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The Employee Ownership Update

Corey Rosen

March 28, 1997

(Corey Rosen)

Italian Coalition Forms to Promote Employee Ownership

A coalition led by the Italian worker cooperative movement will present a proposal to create employee ownership legislation in Italy. The proposal, to be presented in May, will create a trust-based employee ownership plan funded out of existing pension contributions by Italian employers. The coalition includes Italy's second-largest party, the Democratic Party of the Left, two of the three major labor unions, and church leaders.

The Italian worker cooperative sector is the largest in the world, encompassing about 100,000 employees in hundreds of businesses, mostly in the construction trades. After a conference in October, the cooperative leadership decided a new legislative structure was needed to move employee ownership forward. The NCEO will serve on the board of the new coalition.

Chinese Leadership Endorses Employee Ownership

In the Chinese version of the State of the Union address, China's premier Li Peng has given his approval for reforms of state-run enterprises, including allowing employees to own stock in their companies. According to reports from China we have received, this could lead to large-scale privatization of "small" enterprises through employee ownership. In China, "small" can include businesses with thousands of employees.

Daschle Introduces Bill to Give ESOPs Charitable Status

Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) has introduced legislation to allow owners of stock in closely held companies to take a tax deduction for contributions of their shares to an ESOP. The ESOP could also act as a charitable trust, giving the donor a lifetime income, presumably funded through company contributions, in return for the shares.

New NCEO Study on Stock Options Out Soon

A new NCEO study concludes that 5 million employees work for companies with broad stock option plans. The estimate is probably conservative, but still reflects the enormous growth is this approach to employee ownership. The study will be available as part of our new publication The Stock Options Book, to be published in late April.

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