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The Employee Ownership Update

Loren Rodgers

December 2, 2013

(Loren Rodgers)

Citizen's Share: A New Book on Employee Ownership

A new book on employee ownership in the United States has been reviewed or excerpted by Time magazine, PBS, and the Economist. The Citizen's Share, a Yale University Press book by Joseph R. Blasi, Richard B. Freeman, and Douglas L. Kruse, covers decades of social science research, digs into the deep roots of shared capitalism among America's founding fathers, and presents concrete policy tools to stimulate employee ownership. The publisher, Yale University Press, describes the book as showing that "an ownership stake in a corporation inspires and increases worker loyalty, productivity, and innovation. [The] book offers history-, economics-, and evidence-based policy ideas at their best."

In his article on the book, Time reporter Christopher Matthews concludes, "every working American — and the American economy in general — could benefit from having a greater stake in their company's success than hoping it survives long enough to keep cutting them paychecks." Writing in the PBS blog The Business Desk, Paul Solman says that the authors show that "worker ownership is as new as fracking, but as old as America itself. George Washington, a slave owner, remember, believed that broad-based worker ownership would ensure 'the happiness of the lowest class of people because of the equal distribution of property.'"

In contrast, an article in the Economist argues that employee ownership has both benefits and limitations, and concludes "The political appeal of employee share ownership is not in doubt. Broader stock ownership appeals to the right. Helping squeezed workers appeals to the left. Economically, however, the merits of using government incentives to encourage the phenomenon are less clear."

An excerpt (PDF) from The Citizen's Share is available at www.thecitizensshare.com, and the book is available at Amazon and all major booksellers.

UK Creates Index of Public Companies with Employee Ownership

Jo Swinson, the Business Minister of the United Kingdom, announced on November 19 that an index of the 69 companies on London's FTSE stock exchange with 3% or more of their shares held by employees would become FTSE-compliant. The Minister said, "The Employee Ownership Index will now mean investors can identify thriving employee ownership businesses and be part of their success. I hope more businesses recognise the value of this model and give their employees a greater stake in their future and the success of their company."

The Excellence in Ownership Awards

Each year, the NCEO and the Beyster Institute recognize outstanding employee ownership companies with the Excellence in Ownership Awards program. The program includes two awards. The Innovations in Employee Ownership Award seeks to recognize the innovative practices that result from having an engaged workforce of employee-owners, as well as ideas that tie stock to improved company culture or performance. The Working Better Award recognizes companies that develop high-engagement, employee-owned workplaces. Winning companies have employees take a free survey to measure the extent to which employees think and act like owners.
Companies may apply directly or be nominated by third parties, but applications must be received by January 31. Learn more on the Excellence in Ownership Awards page or by contacting Dallan Guzinski at the NCEO (DGuzinski@nceo.org; 510-208-1301).

Nomination Period for NCEO Board Elections Closes December 13

Those interested in service on the NCEO's board of directors need to complete the nomination process by December 13, 2013. The election will take place in January 2014, and winning candidates will become directors at the next annual meeting of the board of directors on April 7 and 8, 2014, in Atlanta. To learn more about nominations or the election, contact Loren Rodgers (LRodgers@nceo.org; 510-208-1307).

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