Worker benefit options for cooperatives

I’m presenting options to allow small coopera­tives to provide benefits pack­ages to their workers. Larger co-ops likely already provide benefits pack­ages for their workers, so these may not be relevant for them.

Cash is tight for small businesses and many business owners must go without benefits until their business has the revenue to obtain them. My advice is to focus on making your cooperative efficient and profitable to be able to afford to offer benefits for your members.

Cooperatives may have employees, independent contractors, or a mixture of both. Offering benefits for contractors is more challenging, since a worker must be an employee to qualify for many group benefit plans. Cooperatives may offer to reimburse contractors for benefits they purchase individually.

Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin offers health insurance plans rated in the top ten in the country by US News & World Report. They also seem to be com­mitted to helping cooperatives. Since all workers in our coopera­tive are independent contractors, DuWayne Benzine, in Marketing, offered to make an exception to the traditional employer/employee relationship requirement to allow us to purchase a group plan.
Contact: DuWayne Benzine
Phone: (608) 828-4828

The United Steelworkers Union allows individual cooperative members to buy into their member benefit plans after joining the USW. The USW Steelworkers Health & Welfare Fund offers health insurance plans provided through Blue Cross Blue Shield in Western Pennsylvania.

The USW Steelworkers Pension Trust offers a retirement income plan.
Contact: Rob Witherell
Phone: (412) 562-4333

Insurance companies offer a retire­ment income plan called an Annuity.…

We’ve had great experiences working with State Farm agent Katie Guenther.…
Contact: Katie Guenther
Phone: (608) 274-7120

UW Credit Union offers IRAs (Tra­di­tion­al and Roth) and Education­al Savings Accounts. All our accounts are at UWCU due to their web access and fantastic customer service.
Contact: Customer Service
Phone: (608) 232-5000

I’m happy to provide details. Feel free to give me a call!
Contact: Dennis McKernan
Phone: (608) 301-5187

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