BURLINGTON, Vt., June 8 – In a speech to the Vermont Employee Ownership Conference Friday afternoon at the University of Vermont, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) stressed that in a rapidly transitioning economy we must help workers around the country form employee-owned businesses:
“Instead of giving huge tax breaks to corporations who shut down in the United States and send jobs abroad to low wage countries, we must invest in creating worker-owned companies. When employees own their own companies, when they are involved in the decision-making that impacts their jobs, the results are almost always positive – absenteeism goes down, worker productivity goes up and people stay at their jobs for a longer period of time. When workers are respected on the job as full human beings who can help make the decisions for a profitable company, morale goes up.
“Employee-owned companies will not provide starvation wages to workers and huge compensation packages to CEOs. They will not allow for unsafe working conditions. They will not shut down and send their own jobs to China. In fact, study after study has shown that employee ownership increases employment, increases sales and increases wages in the United States.
“That is why I have introduced two bills in the Senate focused on employee ownership – the WORK Act and the US Employee Ownership Bank Act. Together, these bills would rapidly expand employee ownership throughout the country. By giving worker-owned businesses the tools to succeed and educating retiring business owners and employees about the benefits of worker ownership, we can allow the employee-ownership model to realize its true potential and create an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent.”