Pro-ESOP Legislation: Work Act, US Employee Ownership Bank Act
[UPDATE: More information about S. 3421: WORK Act and S. 3419: United States Employee Ownership Bank Act is now available.]
A press release from the office of Sen. Bernard Sanders [I-VT] announces the introduction of ESOP Legislation (112th Congress) that would expand employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and employee ownership:
Employee ownership increases employment, productivity, sales, and wages. Unfortunately, the federal government has not done enough for employee ownership to realize its full potential. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday introduced legislation that would expand employee ownership so, he said, "we can create stronger companies in Vermont and throughout this country, prevent job loss, and improve working conditions for struggling employees."
Under one bill in Sanders' package, the U.S. Department of Labor would provide funding to states to establish and expand employee ownership centers. These centers would provide training and technical support for programs promoting employee ownership and participation throughout the country. This legislation is modeled on the success of the Vermont Employee Ownership Center which has done an excellent job in educating workers, retiring business owners, and others about the benefits of worker ownership.
A second bill would create a U.S. Employee Ownership Bank to provide loans to help workers purchase businesses through an employee stock ownership plan or a worker-owned cooperative.
Both measures are cosponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii.).
Sanders discussed the bills at a news conference in Burlington, Vt., where he was joined by Paul Millman, co-founder and CEO of Chroma Technology in Bellows Falls, Vt.; Cindy Turcot, the chief operating officer of Gardener's Supply in Burlington; and Deb Harris of PT 360 in Williston, Vt. They represent the more than 30 worker-owned businesses in Vermont and about a half a dozen worker cooperatives. Nationally, there are more than 10,000 employee owned businesses throughout the country with about 10 million employees.
"I am very proud that Vermont is leading the way on expanding employee ownership in this country," Sanders said. "Simply put, when employees have an ownership stake in their company, they will not ship their own jobs to China, they will be more productive, and they will earn a better living."
The bills will likely be similar to the versions submitted by Sen. Bernard Sanders [I-VT] in December 2009 during the 111th United States Congress:
As always, we will post the text of and links to the Legislation when it becomes available.