What is Employee-Ownership

Employee ownership is a broad concept for companies that include their employees as shareholders in the company’s stock. It can range from simple grants of shares, like the more well know Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOPs), to a highly structured plan found in worker cooperatives. While ESOPs are the most common form of employee ownership, with approximately 14 million U.S., this collaborative will largely explore worker cooperatives or enterprises that are solely owned and governed by their employees. Pursuing employee ownership can serve a variety of goals such as building an employees’ retirement strategy, boosting a company’s performance, a way to sell and retain an existing business, boosting equity, and/or give workers a voice in management.

Benefits of Employee Ownership

Though they make up a fraction of the U.S. economy, employee-owned businesses punch above their weight in terms of impact, particularly for low-wage workers and workers of color.

  • Employee-Ownership offers higher wages: On average employee-owners making less than $30,000 have 17% greater median household net worth and 22% higher median income from wages than their non-owner peers.
  •  Employee-Ownership builds assets: In a 2018 survey of employee-owned firms, workers nearing retirement had on average $147,522 of retirement savings from their ownership stakes. In contrast, more than one-third of all workers nearing retirement have neither retirement savings nor a defined benefit pension.
  •  Employee-Ownership creates quality jobs: Employee-owned and -operated Cooperative Home Care Associates, which is dedicated to “Quality Care through Quality Jobs” retains workers four to five times longer than the average home-care agency in a high turnover industry struggling with uneven job quality.
Benefits of Employee Ownership

The benefits of the Employee Ownership Collaborative and how to participate

Local elected officials and city staff interested in joining the Employee Ownership Collaborative can participate by joining National League of Cities and DAWI’s quarterly webinars. Local leaders are also recommended to read the reports and blogs out of this collaborative.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

  • There are no upcoming SEED events currently scheduled. 
About Us

About Us

To expand the use of employee ownership as a tool for economic development, the Employee Ownership Worker Collaborative has been established by the National League of Cities and the Democracy at Work Institute. 

About National League of Cities

The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns, and villages, representing more than 200 million people. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy, and drive innovative solutions. Overall, the work of NLC seeks to help mayors, councilmembers and other local elected and appointed leaders build better communities. 

In partnership with 49 state municipal leagues, NLC serves as a resource to and advocate for more than 19,000 cities, villages, and towns. The National League of Cities Institute (NLCI) established in 1958, is the research and education affiliate of NLC and is classified by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization. 

Our Center for City Solutions is the leading source of research, best practices, and technical assistance for city leaders. In addition to our published materials, cohort-based learning and technical assistance is a primary strategy to build capacity and create change in local government. This model enables cities to learn from each other and ensures that NLCI is learning from the practical experience of our members about implementing on-the-ground solutions.

About Democracy at Work Institute

The Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI) was founded by the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives as the only national think- and do-tank expanding the promise of worker ownership to communities locked out of good jobs and business ownership opportunities, especially for BIPOC, immigrant, and low-wage workers. Through research, innovation, government relations, and education, DAWI supports worker ownership as the superior business model for creating jobs with dignity, fair compensation, and opportunities for wealth and skill building.

DAWI brings both a birds-eye view of the national stage and an experiential on-the-ground understanding of cooperative business, making sure that our growing worker cooperative movement is both rooted in worker cooperatives themselves and branches out to reach new communities of worker-owners.



Register for the upcoming webinar 

Hear more from NLC and DAWI on Employee Ownership Collaborative in our next webinar.