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About Employee Ownership
Employee ownership serves as the foundation of businesses throughout the world, in almost every industry. Today, more than 18 million workers in the United States have some ownership stake in the place they work. A democratic workplace is more than just a way to make jobs better, it’s a way to make companies better.
Whether you’re interested in converting your business to a worker-owned cooperative, establishing an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), or implementing a hybrid model of employee ownership, the ICA Group can help.
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A worker cooperative is a business that is owned and controlled by the people who work in the company, rather than just a handful of founders or outside shareholders. They sell a product or service to customers, with the goal of generating a profit for the business and its owners. This means:
- Workers build assets through business ownership on top of wages
- The profits of the company are locally owned, creating a stable local economy for the community
- The company is more likely to be resilient and continue to serve its community through leadership transitions
“Ownership” of a business gives owners the right to business profits and decision-making about how the business is run. In a worker cooperative, workers can purchase a membership share to become a worker-owner of the business.
- Profits: Worker-owners are entitled to a portion of the business’ profits. This surplus is typically distributed to workers based on hours worked.
- Decision-making: A membership share also grants worker-owners a decision-making vote in the business. Each worker can only own one membership share, and when the cooperative holds elections for the Board of Directors, they do so on a one person, one vote basis. Worker control can take many forms, but at a minimum, worker-owners elect the company’s Board of Directors and receive information about how the business operates and how it is performing.
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The Rose Garden
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Technical Assistance for Established Cooperatives
The ICA Group believes that training and education can make a significant difference to worker-owned companies and social enterprises. Our staff of trained consultants design programs to meet your business’ specific needs and to make the benefits of ownership tangible and enduring. Our trainings include:
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Explore our additional resources for cooperatives and businesses interested in employee ownership
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Support our work to advance businesses and institutions that center worker voice, grow worker wealth, and build worker power.
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