The ESOP Association Blog

Covering ESOPs and employee ownership

The ESOP Association Signs on to Coalition Letters in Support of Retirement Policy

Recently, The ESOP Association joined colleagues in the retirement community in signing on to two letters in support of issues important to the retirement savings community.

The first, as part of the Retirement Savings Network, of which the Association is a member, was a letter celebrating the 40th birthday of ERISA that included 40 facts about the legislation and the benefits brought to millions in this country that have retirement savings. The letter was sent to all Capital Hill offices.

The second was a statement to the members of the Senate Finance Committee regarding the hearing on retirement savings held on September 16, 2014. The statement was made on behalf of the Coalition to Protect Retirement of which the Association is a member. The ESOP Association also submitted comments on behalf of Association members.

Filed under: Government Affairs, , ,

The ESOP Association Submits Statement to Senate Committee on Finance in Regard to Retirement Savings

On September 16, 2014, the Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing on the state of retirement savings in the U.S. The ESOP Association submitted a statement for the record highlighting the prosperity of ESOP companies and the value employee ownership can bring to a company.

In the statement, ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling noted, “The Senate Finance Committee has a long history of supporting laws that encourage the creation and operation of ESOPs because in the vast majority of instances, ESOP companies are more productive, more profitable, with sustainable jobs for their employees that are locally-controlled, while providing retirement benefits that are greater than most U.S. conventionally-owned companies.”

The full statement can be found on the Association’s website.

Filed under: Government Affairs,

Upcoming Congressional Elections: Important

The following article originally ran as the Washington Report column in the September 2014 issue of the ESOP Report, the newsletter of The ESOP Association.

There is no doubt, no question, that The ESOP Association, from day one of its existence, is all about ESOPs. And with regard to the Association’s focus on its advocacy mission, or its ‘lobbying’ mission if you like, it is all about ESOP laws and regulations.

No matter what you, or anyone may think of the women and men who are elected by voters to serve in the Congress, the bottom line is this — what these people do, or don’t do about ESOP laws and regulations can aid, can improve, or can be the demise of your ESOP, your company’s ESOP, or your clients’ ESOPs.

So while the ESOP community will be the only ones in America who will pay very, very close attention to what is done to impact your ESOP, or not, by the Congress in passing new laws, repealing old laws, and overseeing the implementation of the laws by the regulatory agencies, it is important to be aware of the ‘big’ picture as defined by who will be re-elected in the upcoming 2014 Congressional elections.

As said time and time again by the Association and its leadership, the Association does not presume to tell ESOP advocates and participants in ESOPs how to vote. How a person votes is the prerogative of the individual.

At the same time, the Association has a fiduciary obligation to inform its members who in Congress is ‘for’ ESOPs, and who is openly showing through their actions that s/he is for ESOPs. The Association does hope that each ESOP advocate and participant will weigh how he or she decides to vote based on whether the person seeking re-election has become an advocate for ESOPs by her or his public actions while serving in Congress.

[Good news, as of this day, there is no evidence that any member of Congress is ‘against’ ESOPs and positive ESOP law. This was not always the case as recently as 2010, and in the late 70s until the late 80s, there were probably 10 or so members of Congress in that era that felt current ESOP law was a waste of taxpayer money, or the laws governing ESOPs did not result in ‘real’ employee ownership, and thus needed to be drastically altered. If a member of the current Congress feels this way, s/he has not openly said so, or proposed legislation to do so.]

There are many members of Congress seeking re-election, and in all fairness, are not to be condemned just because they are not on the ESOP Advocates list posted at http://www.esopassociation.org/advocate/advocacy-kit/esop-advocates; it is just that we do not have any public evidence that they have any position with regard to ESOPs because they have not done anything publicly to indicate favoring current ESOP law, or expanding current ESOP law, or opposing an agency’s position that would be detrimental to ESOP creation and operation. Please note, to be an ESOP advocate, the member of Congress must have taken a pro-ESOP position that is public — such as being a co-sponsor of a pro-ESOP legislative proposal, offering a pro-ESOP amendment in a Committee, and making a statement that is part of the permanent Congressional Record that is pro-ESOP. It takes more than being nice to ESOP advocates when they visit a Congressional office.

If any member of The ESOP Association wants details about an ESOP Congressional Champion who is seeking re-election, do not hesitate to contact Association President Michael Keeling, michael AT esopassociation DOT org

For example, he would share what Senator seeking re-election he thinks would single handedly try to stop negative ESOP tax law proposals by filibustering on the Senate floor. He would share what member of the House is serving on the key committees that handle ESOP legislation and ESOP oversight duties. He would help you weigh what you might do, and what you might share with your fellow ESOP participants, in terms of the question, “Does this member of Congress deserve my/our vote because s/he can protect and enhance our ESOP?”

Sure the elections coming in November are ‘big picture’ stuff that the left-wing and right-wing TV cable shows like to bloviate about ad nauseam; but understanding the part of the big picture important to the ESOP community is as important to each ESOP advocate and her/his family.

Filed under: Government Affairs, , ,

Senator Mitch McConnell’s Welcome to Chapter Conference Attendees

Recently, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) welcomed attendees to the 2014 Annual Tri-State ESOP Conference – Ohio/Kentucky and Indiana Chapters of The ESOP Association – taking place in Louisville, KY on August 27, 2014. We thought we’d share his video remarks with readers.

Filed under: Government Affairs, , ,

ESOP Champion, Senator Mary Landrieu, Makes Senate Floor Statement on Value of ESOPs

On July 31, 2014, Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu (D) took to the Senate floor to make a statement on ESOPs. Below is an excerpt of her statement; you can read the statement in its entirety here.

An excerpt of Senator Landrieu’s statement follows:

“Ms. LANDRIEU. Madam President, I wish to reiterate my longstanding support for employee stock ownership plans or ESOPs. During my time in the Senate, I have been dedicated to building on the lasting contributions of my Louisiana predecessors, including Senator Russell B. Long, who, as Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, championed tax provisions to encourage corporations to adopt ESOPs. Senator Long advocated for employee stock ownership as an “issue that cuts across party lines in an attempt to bring out the best in our free enterprise system.’’ He believed that “it is only fair and right that those who work to make this economy succeed should have an opportunity to share in that success . . . [i]t is a matter of simple common sense and basic equity.’’ I couldn’t agree more.

“Last year, as chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, I convened a roundtable to provide small business owners, policy experts and other stakeholders an opportunity to express their views and to solicit their ideas on making tax reform work for small businesses. Participants argued in favor of a Tax Code that rewards employer and employee ownership as a means of providing continuity of business ownership and opportunities for employees of businesses to build wealth. Specifically, participants favored retaining the current Tax Code’s ESOP provisions, noting that during the most recent economic downturn, ESOPs, which are predominately small businesses, were able to retain more employees as they weathered the crisis than conventionally owned companies.

“Earlier this year, the New York Times published an article describing the research of three labor economists who have focused their work on promoting ESOPs as a “new perspective on how to resolve the disparities in wealth and income.’’ I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record the New York Times article, dated February 11, 2014, and titled, “Whatever Happened to ‘Every Man a King’?’’. These experts, Dr. Joseph Blasi and Dr. Richard Kruse of Rutgers University, and Dr. Douglas Freeman of Harvard University, argue in their book, “The Citizen’s Share’’, that policies promoting employee ownership date back to the era of the Founding Fathers and have garnered support from politicians and stakeholders across the political spectrum–from Ronald Reagan to Senator Bernie Sanders.

“Quite simply, policies that promote ESOPs are policies that merit this Chamber’s bipartisan support and I will continue the work of my Louisiana predecessors to ensure retirement security for working Americans.”

The New York Times article by Thomas B. Edsall can be found here.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Message, Government Affairs,

July 2014 Link Round-Up

SEL employee owners share experiences with Illinois Congressman

Congressional visits by ESOP Association members during this year’s Annual Conference

An article by Dr. Joseph Blasi: The Founding Fathers Feared a Powerful One Percent

A few ESOP articles of interest

July ESOP Report was posted

We talked about the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s ESOP Initiative Program

Some more ESOP news highlights

The 2014 Employee Owner Retreat is getting close

2014 Summer Advocacy Kits are available

Filed under: Government Affairs, Member Services, News Links, ,

2014 Summer Advocacy Kits Available

The updated 2014 Advocacy Kit and 2014 Congressional Visit Kit are now available. Copies of the 2014 Summer Kits can be downloaded from The ESOP Association’s website. Links are below as well for your convenience.

Now is the time to meet with your member of Congress and talk up your ESOP. Really want to make a statement? Invite your member of Congress to your company for a visit. Show them what employee ownership means, first hand.

Summer 2014 Advocacy Kit – July 2014

Summer 2014 Congressional Visit Kit – July 2014

Filed under: Government Affairs, ,

The July ESOP Report is Available

The July 2014 ESOP Report is now available for members. To access this month’s issue, you’ll need to sign into The ESOP Association’s website. The Member Sign In button is located at the top of the page. To get to the ESOP Report, click Meet & Learn. A link to the ESOP Report is located on the left side menu.

July2014ESOPReportCOVERsmall

Filed under: Government Affairs, Member Services, Publication, ,

Congressional Visits

While in DC for the Annual Conference, May 8 & 9, many Association members made visits to their Congressional offices to discuss the value of employee ownership. Some even met up with members of Congress at the airport. Lesson: never pass up the chance to talk ESOP! We’ll be sharing photos below. If you have photos of a Congressional visit, please send it to media AT esopassociation.org. We’ll try to include the information in an upcoming issue of the ESOP Report and on the Association’s Blog.

Thanks to our members for their work to promote ESOPs and employee ownership in America.

Members of the California/Western States Chapter visiting Capitol Hill during the Annual Conference.

Members of the California/Western States Chapter visiting Capitol Hill during the Annual Conference.

Members of the California/Western States Chapter visiting Capitol Hill during the Annual Conference.

Members of the California/Western States Chapter visiting Capitol Hill during the Annual Conference.

New South Chapter members visited the offices of Alabama Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) during the Annual Conference in Washington, DC. New South Chapter Government Relations Chair, Karan Christopher of McCord Communications, scheduled the appointments with the Senators’ staff members and other Chapter members joined her to share their ESOP story. The visits were successful and opened up the door for future Congressional visits to ESOP companies in the state of Alabama.   Left to right: Ed Ilano (Swerdlin & Company), Jodi Lamb (Big G Express), Andy Dickerson (McCord Communications), Karan Christopher (McCord Communications), Teresa Crosslin (Big G Express).

New South Chapter members visited the offices of Alabama Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) during the Annual Conference in Washington, DC. New South Chapter Government Relations Chair, Karan Christopher of McCord Communications, scheduled the appointments with the Senators’ staff members and other Chapter members joined her to share their ESOP story. The visits were successful and opened up the door for future Congressional visits to ESOP companies in the state of Alabama.
Left to right: Ed Ilano (Swerdlin & Company), Jodi Lamb (Big G Express), Andy Dickerson (McCord Communications), Karan Christopher (McCord Communications), Teresa Crosslin (Big G Express).

From left to right: Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT), Congressman John B. Larson (D-CT), Steve Sabourin, GM of Carris Reels in Enfield, CT, and Congressman Richard E. Neal (D-MA). In an email from Steve Sabourin of Carris Reels:  “This was a great chance meeting at the airport after visiting Congressman Neal the day before.  Congressman Neal said he loved the way we do things.  I asked him what he meant.  Basically, he loved that employee owners were making visits.  I am guessing he sees this as better than a top exec or a lobbyist.”

From left to right: Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT), Congressman John B. Larson (D-CT), Steve Sabourin, GM of Carris Reels in Enfield, CT, and Congressman Richard E. Neal (D-MA).
In an email from Steve Sabourin of Carris Reels:
“This was a great chance meeting at the airport after visiting Congressman Neal the day before. Congressman Neal said he loved the way we do things. I asked him what he meant. Basically, he loved that employee owners were making visits. I am guessing he sees this as better than a top exec or a lobbyist.”

Northwest Chapter President, Judy Lippel, Sletten, Inc., with Montana members of Congress on Capitol Hill:  Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), Congressman Steve Daines (R-MT) and Senator John E. Walsh (D-MT).

Northwest Chapter President, Judy Lippel, Sletten, Inc., with Montana members of Congress on Capitol Hill: Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), Congressman Steve Daines (R-MT) and Senator John E. Walsh (D-MT).

New England Chapter members visit with Congressman Richard E. Neal (D-MA).

New England Chapter members visit with Congressman Richard E. Neal (D-MA).

Illinois Chapter members visit with Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL).

Illinois Chapter members visit with Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL).

Illinois Chapter members visit with Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL).

Illinois Chapter members visit with Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL).

Filed under: Government Affairs, TEA Members, , , ,

SEL Employee Owners Share Experiences with Illinois Congressman

On June 5, 2014, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. (SEL) employee owners shared their perspectives on company ownership with Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL) when he visited the company’s Fault Indicator and Sensor Division in Lake Zurich, Illinois.

This is Congressman Roskam’s second visit to SEL’s Lake Zurich facility. Last year, the Congressman toured the manufacturing floor and learned about SEL and the products and services it provides for power systems around the world. This time he watched a distribution automation smart grid demonstration and spoke with some of the 95 employee owners about the company’s ESOP.

Senior Manufacturing Supervisor Jose Perez, who has been with the company for nearly 25 years, said when SEL became employee-owned he went from just having a job to being an owner. Human Resources Generalist Linda Coleman, an employee for more than 29 years, noted she works with happier people in an employee-owned company, calling the retirement security “a blessing.”

Congressman Roskam indicated his strong support for ESOPs, which can help employees save for retirement, and Roskam encouraged those in attendance to continue talking about the benefits of ESOPs with their coworkers.

Thanks to SEL for sharing this news with the Association.

SEl Roskam visit

Filed under: Government Affairs, TEA Members, , , ,

Welcome to the employee ownership blog of The ESOP Association.
The place where you'll find the latest information on ESOPs and employee ownership news.
Serving the entire ESOP community.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 103 other followers

Proudly Celebrating the ESOP Fiduciary Insurance Member Program

Flickr Stream

New member, Harpoon Brewery

More Photos
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 103 other followers