Arlington, VA (February 13, 2020) On Februrary 12, 2020, The House Small Business Committee convened a hearing to discuss the benefits and challenges of the employee ownership model. Members in attendance included Reps. Velázquez (D-NY-7), Chabot (R-OH-1), Balderson (D-OH-12), Kim (D-NJ-3), Golden (D-ME-2), Davids (D-KS-3), Finkenhauer (D-IA-1), Craig (D-MN-2), Delgado (D-NY-19), Bishop (R-NC-9), Spano (R-FL-15), Burchett (R-TN-2), and Stauber (R-MN-8) .
Witnesses for the hearing included:
- Daniel Goldstein, President and CEO of Folience an employee owned company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa,
- L. Condra, Vice President of Advocacy and Government Programs, National Cooperative Bank located in Arlington, VA,
- John Abrams, CEO and Co-owner, South Mountain Company, a worker-owned cooperative in Martha’s Vineyard, MA
- Mark Gillming, Senior Vice President, Messer Construction Company, an employee owned company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The hearing explored the challenges businesses face in converting to a co-op or an employee-owned company through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), as well as ways current federal programs can be optimized to minimize those challenges.
“For decades the co-op sector has asked the Small Business Administration to level the playing field. Instead they proposed new hurdles for retiring business owners to convert their business to a cooperative.”
R.L. Condra, National Cooperative Bank
- Rep. Velázquez expressed her commitment to ensure that the Small Business Administration finds a solution to the personal guarantee requirement that is a barrier for cooperatives;
- Additionally, Rep. Velázquez is meeting with a roundtable of Small Business Development Centers, and will speak with them about promoting the cooperative ownership structure;
- Likewise, Rep. Golden is interested in spreading education and outreach about employee ownership;
- Rep. Balderson probed for information about how the Small Business Committee can address healthcare needs for workers; and
- Rep. Stauber praised small business owners like the panelists for their innovative, common-sense solutions
To view the hearing, please visit: https://youtu.be/Zp_Rn4c31As