Senator Visits Niagara Gear to Discuss Employee Stock Ownership

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will use what she learned at the plant to support legislation encouraging employee stock ownership in the country.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., recently paid a visit to Gear Motions’ Niagara Gear facility in Buffalo, New York. After touring the plant, she held a round-table discussion with employees to hear about their experiences working at a company with an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).

ESOPs are designed to help workers share in the success of their company. According to the National Center on Employee Ownership, workers with ESOPs tend to have higher wages and benefits, to be four times less likely to be laid off, and to have 2.5 times more in retirement savings than workers without an ESOP. The plans are also said to reduce the risk of businesses suddenly leaving their communities.

Gear Motions took the first step in becoming an employee-owned company in 2005 by creating an employee stock ownership plan. In 2010, Gear Motions completed the sale of the company to its employees, becoming 100 percent employee-owned.

Sen. Gillibrand currently supports two bills that are intended to encourage employee ownership in the United States