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Senators Shaheen, Hassan Join in Introducing Legislative Package to Encourage Employee-Owned Companies

(Washington, DC) – Last week, as part of their efforts to expand middle class opportunity and support innovative businesses in New Hampshire, Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined a group of their colleagues in introducing two pieces of legislation to help workers form employee-owned businesses.

The WORK Act would provide more than $45 million in funding to states to establish and expand employee ownership centers, which provide training and technical support for programs promoting employee ownership. Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI).

The second bill would create a U.S. Employee Ownership Bank to provide $500 million in low-interest rate loans and other financial assistance to help workers purchase businesses through an employee stock ownership plan or a worker-owned cooperative. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives.

“Employee ownership is often a great way to preserve local jobs while giving workers a stake in business profits,” Senator Shaheen said. “It makes sense to expand opportunities for employee ownership, which is why I’m glad to work with Senator Hassan and members in both chambers of Congress to move this legislation forward.”

“Innovative businesses in New Hampshire have experienced the benefits that come from employee-owned companies, including more productive workers, better working conditions, and greater returns for shareholders,” Senator Hassan said. “This package of legislation will help expand and encourage employee-owned businesses, and in turn, strengthen our economy and provide more opportunities for success for hard-working Granite Staters.”

Broad-based employee ownership has been proven to increase employment, productivity, sales and wages in the United States. Employee ownership boosts company productivity by four percent, shareholder returns by two percent and profits by 14 percent, according to a Rutgers University study. Nationally, there are already over 7,000 employee-owned businesses which employ roughly 10 million people.