ESOPS

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After criticizing labor-management conflict a new worker-owned order is needed, one that “is designed to help us be self-reliant and to teach us to understand what it costs to produce that which we consume. . . .” This new order “embraces labor as well as capital, and it designs to make the interest of capital and labor identical.”

— Apostle Erastus Snow

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) were legislatively established first in 1974 with the passage of ERISA by Congress. I am fortunate to have been involved in the creation and ongoing evolution of ESOP laws through the years as we have sought to make capitalism more democratic by giving American workers a voice and a bigger piece of the economic pie. Helping to draft legislation, testifying in the Senate, lobbying decision-makers behind the scene—all have made for wild, wonderful adventures in changing the U.S. economy.

I saw that new laws could really make a difference. I discovered that public officials on the right, such as Orrin Hatch and Ronald Reagan, as well as others on the Left, such as Ted Kennedy and Frank Church—both sides could come together to enact legislation that strengthened local economies, gave workers more control over their employment in the future, enhanced business results for firms, and strengthened the security and self-reliance of families.

My policy experience and high impact results eventually led to political leaders in Utah offering me the chance to be the party’s candidate for Congress and/or to run as lieutenant governor. But, at that point, my energies were turning more and more to Third World empowerment of the global poor, and I realized there were unique contributions I could potentially make on a larger world scale than in Utah alone.

“Mormonism, Labor Relations, and Work,” Special Religion and Work Symposium, Perspectives on Work, pp. 46-48, Summer/Fall 2008.

“Weirton Steel: An ESOP Conversion”. Chapter in Worker Empowerment: The Struggle for Workplace Democracy (edited by Jon D. Wisman), New York: Intermediate Technology Development Group, 1991, pp. 117-130. (Also translated into Serbo-Croatian, Zagreb, Yugoslavia, 1992).

Industrial Democracy: Strategies for Community Revitalization. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications 1985. (Book, 308 pp.)

“Why Success Didn’t Take: The Hyatt Clark Experience”. Management Review, Vol. 77, No. 2, 1988, pp. 50-56.

“Reworking the Workplace”. BYU Today. October 1985.

“Promethean Industrial Relations: Labor, ESOPs, and the Boardroom”. Labor Law Journal, Vol. 36, No. 8, August 1985, pp. 618-624.

“Building Worker Democracy”. Dollars and Sense, (No. 108) July-August, 1985, pp. 16-18.

“Employee Ownership and Industrial Relations: The Rath Case”. National Productivity Review, Vol. 1, No. 2 , Spring 1982, pp. 151 163 (with Chris Meek, Boston College).

“Workers As Bosses”. Social Policy, Vol. 11, No. 4, January/February, 1981, pp. 40 45.

“Workers Take Over”. The New York Times, Wednesday, June 25, 1980, p. 27.

“Muskegon Area Labor Management Committee. Establishing a Community Wide Labor Management Committee”. National Center for Productivity and Quality of Working Life, Washington, D.C., 1978, pp. 22-25.

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ESOP Links

The National Center for Employee Ownership

The Global Center for Employee Ownership

Ownership Associates

Center for Labor and Community Research

Center for Economic and Social Justice

The Capital Ownership Group

The Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC)

Grassroots Economic Organizing

“In the future, labor is to rise still higher. The joint-stock [organizational] form opens the door to the participation of labor as shareholders in every branch of business. In this…lies the final and enduring solution of the labor question.”

— Andrew Carnegie, billionaire, founder of Carnegie Steel Corporation, Carnegie-Mellon University, Carnegie Hall in New York City, and the Carnegie Foundation