The U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives celebrates the passing of the first national legislation that focuses on worker cooperatives

As the national membership organization for worker cooperatives and democratic workplaces, the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives applauds this bipartisan effort to improve small business loans and outreach for employee ownership.

The U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC) thanks U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in the Senate and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez in the House of Representatives, as well as support of co-sponsors Senator James Risch (R-ID), Chair of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ranking Member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) for their support of the first employee ownership-focused law in more than twenty years.

“This is an extraordinarily important opportunity for workers and businesses-owners in need of a strong succession strategy. This legislation is a milestone for our work in advancing worker-owned and worker-managed cooperative businesses. We believe that broader awareness of employee ownership will be game-changing for America’s small business community.” said Esteban Kelly, Executive Director of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives.


“Too many hardworking New Yorkers are still struggling to get jobs that pay them enough to take care of their families and save for retirement. I was proud to pass into law my bipartisan bill, the Main Street Employee Ownership Act, to help companies reward work without sacrificing profit,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “Employee-owned businesses have a strong track record of better pay and retirement benefits for workers and a commitment to creating local jobs. This legislation is one of the most significant expansions of federal support for employee ownership to pass into law in more than two decades. I will continue to fight as hard as I can to pass more proposals like this into law to reward work and support employee ownership around New York and the country.”

As the first federal-level bipartisan legislation that spotlights worker cooperatives, the Main Street Employee Ownership Act will support small businesses, save jobs, and promote equitable wages. The U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, is proud to have brought the experience of our members and partners to the table in guiding this legislation, particularly the important work of our nonprofit affiliate The Democracy at Work Institute.

“I believe we’re at the beginning of an important trend in the growth of worker ownership. Worker co-ops are becoming a mainstream part of the US economy, and we look forward to working with the Small Business Association and Small Business Development Centers across the country to bring resources to the worker cooperative movement,” says Kelly.

This legislation, which improves access to capital and technical assistance for employee-owned businesses, greatly helps worker co-ops, with directives for SBA to:

  • Finance the sale of businesses to their employees
  • Work with Small Business Development Centers across the country to provide training and education on employee ownership options
  • Report on SBA’s lending and outreach to employee-owned businesses

“I am proud to join forces with Senator Gillibrand to advance this important legislation to make it more affordable for local businesses to adopt an employee-owned structure, creating retirement opportunities for more entrepreneurs, while financially empowering employees with a stake in their workplace” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY).


Want to learn more?

Watch our August 27, 2018 webinar on the Main Street Employee Ownership act.


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