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Gillibrand visits Niagara Gear in Buffalo to discuss employee stock ownership plan

STAFF REPORTS


BUFFALO -- U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today visited Niagara Gear, which supports and rewards its workers through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Niagara Gear manufactures gear parts for various industries, including the automotive, aerospace, medical, and energy industries, among others. Gillibrand gathered feedback from employees currently enrolled in the ESOP to inform her legislation in the Senate supporting employee ownership around the country.

Employee Stock Ownership Plans allow workers to benefit from the wealth they generate for their companies. According to the National Center on Employee Ownership, workers in an ESOP are paid 5 to 12 percent more, they are four times less likely to be laid off, and they have 2.5 times more in retirement savings than workers who are not in an ESOP. They also reduce the risk of businesses suddenly leaving their communities. Businesses with ESOPs have proven track records in creating high-quality, locally rooted jobs, and in investing in the success of their workers.

“Too many hardworking New Yorkers are still struggling to get jobs that pay them enough to take care of their families, pay for their children’s tuition, and save for retirement, because their companies care more about shareholder value than their own workers. Companies can absolutely reward work without sacrificing profit, and ESOPs are a proven way to do it,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I will continue to fight as hard as I can in the Senate to pass legislation that rewards work and supports employee ownership around New York and the country.”

Gillibrand currently supports two bipartisan bills that would encourage employee ownership of companies. The Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act would eliminate barriers to establishing new small business ESOPs and ensure that small businesses eligible for Small Business Administration Programs will remain eligible if the company becomes an ESOP, and the Small Business Employee Ownership Promotion Enhancement Act would encourage small businesses to become employee-owned by providing technical assistance to help companies transition ownership to workers through an ESOP.