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Sen. Gillibrand working to get more businesses transitioning to employee owned

May 14, 2018

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was in town today Monday to announce her bipartisan legislation that would support small businesses.

The Main Street Employee Ownership Act would help companies transition to employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), or cooperatives.

Gillibrand said its time to start rewarding work again.

"It means pulling the brakes on companies that want to shut their doors and send jobs overseas. It means ensuring that every hardworking man and woman has the means to save for retirement, vacation once in a while and take the time off when god forbid someone in their family is ill."

She says these models would help the thousands of companies whose founders are nearing retirement age, keeping companies running and running locally.

"It would improve access to small business administration loans available to ESOPs and co-ops, so they can secure the resources that they need to succeed. Second, it would help businesses transition to ESOPs and co-ops when the owner is getting ready to retire so that workers can stay employed and the community doesn’t have to lose a business."

Gillibrand spoke at H&C Tool and Supply who implement an ESOP.

Don Waltzer is the President of that company.

"We're proud to be here in Rochester, we want to stay her in Rochester. It’s good for the long term and it’s especially good for those loyal employees who have worked so hard to create an environment where the founder can in fact retire. Now they can work and get the benefits of that hard work."

Kate Washington is the CEO of OWN Rochester, who works to develop employee owned businesses.

"It’s not just a matter of making sure that people have a shared value, that are going to be honored in their work, but also those families are now able to contribute to their own neighbors and their own local economies."

The Act passed the house last week.