I get daily email updates from Google on news categories I have selected, including worker cooperatives, employee ownership, and ESOPs. Since I have signed up I have found that there is a lot of activity around the world concerning coops, some from Europe, the UK, and Canada, concerning government initiatives to foster more employee ownership.
One interesting thread of news has concerned the “UK Employee Share Ownership Index (EOI)” Articles about the index have included some from the Eurocentric Financial Times, and a look by the US based ESOP Centre. This is interesting, to me, because it does not really involve a government initiative. Sure, the UK government created the regulations for ESOPs, which are similar to US regulations, but creating the index itself, maintaining and publicizing the index, is supported by a UK non-profit and UK for-profit finance!
The Financial Times article says:
“By putting a figure on the returns from employee-owned companies, the EOI’s backers – which include the exchange, corporate finance firm Capital Strategies and the Employee Share Ownership Centre – intend to raise awareness of the value of having staff as stakeholders.”
So today I get a Google alert:
Well, an article on HuffPo about employee ownership in the US!
You could knock me over with a feather. I got to see this.
I was excited, because the HuffPo ain’t exactly “for the people,” as far as I can tell. It looks pretty much like any other corporate news outlet to me. So it seemed like a big forum for employee-owner news. Well, first off I see the “article” is submitted by Rep. Earl Pomeroy. That’s fine with me, but only confirms my suspicions about the capitalist lackey, running dog, HuffPo. 🙂 (Nothing personal, Arriana.) Moving on …
America: Land of Opportunity, is a fine submission by the Representative. The first few paragraphs lay they ground work, poverty bad, and then the next couple of paragraphs note that the US Congress created ESOP legislation, and then paragraph four really brings it home:
What’s more, these companies perform better because of the sense of common ownership: Last year a study by American Enterprise Institute economist Alex Brill found that S ESOPs were more resilient in the recent down economy, growing their jobs when U.S. employment as a whole was flat. That makes inherent sense when you consider the impact that giving employees an ownership stake in the success of the company has on their willingness to reach down for that extra effort when challenging economic times arrive.
Then paragraph five says why he is writing this piece:
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), together with 16 bipartisan cosponsors, are touting their Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act, which would make the structure available to more companies and thus benefit more U.S. employees. I hope all the talk in Washington translates to passing this legislation.
The final paragraph basically just re-iterates some of the previous points, and kinda says, ‘these are really, really, really good positions, and these aren’t jobz, these are owner-employees, and why the hell won’t more people support this obvious goodness?‘
So I check on this “Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act” at GovTrack.
Referred to Committee, Apr 16, 2013
1% chance of getting past committee.
0% chance of being enacted.
This bill was a re-introduction of S. 1512 (112th) (Sep 06, 2011).
I sigh. A two-year old bill re-introduced with 16 bipartisan co-sponsors, that does a little bit to assist citizens achieve a stake in their own livelihood, a stake in self-determination and an equitable share of the profits from their own labor, and would clearly help rebuild the US middle class and the economy, and the bill has 0% chance of being enacted.
Jesus Christ. I think I’ll go take a nap now.
I have a lot more confidence that the UK EOI will successfully raise awareness of the benefits of employee-ownership, to employees, to investors, to society and the economy and the ecology, than that the US will
ever pull its head out of its a** support citizen ownership of the means of production.
Cross-posted at MyFireDogLake