Governor Newsom Signs Ground-Breaking Law Giving Workers a Chance to Become Owners

September 29, 2022

Governor Newsom Signs Ground-Breaking Law Giving Workers a Chance to Become Owners

Legislation builds upon California’s leadership in supporting small businesses & workers

Worker-Owned Recovery California (WORC), Project Equity, and Ownership America applaud Governor Newsom for signing Senate Bill 1407 (Becker D-Menlo Park), the California Employee Ownership Act, into law. The Act equips  California's small business owners with options for succession and employee engagement and gives workers across the state a chance to become co-owners of the companies where they work. 

The bipartisan-supported measure establishes an Employee Ownership Hub within the Governor’s Office for Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) to provide business owners and workers with resources on employee ownership transitions, as well as support for existing worker-owned businesses. As California continues to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State now has the invaluable tool of employee ownership in its recovery toolbox.

Broad-based employee ownership, primarily in worker cooperatives and Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), is an effective strategy to build a more inclusive and resilient economy. In one study, employee-owners earned 33% more, stayed in their jobs 50% longer, and had twice the household net worth of their peers in traditional businesses. “With its proven track record, employee ownership will now have a bigger role in California’s economy,” said Hilary Abell, a Co-founder of Project Equity and WORC. “This could not come at a better time for business owners and workers.”

Approximately 359,000 businesses in California, employing 3.9 million people, have owners that are nearing retirement age. A majority of these owners have no formal succession plan, and most small business owners who try to sell their businesses will not find a buyer. These challenges are compounded by the continuing economic fallout of the pandemic, inflation, and the changing expectations of the workforce, as shown by the Great Resignation.

“Employee ownership enables working people to build wealth while sustaining businesses for the long haul in their communities,” said Senator Josh Becker. “Data shows that employee-owned businesses outperform their peers in profitability, productivity and resilience. Unfortunately, how to make these transitions and seize these opportunities is not widely understood. The new hub within GO-Biz will address that.”

With more than 100 worker-owned cooperatives  and close to 800 companies with Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), California is already home to thriving worker-owned businesses covering every region of the state. Employee-owned companies were four times less likely to lay off workers during the pandemic and have weathered the storm successfully. With institutional support for worker ownership provided by the California Employee Ownership Act, bill sponsors hope to see worker-owned success stories like these multiply across our state. 

“The California Employee Ownership Act is a momentous step toward expanding employee ownership in our state and creating a resilient economy that works for working people,” said Bernadette King Fitzsimons, WORC’s coordinator. “Clearly, employee ownership is a true win-win.”

 

The CA Employee Ownership Act is headed to Governor Newsom's Desk!

August 24, 2022

The WORC Coalition has exciting news to share: SB 1407, the CA Employee Ownership Act, passed out of the CA Assembly with unanimous support! 

We expect SB 1407 to head to Governor Newsom's desk early next week. We need your help to urge Governor Newsom to sign the CA Employee Ownership Act into law! Please take a moment to submit an SB 1407 signature request letter to Governor Newsom by Thursday, September 1st. 

Here is how to submit a letter: 

  1. Make a copy of the template letter. Fill in your organization's information and sign the letter (electronic signatures work).
  2. Email your support letter to the WORC Coalition Coordinator Bernadette at bkingfitzsimons@seiu-uhw.org and she’ll send it to Governor Newsom on your behalf.

We are so thankful to all of you who previously submitted a support letter to a legislative committee, and we ask that you submit a new one address to Governor Newsom. Your people power has gotten the bill passed out of the Senate and Assembly with unanimous support, and we need your help one last time to ensure this bill becomes law!

Again, many thanks for all your continued support. Feel free to reach out to the WORC Coalition Coordinator Bernadette at bkingfitzsimons@seiu-uhw.org if you have any questions.

The CA Employee Ownership Act passed out of Assembly Appropriations!

August 17, 2022

The WORC Coalition is excited to share that SB 1407, the CA Employee Ownership Act, passed out of the CA Assembly Appropriations Committee last week! This means the bill will be heard on the Assembly Floor in the coming weeks.

We are so thankful to each of you who took action to support the CA Employee Ownership Act over the past months. Your letters of support, tweets, and calls to legislators were instrumental in demonstrating strong public support for this bill and passing this hurdle.

Again, many thanks to all who have supported SB 1407. We will share action items to support the bill through the final stages of the legislative process soon!

 

Exciting Update on SB 1407, the CA Employee Ownership Act! 

June 3rd, 2022

 

We have exciting news: SB 1407, the CA Employee Ownership Act, has been passed out of the California Senate with unanimous support! This is an exciting step toward the expansion of worker ownership in California, and a win for workers, small businesses, and local economies. 

 

We’re so thankful to WORC Coalition members and supporters who have helped reach this step forward. Now, we need your continued support in ensuring that SB 1407 is passed in the Assembly, and that funding is secured in this year’s budget to expand employee ownership in our state. 

 

Right now, we have two critical asks: 

  • Send a Letter of Support to the CA Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy! 
      1. Download the SB 1407 bill factsheet and make a copy of the template letter of support. Fill in your organization's information.
      2. Email a copy of your letter of support to WORC Coalition Coordinator Bernadette bkingfitzsimons@seiu-uhw.org and she’ll upload it on your behalf. Please do so by Monday, June 13th. 
  • Call CA Senate and Assembly Budget Committee Members and ask them to secure funding to support SB 1407 and expand employee ownership in California!
    1. You can use this script to make calls!

 


 

March 21, 2022

We're counting on your support to ensure this bill becomes law. Here is what we're asking:

Send a Letter of Support! 

  1. Download the SB 1407 bill factsheet and make a copy of the template letter of support. Fill in your organization's information.
  2. Email a copy of your letter of support to WORC Coalition Coordinator Bernadette bkingfitzsimons@seiu-uhw.org and she’ll upload it on your behalf. Please do so by Friday, March 25th. 

 

Ask folks in your networks to support SB 1407!

  1. Reach out to people in your networks to ask their support for SB 1407. You can share the template letter of support. Ask them to complete it and send their copy to bkingfitzsimons@seiu-uhw.org.
  2. You can use this blurb to give context on SB 1407 & ask for support:The Worker-Owned Recovery California (WORC) Coalition is excited to be cosponsoring SB 1407, the CA Employee Ownership Act! This state senate bill will advance worker ownership in California by increasing resources for and reducing barriers to worker-led business models. It will benefit California workers, businesses, and local economies. More detail on the bill can be found in the bill factsheet. The WORC Coalition is looking for support to get SB 1407 passed. Please take a moment to make a copy of this letter of support, fill in your information, and send a copy to bkingfitzsimons@seiu-uhw.org. The WORC Coalition will submit the letter on your behalf.
Join the WORC Coalition.
If you are interested in joining, fill out this quick survey to register your interest. And feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions or thoughts!

Support SB 1407, the CA Employee Ownership Act!

March 21, 2022

We're counting on your support to ensure this bill becomes law. Here is what we're asking:

Send a Letter of Support! 

  1. Download the SB 1407 bill factsheet and make a copy of the template letter of support. Fill in your organization's information.
  2. Email a copy of your letter of support to WORC Coalition Coordinator Bernadette bkingfitzsimons@seiu-uhw.org and she’ll upload it on your behalf. Please do so by Friday, March 25th. 

 

Ask folks in your networks to support SB 1407!

  1. Reach out to people in your networks to ask their support for SB 1407. You can share the template letter of support. Ask them to complete it and send their copy to bkingfitzsimons@seiu-uhw.org.
  2. You can use this blurb to give context on SB 1407 & ask for support:The Worker-Owned Recovery California (WORC) Coalition is excited to be cosponsoring SB 1407, the CA Employee Ownership Act! This state senate bill will advance worker ownership in California by increasing resources for and reducing barriers to worker-led business models. It will benefit California workers, businesses, and local economies. More detail on the bill can be found in the bill factsheet. The WORC Coalition is looking for support to get SB 1407 passed. Please take a moment to make a copy of this letter of support, fill in your information, and send a copy to bkingfitzsimons@seiu-uhw.org. The WORC Coalition will submit the letter on your behalf.
Join the WORC Coalition.
If you are interested in joining, fill out this quick survey to register your interest. And feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions or thoughts!

Join us for a Virtual Brown Bag to learn about SB1407

March 16, 2022

Sign up for our SB 1407 Virtual Brown Bag on Monday, March 21st from 12pm-1pm! Use this link to register. More info here.

Thanks in advance for your support and solidarity!