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Buying the Company: a glossary

ESOPs (Employee Stock Ownership Plans): ESOPs are a way for companies to use future earnings of the corporation to acquire ownership for employees. For employees, the ESOP is a kind of employee benefit plan, in which they become partial or sole owners in the company. Once owners, employees accumulate stock in the company in an ESOP account until retirement or departure of the company.

Profit sharing: Bonuses are paid as a function of company profits either immediately in cash or, most common, in increased company contributions to pensions.

Worker-owned Cooperatives: Co-ops are businesses that are organized, owned and controlled by the people who use or pool the co-op's products or services. In a worker-owned cooperative, workers pool their labor and are called members.

Livelyhood's third one-hour special, "Honey, We Bought the Company," aired on PBS in September 1998. For information on how to order the show, call 510-268-WORK.

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