An inspiring story about how employee-owned businesses efficiently adapt to changing circumstances – but always with the primacy towards employees.
Covid-19 crisis opened up many concerns. Among them is the dillemma of workers autonomy. Many have been forced – not by physical force but by the lack of existential alternatives – to continue working while the safety standards had not been met. Today, we read about deaths by capitalist greed – Amazon and its largest owner, who personally made a large fortune during the crisis, is the prime target here (pun intended). Tens of Amazon employees and contractors died, supposedly by catching the virus due to insufficient protection on the workplace.
Employee-owned companies allow for collective decisions and encourage workers’ self-governance. In the recent months, the King Arthur Flour company examplified just that. Read their story below.
“In 2004, the family that had always controlled the company sold it to the employees, and now everyone who puts in at least one year at the company starts getting shares. “It doesn’t matter here if you’re the CEO or you’re on the floor filling orders, you have a say in what goes on,” says Carey Underwood, director of mission-driven partnerships and programs at the company.
Reasonably enough, the first thing the employee-owners decided at the meeting was that they needed to protect their own welfare. The company immediately implemented a paid leave for anyone who felt they had any symptoms of Covid-19. Within a week, every employee who didn’t have to be physically at the company was working at home.”