Why Esop Deals Have Slowed To A Crawl

Few executives seem comfortable sharing power with employees

In the 1980s, employee ownership looked like an unstoppable wave. Thousands of companies rushed to put stock into workers' hands to ward off takeovers, gain tax breaks, or respond to a conviction that employees with a stake work harder and smarter. The 1994 United Airlines Inc. buyout pushed the trend to a new level, as unionized employees purchased control of one of the nation's premier companies--not to fend off a looming disaster but to take control of their destiny.

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