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The Employee Ownership Update

Loren Rodgers

January 2, 2019

(Loren Rodgers)

Is 2019 the Year of Employee Ownership?

Writing in the Intercept, reporter Rachel Cohen reviewed the year in employee ownership politics and legislation. She noted the long-time advocacy by Sen. Bernie Sanders and the more recent bipartisan support that led to the Main Street Employee Ownership Act becoming law in 2018. She also previewed unpublished research by Danish economics researcher Esben Baek, who built on work published by the NCEO in Employee Ownership and Economic Well-Being. Baek found that young ESOP participants have a 13% wage advantage over their non-ESOP peers, and that ESOPs benefited men and women approximately equally. She cited the long-time employee ownership researcher Joseph Blasi, who reflected on what happened during 2018: "I've been working on them for over 40 years, and only now have ESOPs become cool."

Employee Ownership in Jamaica

Writing in the newspaper the Gleaner, Jan Keil of the University of the West Indies argues that Jamaica's economic development program should have a long-term employee ownership program as a core component. Dr. Keil suggests that employee ownership might transform work ethics while giving employees a share in company profits.

Heath Ceramics Becomes Employee-Owned

The well-known tile and homeware company Heath Ceramics announced that it was establishing an employee ownership plan. One of two owners, Robin Petravic, says, "We are always asking ourselves the question: how do we keep on ensuring Heath runs on the same values and keeps its creative spirit for the next 200-plus years? We invest in our people and community. An ESOP enables our long-term vision."

Ring in the New Year; Ring Out the Old

Loren Rodgers, the NCEO's executive director: "I feel lucky because a big part of my job is talking with people about their dreams for their companies. 2018 was an especially wonderful year because we also worked on legislation, unveiled exciting research (see here and here), and produced some new resources (like this one) that we think will help make employee ownership grow and thrive. 2019 is looking like a year of growth, both for the NCEO and for employee ownership. You will see new publications, continuously innovating meetings, more dramatic research results, a new website, and lots of new projects to introduce more people to employee ownership. For those of us on the staff and board of the NCEO, the biggest internal change is the retirement of Deborah Krant, our conference director since 1997. We wish her well!"

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