Creating Good Jobs: Lessons Learned from Worker Cooperatives, ESOPs and B Corporations
Founder and Strategic Advisor, PHI
CEO and Chairman, Integrated Packaging Corporation
Research Director, The National Center for Employee Ownership
Maryland State Senator and Professor at American University’s Washington College of Law
Reporter for Wonkblog, The Washington Post
Thursday, October 10, 2013
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
At the Aspen Institute
One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036
A special thanks to the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Surdna Foundation for their support of this discussion series.
The U.S. economy continues to add jobs at a modest, yet steady pace. While job creation is a positive sign that the economy is beginning to heal, job reports in the last few months show that low-wage sectors are the industries where people are predominantly finding work. Notably, these include home health care, retail, restaurant, and temporary staffing industries. In addition to low pay, other job quality issues, such as few benefits, part-time hours, and limited training and advancement opportunities, are becoming more common in many sectors as some companies seek to maximize shareholder returns at the expense of investing in their workforce. A number of businesses, however, are trying to buck these trends and show that businesses can create quality jobs for their workers and still succeed in the marketplace. Worker-owned cooperatives, B Corps companies, and businesses with employee stock ownership programs may offer ideas about ways to improve the returns to work. Wages above industry standards, investments in employees’ skills development, profit sharing, democratic workplaces, and the use of metrics that evaluate how a business is treating their workforce compared to their peers are just a few of the practices some of these businesses use to improve job quality. When successfully implemented, these businesses benefit from a skilled, productive and loyal workforce that helps drive innovation and healthy returns. These models, however, are not without their challenges. Many worker-owned cooperatives have failed and some ESOPs have ended up hurting the workers they were designed to benefit. In this event, panelists will have an honest discussion about these different approaches, including what it takes for these types of business models to succeed, the impacts of these models on profits and worker success, and what we can learn from these models that can apply to creating better jobs in our economy overall.
Speakers and Moderator
Steven Dawson, Founder and Strategic Advisor, PHI
As its founding president, Steven Dawson guided PHI for 20 years. Under his leadership, PHI grew into a $7 million organization with a staff of 35, working to secure quality care through quality jobs for our nation’s direct-care workforce. During his years as president, Steven served on the board of Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA), PHI’s affiliated $60 million home care agency, which now employs 2,300 home care aides in New York City — the largest worker cooperative in the country. He was also the founding chair of Independence Care System (ICS), New York’s first Medicaid-funded chronic care demonstration program for adults living in their homes with disabilities, which now coordinates care for 5,000 elders and people with disabilities, providing more than $250 million in annual services. Steven was also the founding co-convener of the Eldercare Workforce Alliance which, with 28 national members, is the nation’s only coalition organized to strengthen the caregiving workforce serving older adults. Steven has co-authored with the Aspen Institute several landmark publications on low-wage and health care employment issues. Previously, he founded the Industrial Cooperative Association (now The ICA Group). In May of 2013, Steven was inducted into the National Cooperative Hall of Fame for his decades of leadership in developing low-income worker cooperatives. In his current role as Strategic Advisor, Steven assists the president of PHI, Jodi Sturgeon, and PHI’s leadership team on matters of resource development, business development, and public policy.
Albert Fuller, CEO and Chairman, Integrated Packaging Corporation
Albert D. Fuller is Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Integrated Packaging Corporation LLC (IPC), a corrugated box and packaging manufacturer headquartered in Detroit Michigan. Mr. Fuller established IPC in 1992 and IPC has grown into one of the nation’s leading minority owned manufacturing companies. IPC has manufacturing plants in urban areas in Michigan and Louisiana. IPC in 2010 had sales revenue exceeding $100 million. IPC’s past awards include Procter and Gamble’s Minority Business Enterprise “Company of the Year,” “Top 100 Industrial Company” by Black Enterprise Magazine, as well as a Harvard Business Review Case study. Mr. Fuller is a Presidential appointee, currently serving as a member of the Secretary of Commerce’s Manufacturing Council and as a Board Member of the Hitachi Foundation, which focuses its efforts on business’s role in poverty amelioration.
Camille Kerr, Research Director, The National Center for Employee Ownership
As the Research Director at the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), Camille conducts research on legal developments and trends in employee ownership, including surveys on executive compensation at ESOP companies, corporate governance practices, equity compensation practices at private companies, and more. She is a frequent speaker on employee ownership and has contributed to a number of NCEO publications. Camille also works on projects to increase awareness and understanding of employee ownership at the state, national, and global level. Camille is also a Director and Treasurer for WAGES (Women’s Action to Gain Economic Security), a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the economic and social wellbeing of low-income women through cooperative business ownership. She earned a J.D. from the University of Cincinnati, College of Law, where she graduated cum laude.
Jamie Raskin, MD State Senator and Professor at American University’s Washington College of Law
Jamie Raskin is a professor of constitutional law at American University, a Democratic State Senator in Maryland, and a Senior Fellow at People for the American Way. A progressive State Senator who came to office in 2006 in a landslide upset victory against a 32-year incumbent, Senator Raskin has twice been elected with more than 99% of the general election vote. He is the Majority Whip of the Senate and Chairman of the Montgomery County Senate delegation. In the last two years, Raskin led the successful floor fights in the Senate for marriage equality and for repeal of the death penalty. He has seen more than 60 of his bills become law, including historic legislation, such as America’s first Benefit Corporation law defining a new kind of corporation committed to creating public benefits as well as profits and numerous laws advancing civil rights, civil liberties, and consumer rights. A prolific author, Raskin’s books include Overruling Democracy: The Supreme Court versus the American People, a bestselling analysis of Bush v. Gore and conservative judicial activism, and We the Students, which examines cases affecting America’s students and has been called “the bible of the new movement for constitutional literacy.” Raskin founded the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, which has sent more than a thousand law students at 20 law schools into public high schools across the country to teach a course in “constitutional literacy.”The Huffington Post has called Raskin “one of the country’s most talented state legislators,” the Washington Post has described him as Maryland’s “authority on constitutional issues,” the Silver Spring Voice called him the “whiz kid” of the General Assembly, PolitickerMD.com named him “Maryland’s Smartest Legislator,” and the Takoma Voice named him Montgomery County’s “Most Responsive Elected Official.” Senator Raskin is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he was an Editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Lydia DePillis, Reporter for Wonkblog, The Washington Post
Lydia DePillis is a reporter for Wonkblog at the Washington Post, where she covers business policy, trade, housing and urban affairs. Ms. DePillis’ recent coverage has examined the proposed living wage legislation in Washington D.C. and Wal-Mart’s fight against the proposal, income inequality, executive pay, and the bankruptcy in Detroit. Previously, she was a staff writer covering technology at the New Republic and a reporter at the Washington City Paper covering land use. Ms. DePillis is a graduate of Columbia College and is originally from Seattle.