The USA just passed the first national legislation that focuses on worker cooperatives

CICOPA joins its member USFWC – the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives – in celebrating the first employee ownership-focused law in more than twenty years and applauding this “bipartisan effort to improve small business loans and outreach for employee ownership”.

Esteban Kelly, Executive Director of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, said in a press release: “This is an extraordinarily important opportunity for workers and businesses-owners in need of a strong succession strategy. This legislation is a milestone for our work in advancing worker-owned and worker-managed cooperative businesses. We believe that broader awareness of employee ownership will be game-changing for America’s small business community.”  

As the first federal-level bipartisan legislation that spotlights worker cooperatives, the Main Street Employee Ownership Act will support small businesses, save jobs through workers buyouts, and promote equitable wages. CICOPA’s member USFWC and the The Democracy at Work Institute are proud to have brought the experience of its members and partners to the table in guiding this legislation. 

I believe we’re at the beginning of an important trend in the growth of worker ownership. Worker coops are becoming a mainstream part of the US economy, and we look forward to working with the Small Business Association and Small Business Development Centers across the country to bring resources to the worker cooperative movement,” added Esteban Kelly.

This legislation, which improves access to capital and technical assistance for employee-owned businesses, greatly helps worker cooperatives, with directives for SBA (US Small Business Administration) to:  

  • Finance the sale of businesses to their employees  
  • Work with Small Business Development Centers across the country to provide training and education on employee ownership options 
  • Report on SBA’s lending and outreach to employee-owned businesses