WASHINGTON (3/23/11)--The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) is asking all U.S. members of cooperatives to urge their U.S. Senators to co-sponsor a resolution designating 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives. The resolution is being introduced by U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Tim Johnson (D-S.D.). Johnson is the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. "I'm pleased that this resolution enjoys bi-partisan support,” said NCBA president/CEO Paul Hazen said. “Cooperative enterprise knows no party, and the social and economic benefits of the model know no boundaries.” More than 29,000 cooperatives operate in every sector of the economy and in every congressional district; Americans hold more than 350 million co-op memberships, according to the NCBA. Credit unions alone, as financial cooperatives, enjoy the membership of 92 million Americans. U.S. cooperatives generate two million jobs and make a substantial contribution to the economy with annual sales of $652 billion and assets of $3 trillion, NCBA notes. “Cooperative enterprise is a vital part of our economy,” Hazen said. “Cooperatives improve the quality of lives of Americans all over this country, regardless of race, class, gender or party affiliation. That’s why we’re asking co-op members across America to urge Senators to co-sponsor this resolution.” NCBA has prepared a message that can be delivered to senators by e-mail or phone. See the link below. The United Nations designated 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC) in order to recognize the contribution cooperatives make to social and economic development. The theme of IYC--“Cooperative Enterprise Builds a Better World”--reflects the contribution of cooperatives to the communities they serve.