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Membership in Fertile Underground Natural Cooperative gives one a voice & vote in the direction of the cooperative, equal to all other members. It also includes the member in the profit sharing of the business, in accord with the work done each month.
HOW TO Join FERTILE UNDERGROUND NATURAL COOPERATIVE.
There are 4 requirements to join the F.U.N.C., as lain out in the bylaws. They are: working for 2 months & accruing 1/4 co-op share, applying for membership through the general assembly, receiving no blocking votes from the general assembly, and agreeing and signing the Articles of Agreement.
The first step towards joining the Cooperative is proving devotion through doing work with the group. In a Worker-Cooperative, ownership is earned only through work. An individual offering consistent work and attention is eligible to apply for membership to the Co-op.
Individuals should be keeping notes of what this work entailed, and how much of it is unpaid time which is valid as part of the membership share. When an individual has fairly organized and notated their sweat equity, they should consider their intentions for joining the co-op. One must understand the nature of the arrangement, and the level of commitment and flexibility required by membership in a worker-cooperative: right here, right now.
Folks should be well familiarized with Cooperative principles (ICA 7 Principles) and working practices gleaned from other models (USFWC). An applicant well versed in co-op culture and group dynamics will enjoy a much smoother process toward their own acceptance within the group. Potential members should reflect on their relationships with the existing members of the cooperative, and do everything possible to improve these on a personal level, before elevating to a business connection. Our cooperative is truly like a family, which includes marital battles, crazy uncles, and mental differences. Evaluate every relationship singly, on it’s own, as well as on the whole, in regarding one’s process toward joining in this deep relationship with each other.
When a person feels their bid is well prepared, and they themselves also feel so, they speak with every member of the cooperative individually, announcing their eligibility and desire to join the co-op. The reason for this is for any interpersonal reasons one may be blocked from entrance to be discussed one-on-one, instead of before the whole group at General Assembly. This conversation should be given enough time for any underlying qualms to be discussed, and looked at in real light. In this way, a person can feel out if they are ready to apply, by having these conversations first with those closest to them in the group, and eventually every member can safely express their support or block of the potential co-op member.
After speaking with every member, the applicant will know whether or not they have the chance of joining the Cooperative. If any member were planning to block, it will have been discussed already, so the process at the General Assembly should go simply and smooth. The bid for membership will of course need to be put on the agenda, in the same manner as one would put any other item, beforehand, to that week’s facilitator. The applicant should make a short presentation of why they feel they will be a good member of the co-op, and justify their place within the group. The vote shall be made, which does not need to be unanimous approval, but rather, the absence of any Blocking vote.
With the approval of the General Assembly, the member now needs only to do the official accounting of their cooperative share, including all sweat equity already earned. This tally and agreement will be made and counted in the Personal Account (Internal Capital Account) which is opened up for the new member. An agreement will be reached whereby the new Member pledges the complete share value, to be earned in full within 3 years. Members may invest money in the co-op, which will earn competitive interest, also counted in the Internal Account. But any outside capital will be simply borrowed and does not lead to or increase Ownership. The member agrees and signs the Articles of Agreement, and now enjoys the full rights and benefits of membership.