ASBC statements in support of the Main Street Employee Ownership Act

Media Release

Washington, DC – The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) and member businesses released statements supporting the Main Street Employee Ownership Act, which is scheduled to be signed into law today. The bill, introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Nydia Velazquez earlier this year and included in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, will support the creation of more worker-owned companies and direct the Small Business Administration to provide more funding and resources to this type of business.

“We applaud Senator Gillibrand and Representative Velazquez for their leadership and recognition of the necessity for this legislation. Giving worker-owned companies better access to funding and educational programs will both strengthen existing businesses and create more jobs. Crucially, it will drive local economic activity and generate more wealth and retirement savings across all income levels,” said Hammad Atassi, CEO, American Sustainable Business Council. The bill directs the Small Business Administration to: accelerate dispersal of its loans to help companies finance the transition to employee ownership; to make these loans more available to cooperatives; and to work with Small Business Development Centers to provide employee-ownership related training, executive education, and one-on-one consulting.

ASBC member companies and organizations also endorsed the legislation:

“This signed legislation shows how broadened and deepened worker ownership emphasizing self-reliance, profit-seeking bootstrapping, stakeholder and sweat equity and workplace democracy, is fully bipartisan and made in America. The American Sustainable Business Council’s Ownership4All campaign reaches across all worker and employee ownership categories and practices to enable America’s rising worker owners and their hosting communities to choose and enact the ownership models that best meet their aspirations. ASBC advocates for a leveled tax policy playing field offering an S-Corp ESOP-like corporate income tax exemption, and the ability to deduct both interest and principal on a worker cooperative loan. The Main Street Employee Ownership Act represents a solid step in this direction,” said Michael Alden Peck, Executive Director and Co-founder, 1worker1vote.

“As a 100% employee-owned company, we see the value of investing in our employees and the positive impact it has on our community. Our business model works because more and more consumers are choosing to do business with companies that share their values. We commend Senator Gillibrand for introducing the Main Street Employee Ownership Act. This bill will allow more companies like ours the opportunity to become employee-owned and will help existing ESOPs raise money for expansion,” said Ashley Peel, Marketing Coordinator at NRS, an outdoor supply company located in Moscow, ID.

“The best motivator to success is full engagement” said Shannon Adkins, CEO and President of Future State, a management consulting firm based in San Francisco. “That’s why we’re a 100% employee-owned company. Giving employees a seat at the table has made them more engaged and productive. As professional consultants, we also know the power of information. Giving business owners the knowledge they need to implement best business practices, like employee ownership, can be transformational. We support the Main Street Employee Ownership Act and are pleased to see it become law,” she said.

April De Simone is Co-founder of designing the WE, which helps community economic development efforts incorporate local businesses and local entrepreneurship. She said, “Worker ownership helps keep profits local and rewards the local workforce, both vital strategies for building strong local economies. We are glad that Senator Gillibrand understands the need to support the many varieties of worker-ownership models. We need all players at the table to help build new engines of prosperity for all community members.”

Worker ownership provides benefits across the economic spectrum: companies get workers who are more committed and productive and less likely to leave; employees get more responsibility, greater compensation, another source of retirement income; and communities get greater consumer spending and companies that don’t relocate, keeping their wealth in place and creating long-term jobs.