So, what is a cooperative?
Cooperative is a business model. It is how we operate our business. From a consumer standpoint you wouldn’t see any difference from a mom-and-pop operation or a multi-million dollar well known company. The cooperative is how we govern ourselves.
How do you govern yourselves?
Through our bylaws and employee handbook. We each have a say with the concerns of the business, which takes a lot of focus and discipline. The operations manager’s job is to train cooperative members on how we operate and teach cooperative members about the cooperative model. From there, cooperative members can make suggestions and changes on how we operate.
Why do you have an “Operations Manager” if you all govern yourselves?
Simple. Technically, everyone is an operations manager, however, the title of the operation manager is the person(s) who trains and teaches cooperative members about the cooperative model and how to run a business. Not everyone knows accounting, business management, customer service and etc, so to control the chaos, we have an operations manager to smooth out the kinks. Also, the operations manager keeps the cooperative members focused and forward thinking. It is a huge task that requires discipline and passion. The Cooperative Members tell the Operations Manager how the business should be run and the operations manager helps execute those ideas and vice versa.
How do you make decisions?
Vote. We have meetings whereby we discuss options and day-to-day operations. We make changes by 51% of vote and a quorum.
Are there any other cooperatives like you?
Absolutely! Actually, Democracy at Works Institute and United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives helped us with our bylaws and structure (plus some lawyers). We are modeled after two cooperatives in California and New York who have successfully been in business for years. –There are many varieties of cooperatives and structures, please check out United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives for more details.
How are you structured?
We have a Board of Directors (Supreme Court) which helps us adhere to our policies and operations. We have an Operations Manager(s) (President) which helps with branding, direction, training, teaching and maintaining the cooperative. Finally, we have Cooperative Member (Congress) in which they control the business and operate the day-to-day!
What About Owners?
The workers/owner relationship is complicated. Internally, all the cooperative members own the business because they have a share(dividend) and interest in the business. Plus, they help with operations and elect the Operations Manager. However, our lawyers tell us that since the State of Georgia doesn’t recognize cooperatives as a business model and with the advent of taxes and legal ownership, that we must explain that we don’t actually have worker/owners (except Patrick Davenport). Any member can become an owner at our annual meeting, but many choose not to because of tax reasons and the burden of legal ramifications if an issue arise. It’s a personal decision but ownership is welcomed to all cooperative members.
What about dividends?
Yes! This is particularly what makes us different and what makes us standout. At the end of the year, cooperative members get a share of the profits that was made for that year. So, when we work hard, we make more money. Instead of the profit going to a boss or shareholder, it goes back to the workers!
How do I join PGCC?
Email us a resume or give us a call. We look for low-income individuals and disadvantaged individuals. Once we have received your information, we will have a meeting and make a decision. Anyone can work with us, but to become a member we have to accept you.