Co-ops /Employee Ownership
Wednesday, November 30th, 2022

What is an employee-owned business? Simply put, an employee-owned business is a business in which the people who work for a business are also its owners. Employee ownership, however, can take many forms. In the U.S., the most common form, as established in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974, is the employee stock ownership plan or ESOP. An ESOP is structured a 401. Over 10 million Americans own stock through ESOPs, so they are very common. However, most decision-making in ESOP companies typically stays with managers. Another more strictly democratic form of employee ownership is the worker co-op. With a worker co-op, the business is not only owned but also democratically controlled by the workers, who directly elect the board of directors.   

Explore this section to learn about ESOPs, worker cooperatives, and other structures that allow for direct worker democratic control of business.