Labor unions and worker-owned businesses share the objectives of generating better jobs and giving workers control over their workplaces. The scaling of worker ownership paired with unionization offers pathways to expanded worker power and wealth-building for working people. The purpose of this paper is to show strategies used by labor unions to support the creation … Read More
How does a business go about transitioning —“converting”— to a worker-owned cooperative? This report provides illustrations with case studies of businesses that have converted and highlights key lessons from those companies’ experiences. The report categorizes conversions into four types: Type I: Owner sells to existing employees with the intention of remaining with the company; Type … Read More
From orphan to owner and then finally deciding to secure his legacy and transition his company to an ESOP, the founder of Mid South Building Supply, Norman Rales, had a monumental impact on the future of his company and the people who work there. Hear from the new owners (the employees) about how being an … Read More
This short book presents reflections from Father José María Arizmendiarrieta, the founder of the Mondragon worker-cooperative conglomerate in the Basque country of Spain. His reflections contain economic insights. But these aphorisms and fragments reveal that his central motivation was spiritual—not to the exclusion of the practical, but with the recognition that plutocratic capitalism, also, is … Read More
In Croatia in 2005, a machine tools factory was occupied by its workers. Since then, they have operated collectively, becoming the only successful example of a worker occupation in post-socialist Europe. Today, as they seek a new model of collective ownership, the world of the factory clashes with the forces of the globalized market economy, … Read More
Isthmus Engineering is an example of a highly democratic worker-owned firm operating in an industrial sector that one might not think of as fertile ground for participatory democratic governance—the design and manufacture of highly technical custom automation machinery. From the beginning, membership in the cooperative has been open to any worker, regardless of role or … Read More
This primer focuses on one set of tools the labor movement can utilize to build power, expand wealth, and deepen member engagement in the years ahead: worker ownership. It explores: How Unions and Worker Ownership Work Together How Worker Ownership Can Build Power for Workers The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Overcoming Challenges Looking … Read More
This mini-case study examines S&C Electric Company, the storied Chicago-based employee-owned company that was founded in 1911. The mini-case study introduces the company’s history and describes how employee ownership preserved the company and its jobs during a key generational transition.
This mini-case study examines ComSonics, which first adopted an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) in 1975, introducing its culture and its unusual Employee Advisory Committee.
This case study examines employee share ownership at Central States Manufacturing, where the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) shares stunning sums of wealth with employees. Central States designs its ESOP to allow participants to access a portion of their ownership wealth while they are still employed at the company, through hardship and service withdrawals. This … Read More
As KKR, a private equity firm, prepared to take Gardner-Denver, one of its portfolio companies, public in mid-2017, a discussion arose on the Gardner-Denver board about the implications of granting approximately $110 million in equity to its global employee base as part of its innovative “broad-based employee ownership program.” KKR (formerly known as Kohlberg Kravis … Read More
SRC employee-owners share how they impact the company’s bottom line – from idea sharing to cost savings. SRC Holdings is an open book employee owned company based in Springfield, Missouri.
Employee-owned businesses tend to outperform their competitors, a growing body of research shows. According to the National Center of Employee Ownership, businesses with employee ownership models grow sales and employment at a faster rate than businesses without such programs. Employee-owned firms also perform better than their counterparts during recessions, per research from Georgetown University. For … Read More
This article focuses on the unique organizational structure, ownership model, and decision-making process at Mondragon Corporation, the world’s largest consortium of worker-owned cooperatives.
In spite of the rich body of evidence on the effects of HPWS, there are at least two relatively unexplored yet potentially important questions: (i) The conditions under which the HPWS is best introduced and best sustained; and (ii) in what way the HPWS will need to evolve when external environments change. Our findings fill … Read More
This case study provides an in-depth look at a company’s board of directors’ composition-related decision-making in the context of broad-based participatory processes and the desire to maintain a profitable and fully employee-owned and governed enterprise.
With a growing prominence of sophisticated econometric research in a much-expanded field of New Economics of Participation (NEP), it is of particular value to learn about real-world examples of participatory and labor-managed firms in the advanced market economies through extensive case studies. In this volume of Advances in the Economic Analysis of Participatory and Labor-Managed Firms, … Read More
The closure of Fagor Electrodomésticos in October 2013, the most iconic cooperative in the Mondragon Group, not only cast doubt on the economic and social management of the cooperative itself but also called into question the very viability of the overall cooperative model.
The chapter reinforces the fundamental roles of information-sharing and participation in enterprises with shared ownership, while making key distinctions between shopfloor and office workers experiences and perceptions.
A review of the literature found that companies that practiced a progressive set of HRPP and made decisions based on democratic principles are rare. Thus, knowledge of such a company should be valuable.
Whereas prior studies have used across-industry data to find that employee-owned firms are more likely to survive recessions than others, what such firms do differently was unclear. A literature review failed to reveal a prior study that looked at the internal practices that may cause this to happen.
Led by CEO Zhang Ruimin, Haier in 30 years has gone from a money-losing, rigid hierarchy, state-owned, local firm to a profitable, flexible structure, collectively-owned, multinational enterprise. This transformation has been done in well-defined steps. In 2012, it was moving toward operating as a platform for microenterprises. The platform was to be open to both … Read More
Synopsis Carris Reels, a reel-manufacturing company headquartered in Vermont, had long-standing goals of being employee owned and governed. They also had a strong organizational (ownership) culture. The Corporate Steering Committee (CSC), a committee composed of representatives from management and non-management employees, and the board of directors had a decision to make about adding two new … Read More
This two-page Business Action Guide describes the Wikoff Color’s unique formula for employee ownership.
MONDRAGON, the largest cooperative in the world, and the inspiration for several U.S. cooperatives, faces a challenge in 2013 after one of its largest cooperatives votes to leave the group and another goes bankrupt.