I lived in Oregon for quite awhile, and when I did, I shopped at Winco Foods. Now, Winco is not a “real” co-op. They just pay living wages, provide full benefits to employees, and give them stock.
On the one hand, this is really great because any company that behaves ethically to its employees should be supported and encouraged. It helps the economy thrive when people have financial security.
Plus, with stock, you become part-owner of the company. The longer you work there, the more stock you have, and the more say you can have over policy within the company.
On the other hand, many feel that Winco isn’t a “true co-op.” This is because they are spending profits they make on expansion and advertising.
Many feel that a co-op should be small, and that all profits should go back to the employees. They say that once something gets too big, it’s not able to accurately represent workers anymore.
Those people think I should have shopped at “Real Co-Ops” like Farm to Family or Sprouts Up.
I see their point, and I actually am inclined to agree that if a company gets too big, it will stop being able to accurately represent the wants of its workers.
Regardless, please remember to be ethical in your shopping and make sure you are shopping at a store that is employee-owned. Even if it’s a big chain like Winco, just make sure that the profits go back to the employees and that they are the shareholders; rather than stock in the company being held by outsiders.
By supporting co-ops, you can help take back the economy from the 1% and put the power back in the hands of the people.