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The Employee Ownership Update

Loren Rodgers

January 15, 2019

(Loren Rodgers)

South Africa's ANC Endorses Employee Ownership

On January 13, the African National Congress (ANC) released its election manifesto, similar to a party platform in the U.S. The manifesto calls for the party to " [i]ntroduce legislation for the extension of company ownership to a broad base of workers through an employee ownership scheme and similar arrangements to supplement workers' incomes and build greater partnerships between workers and owners to build these businesses."

Why Dansko Is Employee-Owned

Writing in Forbes, Susan Adams describes the day in August 2005 when Mandy Cabot decided not to sell her company, which sells wooden clogs, to a much larger company. When Word leaked out that Cabot was considering a sale to Timberland, "our retailers were in an uproar, our phones at Dansko were flooded and the company was in total meltdown."

She realized that for Dansko employee, "[f]or me to even consider selling the company was appalling to them." Despite having spent ten months negotiating the sale, she had a realization: "I saw the impact the deal was going to have on everyone whose lives our business had touched, and I couldn't go through with it." In 2012, Cabot sold 100% of the company to employees through an ESOP.

Retail Downturn at John Lewis & Partners

John Lewis, the iconic UK department store and the flagship of the UK's employee ownership sector, announced in January that it would consider not paying its staff bonus. That would mark the first time that the company has not paid its bonus since goods were rationed in the post-World War II slump.

Employee-Owned Rosendin Turns 100

Rosendin (formerly "Rosendin Electric"), a six-thousand-person employee-owned company based in San Jose, Calif., celebrates its 100th year in business in 2019. The electrical contractor became 100% employee-owned in 2000, and it is currently #19 on the NCEO's list of the largest majority employee-owned companies in the U.S. Tom Sorley, chairman and CEO of Rosendin, says "employee ownership means we are not just another electrical contractor. As owners, we care about and truly listen to one another, as every employee has a stake in the future success of our company. That is why we have, and will continue to foster, a culture of shared ownership."

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