The Senate Committee on Health Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a field hearing on August 26th at the Vermont State House in Montpelier. The hearing was chaired by Senator Bernie Sanders.
Entitled "Investing in American Workers: The Benefits of Expanding Employee Ownership," the intent of the hearing is to help educate committee members and others about the potential impact of two pieces of legislation introduced by Sen. Sanders.
Jon Crystal, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Steve Voigt listen as Cindy Turcot testifies during the Senate HELP committee hearing.
Witnesses testifying before the committee included: Jon Crystal of the VEOC, Steve Voigt of King Arthur Flour, Cindy Turcot of Gardener's Supply, Jeff Clark of Chroma Technology, Tom McCabe of Pizzagalli Construction, bruce Seifer of the City of Burlington's Community & Economic Development Office, Christopher Mackin of Ownership Associates, and Bill McIntyre of the Ohio Employee Ownership Center.
The first bill, the Worker Ownership, Readiness and Knowledge (WORK) Act (S.2909) would create an Office of Employee Ownership and Participation within the Department of Labor. This Office would promote employee ownership and employee participation in company decision making by providing education and outreach, training, grants, and technical support for local programs dedicated to the promotion of employee ownership and participation. The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Sen. Robert Menéndez of New Jersey.
The second bill, the U.S. Employee Ownership Bank Act (S.2914), would provide loans and loan guarantees to employees to purchase a business through an ESOP or a worker-owned cooperative. The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Leahy of Vermont, Sen. Brown of Ohio, and Sen. Menendez of New Jersey.
For video and audio coverage go to the original article, http://www.veoc.org/hearing.html