What does it mean to be an owner? In We the Owners: Employees Expanding the American Dream, employee owners from New Belgium Brewing, Namasté Solar and DPR Construction answer this important question.
Successfully thriving in the global economy of the 21st century and beyond will require new business models and strategies to enable the American Dream of opportunity and economic prosperity. One model that is an alternative is the employee-ownership model (e.g. ESOP, stock/stock options, cooperatives). We the Owners captures stories from the founders and employees from New Belgium Brewing, Namasté Solar, and DPR Construction, sharing the worker’s perspectives on shared ownership structures, highly empowering corporate cultures, linked reward and risk incentives, and human-capital innovation models. The film follows as decisions are made on founding the company, expansion, succession, recruitment, and layoffs.
President Lincoln's Speaker Galusha Grow finally retired from the House of Representatives in 1902; he gave one last speech on “Labor and Capital.” Having seen both the successes and limitations of the Homestead Act, where the distribution of land was facilitated by the federal government, he proposed that because there were growing limitations on capital in the form of land, the future will be in assisting property ownership via shares of corporations. Profit and equity sharing could be used to provide access to property rights to workers in the new industrialized economy. - Galusha A. Grow, the "father of the Republican party"
Hubert H. Humphrey
“I have viewed full employment as a top priority goal for this country. But I also recognize that capital, and the question of who owns it and therefore reaps the benefit of its productiveness, is an extremely important issue that is complementary to the issue of full employment. I see these as the twin pillars of our economy: Full employment of our labor resources and widespread ownership of our capital resources. Such twin pillars would go a long way in providing a firm underlying support for future economic growth that would be equitably shared.”- Hubert H. Humphrey, U.S. Senator (D-Minn.) Washington D.C.
President Ronald Reagan
"More than 100 years ago, Abe Lincoln signed the Homestead Act making it possible for our people to own land. This was a revolutionary development. Ownership of land in most of the world had not been possible for the ordinary citizen.... The Homestead Act set the pattern for American capitalism.... Now we need an Industrial Homestead Act, and that isn't impossible." - Radio commentary, "Tax Plan No. 1," /Viewpoint with Ronald Reagan/, February 1975.
Senator Bernard Sanders
“Instead of being a cog in a machine, workers who have decision making power over their jobs come to work with a sense of satisfaction that relatively few employees have in our economy today!”
-- Senator Bernard Sanders,self-described democratic socialist from Vermont, in his address to attendees of the 2012 Las Vegas Conference and Trade Show by ESOP Association
President Ronald Reagan
“I can't help but believe that in the future we will see in the United States and throughout the Western World an increasing trend toward the next logical step, employee ownership. It is a path that befits a free people.”
President Ronald Reagan, fortieth President of the United States, Speech on Project Economic Justice