ESOPs

Employee Stock Ownership Programs, which provide employees of a business with a portion of the ownership of that business' publicly-traded stock.

As worker-owners, we’re used to doing things ourselves. We start businesses, figure out democratic decision-making, and confront systemic issues that deny wealth to communities. We’re tenacious and self-governing, so why limit our influence to our workplaces? As our movement grows—and it is, rapidly—we’re innovating faster than the law can keep up, often operating in gray areas that can be as uncertain as they are productive.

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Worker assistance programs and government funded co-op incubators have a poor track record for creating worker co-ops. More effective methods of creating worker cooperatives include converting existing businesses to worker co-ops and leveraging the institutional capacity of already existing co-ops to create new worker-owned businesses. Keywords: ESOP, conversion, worker assistance, economic democracy
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[Editor's note: This article is excerpted from What Then Can I Do? 10 Ways to Democratize the Economy, which originally appeared on Gar Alperovitz's website. The full article is also available in PDF format here.]

Many high impact, triple bottom-line ESOPS led by conscientious owners, investors, and worker-owners rise to the highest standards of fairness and inclusion. However, problematic ESOPS risk unloading unsustainable debt while practicing multi-class stock ownership that usually places workers at the bottom of the heap especially when markets turn downward similar to those infamous collateral debt obligation pyramid structures greatly responsible for the 2008 market crash, Great Recession, and subsequent public loss of trust.

Today, corporate profits are at an all-time high and employee wages are at their lowest ever as a percent of GDP.i Worker cooperatives embody the hope that we can reverse the downward spiral in wage stagnation, wealth distribution, and concentration of ownership to build an economy that truly serves people and communities.

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Where will our movement be in another 30 years? In 2040, I will be 76 years old. Chances are, if I am still alive, I will be hopefully still be blogging (or whatever the kids will be doing in those days) but I will likely not be fully involved in the movement or physically working a 40-50 hour work week. Almost all of our current leadership will be in the same position. The current crop of  Toxic Soil Busters will be pushing 50 (like I am now). What should our movement look like in that age?
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Thank you, John McNamara for advancing the conversation about the opportunities, issues, and problems of taking the cooperative advantage to scale.
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Vermont Employee Ownership Center reports onthe field hearing of the Senate committee on Health, Education, Kabir, and Pensions (HELP) conerning worker-ownership legislation Sen Bernie Sanders has introduced.   http://www.veoc.org/hearing.html

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The Association of Cooperative Educators established the John Logue ACE award at its 58th annual conference in Cleveland July27-30, 2010. Ohio Employee Ownership Center staff members, Bill McIntyre and Logue's wife, Olga Klepikova, talk about Logue's work, vision, "moxie" and his impact on Ohio and the U.S. Other ACE awardees for 2010 are also mentioned.

Permanent link to this article: http://geo.coop/node/444

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Legislation by Senators Sanders and others is meant to incentivize ESOPs.
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An employee-owned company has become the first "B" Corporation-- a new logo and certification that indicates social and environmental responsibility.
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