The City of Belfast, in cooperation with the Maine Employee Ownership Network and metalworkerscooperative.weebly.com , will be holding a public forum at 6:30 PM on Thursday, July 11th, at Belfast City Hall Chambers for the purpose of developing a Metal Workers’ cooperative, as well as other new businesses in Belfast. Of particular interest are business structures where employees own and manage the businesses in which they work.
“In a worker cooperative or other type of employee-owned business, people get to experience real democracy where it counts- in the workplace. Employees get to determine the focus of their company and vote on important issues such as wages, benefits, bonuses, and safety, increasing their sense of well-being. As a result, employee-owned companies are generally more stable, with less turnover and fewer closings,” said Brad Sherwood, co-founder of the Maine Employee Ownership Network.
Michael Emery, co-founder of the Maine Employee Ownership Network, says that employee-owned businesses are good for their communities: “Employee ownership allows more people to build up wealth that stays in the community and is spent at local businesses. Employee-owners are also encouraged to show real creativity and experience a democratic ethic, because they see the results of their effort, and there is a ripple effect of positive impact on the surrounding community.”
This forum is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. All are encouraged to bring ideas for developing and supporting employee-owned and democratically-operated firms, especially in light manufacturing and artisanal products.
According to Belfast’s Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge, “the City of Belfast certainly wants to support the development of new businesses within the community, regardless of their structure or organization; we also recognize that employee-owned businesses are a quickly-growing sector of the U.S. economy, and we are definitely interested in facilitating the creation of new businesses of this type.”