Employee ownership is having a moment—but how might that momentum translate into our national politics? John Case of Employee Owned America lays out his vision in a recent article from The New Republic. The Democratic Party, Case argues, has a unique opportunity to champion the bipartisan cause of expanding employee stock ownership plans, or ESOPs.
The benefits of ESOP structures are large and well-documented:
“These companies are typically more productive than their conventionally owned peers. They grow faster, pay higher wages, and are less apt to lay people off in a downturn. Successful ones—as most are—enable employees to build up serious wealth over time. A recent Rutgers study found that the average worker in a company with an employee stock ownership plan has already accumulated $134,000 in wealth just from his or her stake in the business. Some have a million or more.”
The data speaks for itself. But how can the ESOP candidate push the transformational capacity of ESOPs into the national conversation?
Case envisions the winning optics of a PR push featuring the employee-owned businesses that dot our country. And he details a knock-out economic case for voters to get behind:
“Right now, an estimated 9 percent of the workforce own stock in their employer through an ESOP. If that share increased to 30 percent or more, many more people would have the economic cushion—and the prospect of a comfortable retirement—that they now lack. And today’s ridiculously unequal distribution of wealth would begin to shift—modestly at first but at a greatly accelerated pace over time.”
But if any candidate is going to run on a vision for an employee-owned economy, it will all come down to the pitch.
“Just imagine that crusading ESOP candidate putting a simple pair of questions to the electorate: What if you had an ownership stake in the company you work for? What if it didn’t cost you anything?”
Be sure to read the full article here.
At MassCEO, we’re doing what we can to drive the conversation forward. We know that employee-owned business is good for Massachusetts and the country—and so do voters across the political spectrum. They see what we see: that employee ownership isn’t about partisanship. It’s about generating jobs, wealth, and stability for Americans who work hard to deserve it.