co-op products and look to do business with co-ops right here in our local community.