House Committee Holds Hearings on Employee Ownership in Small Businesses (Feb 12, 2020)

On February 12, the House Committee on Small Business held a hearing titled “Challenges and Benefits of Employee-Owned Small Businesses.”

The Committee meet to discuss the employee ownership. Committee Members had the opportunity to learn about the benefits of employee ownership for business owners, their employees, and their local economies, and to hear from the employee ownership community on the challenges businesses face in converting to an employee-owned model, as well as ways current federal programs can be optimized to minimize those challenges.

Transcripts of testimony from ESOP advocates is available below.

  • John Abrams from South Mountain Company (Hyperlink to his PDF) commented, “I believe that owning our work is as essential to a good life as it is to own our homes…. Employee ownership “ambassadors” should be funded to visit companies who are considering transitions – to teach, train, advise, and inspire. Widespread technical assistance should be made available. Employee ownership should be the number one business succession planning option.
  • R.L. Condra , Vice President of Advocacy and Government Programs, National Cooperative Bank, (Hyperlink to his PDF) commented on how a prohibitive policy requirement by the Small Business Administration (SBA) is hindering the growth of the cooperative business sector.
  • Mark R. Gillming, Senior vice President, Messer Inc. (Hyperlink to his PDF), shared his story of as our retired CEO phrased it, “inclusive capitalism”, and the impact it has had upon hundreds of my fellow employees at Messer Construction. Messer now provides quality jobs and predictable retirement for over 1200 individuals, and has company-funded retirement assets for those employees totaling more than $400,000,000.
  • Daniel Goldstein, President and CEO of Folience, (Hyperlink to his PDF) stated, “The Labor Department must stop its policy of regulation by litigation and instead provide the clear guidance necessary so that ESOP companies, boards, and trustees may operate their ESOP trusts in a manner consistent with clearly defined rules.”