Last month, New Era Windows Cooperative opened as a worker-owned cooperative in Chicago after a five-year struggle to preserve their livelihoods. This In These Times article by author Kari Lydersen details the workers’ struggle that began in 2008 when Republic Windows and Doors threatened to shutter the factory, inspiring the workers to occupy the facility.After the new buyer Serious Metals failed to bring the business back, the workers decided to take matters into their own hands, negotiating a buy-out of all the equipment and the facility itself with the help of the United Electrical Workers union. The new worker-owners worked with the microfinance group The Working World to help finance the purchase and with the Center for Workplace Democracy to learn the ins-and-outs of business management.
In this recent report, Alex Brill of Matrix Global Advisors quantifies the macroeconomic impact of S-corporation Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) companies in 2010. Using publicly available data from the Department of Labor, the report finds that S-corporation ESOP companies account for 1.4 million jobs, $77 billion in labor income, $246 billion in output and $27 billion in tax revenue nationwide. The author argues additionally that the structure of these ESOPs leads to greater firm longevity as well as higher wages, greater job stability, and increased retirement plan contributions. Furthermore, the report shows that S-corporation ESOP companies are more resilient in an economic downturn, resulting in positive impacts for workers, customers, neighborhoods, and local economies.
In the face of economic insecurity, this policy memo from CFED argues that an asset building approach can help families build their financial assets as students, homeowners, or entrepreneurs, thereby empowering individuals to steward their own resources more effectively and contribute to their own economic success. Highlighting how many Americans lack basic financial security, the memo calls for federal policy reforms that give low-income households better access to the financial tools and knowledge they need to build a secure future. Recommendations include improving tax incentives for low- and middle-income savers, reauthorizing the Assets for Independence Program and reviving US savings bonds.
This new report from The Democracy Collaborative and the Responsible Endowments Coalition seeks to connect struggling communities to local institutional wealth through engaging student activism. The report profiles three administration-led initiatives and three student-led initiatives, as well as five potential future partnerships, where institutional investments are directed into local communities in a way that empowers low-income residents, develops small businesses, and generates sustainable economic development.
A new report from the University of Southern California’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity examines Integrated Voter Engagement (IVE) as a means of organizing individuals to affect positive change in their communities. IVE aims to engage voters not just at election time but also in the interim to build a permanent infrastructure for civic engagement to achieve social justice. Looking specifically at state-based IVE (particularly in Florida, but also in Ohio, California and Virginia), the authors argue that this approach has the potential to forge alliances — between unions and community groups, for example — that can scale up and have national impact.