Why aren’t other companies doing this? Employees wonder.

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Michael Moore’s new film puts spotlight on Petaluma company

By Jeremy Hay, Press Democrat

In “Capitalism: A Love Story,” which opens today around the country, Moore takes aim at what he characterizes as a capitalist culture run amok.

He holds up the bakery – with 117 employees and $24 million in annual revenues – as an example of a successful capitalist alternative, where workers are as powerful as executives, profits are shared equally and workers are valued for more than their labor.

“This could be potentially a new model,” said Cory Fisher, a field producer and researcher for Moore. “A way for workers to feel engaged and not marginalized, and that they have a stake in their future.”


“They stood out,” she said. “They’re successful, their workers are able to make a living wage, they seem empowered and happy and you just start to look around and wonder, “Why aren’t other companies doing this?”


Why aren’t other companies doing WHAT?

Starting their own, Employee Owned Business.

Ever since I saw the film, I’ve been wondering the same thing.

Why aren’t other companies doing this,

Starting their own, Employee Owned Business?

What’s the hold-up?  What are the Obstacles?  What would be the Benefits?

And HOW would such a hierarchical transition, even work?

How Does an Employee-Owned Company Work?

by Lauren Vork, Contributor

Ownership and Profit Sharing

In an employee-owned company, shares of the company are distributed among all of its workers and are not traded publicly on the stock market. Such companies often implement a system of profit-sharing.

Decision Making

Decision making within a fully employee-owned company happens democratically, but the particulars of organization and hierarchy are determined by the particular company.


That’d be nice, eh?  to get ‘a share’ of the Profits, that your blood, sweat, and tears (and stress and creativity) go into producing, day in and day out.

What a Novel Idea!  

Surely there must be something else, preventing this from happening — some vacuum of leadership, that would make such Employee-run Companies — grind to a halt?

Think again.

The Employee Ownership 100: America’s Largest Majority Employee-Owned Companies

May 2009

Companies must have at least 50% of their stock owned by an ESOP, a stock purchase plan in which most full-time employees can participate, a profit sharing plan or other trust, or some combination of such plans.


ESOP: Employee Stock Ownership Plan

PS: Profit Sharing Trust

SP: Stock Purchase Plan

Company   City   State   Plan   Industry   Employees

Publix Super Markets   Lakeland   FL   ESOP, SP    supermarkets   142,000

Hy-Vee W.   Des Moines   IA   PS   supermarkets   55,000

CH2M Hill Inc.   Denver   CO   SP   engineering/construction   24,800

Golub Corporation   Schenectady   NY   PS   supermarkets   24,000

Lifetouch   Minneapolis   MN   ESOP   photography studios   20,000

Nypro   Clinton   MA   ESOP   plastics manufacturer   18,000

Houchens Industries   Bowling Green   KY ESOP   supermarkets & other services   16,000

Daymon Worldwide   Stamford   CT   ESOP   private label broker   15,000

WinCo Foods   Boise   ID   ESOP   supermarkets   12,200

Parsons   Pasadena   CA   ESOP   engineering/construction   11,500

Black & Veatch   Kansas City   MO   ESOP   engineering   9,600

Amsted Industries   Chicago   IL   ESOP   manufacturing   9,200

Graybar   St Louis   MO   SP   electrical wholesale   8,600

W.L. Gore & Associates   Newark   DE   ESOP   manufacturing   8,000

HDR, Inc.   Omaha   NE   ESOP   engineering/architecture   7,700

Davey Tree Expert    Kent   OH   ESOP   tree service   7,000

More …

So obviously this Model of running a Company CAN Work!

Interesting.   Perhaps THIS is the Wave of the Future, we’ve been waiting for?

Perhaps we should be supporting these Employee-based Companies, INSTEAD of their Earth-ravaging counterparts — of the Corporate variety? Corporations where Nameless, Unaccountable CEO’s, making piss-poor decisions, to placate even more Nameless, Unaccountable shareholders, (very far removed from the scene of the crimes transactions).

Perhaps putting the workers, in charge of those “shares” would put more “long term” SANITY, back into critical Business decisions?

It’s worth a try … cuz, what we got now, just Ain’t working!

Wikipedi employee-owned companies

This is a list of notable employee-owned companies.

“Notable” is defined as having an article in Wikipedia, or obviously qualifying for one according to WP:CORP.

— Abt Associates

— Acadian Ambulance

— Alion Science and Technology

— Alliance Holdings

— Alpine Lumber Co.

— American Cast Iron Pipe

— American Excelsior

— America’s Gardening Resource

— Amsted Industries

— Andersen Corporation

— Angeles Millwork and Lumber Co.

— Antioch Publishing

— Appleton

— Armstrong Garden Centers


— Aspen Systems Corporation

— Arvig Communication Systems

— Austin Industries

— AVI Systems, Inc

— Barr Engineering

— Besser Company

— BHA Group

— Bi-Mart

— Black & Veatch Corporation

— Boat USA

— Bob’s Red Mill

— Bradford White

— Branch & Associates

— BRB Contractors

— Brookshire Brothers

— Brown and Caldwell

— Bureau of National Affairs

— Burns & McDonnell Engineering

— Carter’s Foods

— CH2M Hill

— Charles Machine Works

— Chicago and North Western Railway

— Cianbro Corporation

— Columbia Forest Products

— ComSonics, Inc.

— Cooperative Home Care


— Crucible Materials

— Dahl’s Foods

— Davey Tree Expert Company

— DCH Auto Group

— DeRosa Corp.

— Digital Transmission Services

— DreamHost

— Drew George & Partners, Inc.

— Dunn-Edwards Corporation

— Dynetics

— Ebby Halliday Realtors

— ENVIRON International Corp

More …

Support those good folks if you can
. Keep Business decisions, in the hands of the Business Employees — those who really know what’s happening on the ground, in today’s world.

And if you can, look into converting the company you work for, into one of those Employee Owned Businesses.  Become part of the Solution, instead of Part of the Problem   (– That or maybe start looking for one of those Companies to work for, yourself?)

How to Start an Employee-Owned Company

Giving employees a tangible stake in a company increases productivity and creates a loyal atmosphere that will inevitably lead to greater business success and profits for everyone.


Sounds smart.

If you can take your Workplace, from here to there.

But where there’s a will, there’s way — I used to always hear growing up.  Stranger things have happened, in the wild-west world of Business.

Maybe it’s finally time, for some “saner things” to start happening too?

If not now, when?

As Michael Moore’s film demonstrated, Capitalism is definitely on the skids. Something else needs to rise up and take its place — or were all in a world of hurt, in the long run.

Why shouldn’t that ‘something else’ be,

Hard-working People, taking charge of their own destinies,

by demanding a stake in their own,

Employee-Owned Business?

Stranger things have happen …


    • jamess on May 9, 2010 at 15:08

    that seems to me,

    to be one of those “Untapped Resources” —

    at least untapped, by Society, in general.

    But what do i know?

    I’m just a working drone.

    • banger on May 10, 2010 at 04:40

    This is the main way to create a better world order–it really is. Thanks for the list of companies I didn’t know there were so many.  

    • RiaD on May 10, 2010 at 22:56

    please, would you consider cross-posting this to my wee-tiny blog?

    we are trying to find solutions, make resource lists of just this type of thing….

    thank you for this essay

    it really opened my eyes!


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