Many members are attracted to worker cooperatives simply for the unique experience of daily sharing with colleagues in the ownership and direction of an exciting enterprise. Eventually, however, the time will come when even the most ardent worker cooperator will need to think about moving on, to a new work experience or into retirement. What happens then? How is the ownership stake of a departing member evaluated in a worker cooperative, and how is that value redeemed over time? How are valuable assets such as real estate or brand recognition built up over time equitably transferred from one generation of workers to another? Employees who share in ownership under an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) have a very regulated way in which their contributions to the enterprise are valued and that value is paid out to workers as part of a retirement vehicle. Worker co-ops in many other countries are guided by national legislation governing these issues. There are no comparable national rules or law for U.S. worker cooperatives so each set of worker cooperators must address these important questions for themselves.
Learn how some of your peers are tackling these thorny issues of share valuation, equity redemption and asset development, and be part of the dialogue yourself. This session is part of a national study on worker cooperative equity practices being undertaken by the USFWC and the Ohio Employee Ownership Center.