Co-op collage

Co-op elections: Why they matter

Sound Consumer | May 2007

by Trudy Bialic, Editor

(May 2007) — A lot of people, including some PCC members, need to understand better what’s great about the cooperative business structure. It’s not always obvious why people should care about voting in annual PCC co-op elections.

Why does voting for a cooperative’s board of trustees matter? The short answer is that voting determines who’s on the board and the board is charged with setting the long-term goals of our organization.

The board does not manage day-to-day operations or decisions, nor does it dictate how management and staff go about meeting the long-term goals. Nonetheless, the board is responsible for ensuring that the direction PCC is going is the direction that members desire.

Consider that when PCC began as a buying club of 15 families in 1953, it had no stated goal to seek out or provide fresh, healthful, organic or local food. Its primary purpose was to save members money; this meant buying in bulk and often included dented canned goods. There was a time also when PCC sold yarn, fabric, tools, flannel shirts, overalls and wood burning stoves.

It’s fair to say that eventually PCC members elected board members that shifted our business focus to become a leader in organic and sustainable agriculture. By 2004, board members declared in writing that “PCC exists to create a cooperative, sustainable environment for our members and patrons in which the natural and organic supply chains thrive.”

Known as our Global Ends policy, that simple sentence provides a framework for what human needs are to be met by PCC, for whom, and at what cost. It’s our overarching, guiding policy. If members want (for instance) PCC to support regional, organic food producers, then the members are responsible for electing board members who will represent those interests.

Each and every PCC member has an important part to play in what kind of business PCC will be. So, members, please mark your ballots and be counted.

A special election insert is included with the printed issue, mailed to the homes of active members. View the online election materials here.

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