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Mini-cast 150: Happy Labor Day

An image of worker owners working together with a happy Labor Day graphic overlay and the EsOp Podcast logo.

Bret Keisling is joined by fellow hosts Jesse Tyler (of the Owner to Owner podcast) and Rodney North (of the Why Worker Co-ops podcast) to discuss what Labor Day means in the context of employee ownership.

... or watch the video of Mini-cast Episode 144 below.


Mini-cast 150 Transcript

[00:00:00] Bret Keisling: Welcome to the ESOP Mini-cast. Thank you so much for listening. My name is Bret Keisling, and as it says on my business cards, I'm a passionate advocate for employee ownership. In the United States it is Labor Day weekend, and I've spent most of the summer working on a labor of love with a couple of collaborators who become my friends.

They're previous guests and you've probably heard me talk about on the podcasts and on my social media posts, we are launching later in September the EO Podcast Network, where my two podcasts will be joined by the Why Worker Co-ops podcast hosted by Rodney North.

Rodney, thank you for coming on.

[00:00:51] Rodney North: Thank you for having me back on.

[00:00:53] Bret Keisling: And we are also joined by Jesse Tyler, who is the host of the brand-new Owner to Owner podcast that both of these, again, with my podcasts will launch as part of the podcast network in September 2021.

Jesse, thank you for coming on.

[00:01:08] Jesse Tyler: Yeah, thanks for having us back.

[00:01:10] Bret Keisling: Folks, it is Labor Day weekend. I've always enjoyed Labor Day, both when I was young and growing up and then when I raised my kids in central Pennsylvania, there's always been a great festival along the Susquehanna River. So, it's been celebratory, and I've been mindful that we are celebrating labor. And at this point, my life focused on employee ownership, I kind of look at Labor Day a little bit differently than maybe organized labor, how I used to view it.

Jesse, in the context of employee ownership, what does Labor Day mean to you?

[00:01:40] Jesse Tyler: Well, I think Labor Day for me in the context of employee ownership means a chance to eat some good food, sit by the fire pit, be with family and friends, and just think about the power of ownership. I've been texting and LinkedIn messaging with friends at the other ESOPs and there's sort of a general feeling of good cheer, feeling fortunate to be part of this.

You know, a lot of people don't even know about ownership and we're getting to experience it and our lives are richer for it and our personal wealth is growing because of it. I think of a feeling of just being valued and appreciated, and that's a great feeling. And I associate that all to ownership and Labor Day, and I hope everybody has a great, safe weekend.

[00:02:25] Bret Keisling: Jesse Tyler host of the upcoming Owner to Owner podcast. Thank you, that was beautiful.

Rodney, let's go over to you. In the context of employee ownership, what does Labor Day mean to you?

[00:02:35] Rodney North: It's reflecting about everybody who works for a living. Mostly those who are working for a wage, for an income, but also I'd like to think about all of those who work, who are unpaid -- caregivers, moms and dads, raising kids and all of that.

In the US we have over 160 million people in our workforce and only a sliver of those have the blessing of employee ownership. I'd like to see that to be much bigger. You know, like maybe somebody should start some podcast to talk about employee ownership... oh, wait a minute, that's been done! [Laughter.]

I feel lucky, you know, not only to have good work, but to be a part of this effort. And for me, Labor Day is a bit like on Thanksgiving Day, ideally, we reflect on what we're grateful for. On July 4th, I think about the roots of our civic democracy, also what we have to be grateful for and what we need to do to keep what we cherish. And on Labor Day to be thinking about the work that makes society and our economy hum, that makes a good life possible. And how can we make life better for those who are doing all of that work?

[00:03:54] Bret Keisling: Rodney host of the Why Worker Co-ops podcast upcoming as part of the EO Podcast Network. I appreciate it.

And I'm just going to hop in really quick with my own view. And as I've said, this has been a labor of love for all of us. And people are going to hear, upcoming, your own podcasts and you'll be on mine as we launch. But this has been a labor of love for us and employee ownership is the connection that's driving us together. I am filled with gratitude this Labor Day weekend for you folks, for the network that we're building together, and also to be in the employee ownership space, which addresses a lot of issues that are important to me.

I'm grateful for where we are today, but I'm mindful that when Labor Day started, it was in 1882. In New York City, they started Labor Day parades as a result of horrible labor conditions. At that point, people were working 12-hour days, children were working in the factories. Congress passed Labor Day as a federal holiday in 1894, shortly after the Pullman train riots that resulted in federal troops killing US citizens who were protesting labor conditions. We have come very far. Children don't work in our factories anymore. We don't expect 12-hour days without overtime. But jobs are still really, really tough.

So, I am grateful to everybody who works to keep our country humming. It is the economy that allows us to do so much. And I'm grateful for the work that all of us are doing to support employee ownership, which isn't just going to make the lives of the employee owners better, but of our communities as well.

Gentlemen, any last thoughts, Jesse, before we wrap up for the Labor Day weekend?

[00:05:39] Jesse Tyler: Oh, for those of us fortunate to be able to rest and reflect, please keep in mind that anybody showing up to work right now, especially in a public-facing role, it's a very challenging time to go to work.

So, please take a moment. Pause. Have an extra kind word, a glance, a thank you. Be nice to the folks that showed up. Thanks for the opportunity to contribute.

[00:06:05] Bret Keisling: Jesse, I love that. And let me say it a plainer and a little more forcefully. If you are running into somebody who is working, that's what you mean by the public- facing employee, whoever they are, wherever they are, what they're doing, smile and appreciate the fact that they have shown up to work. That's some instruction for all of us. So, thank you.

Rodney, any final thoughts as we wrap up?

[00:06:26] Rodney North: I endorse all of that. We can be grateful for those businesses that do shut down and make it possible for people to take a day off. I'd like to see more of that. And in the meanwhile, yes, for anybody you see working on Labor Day, be nice to them.

[00:06:46] Bret Keisling: And every other day as well. Let me, I guess, start a podcast network policy, be kind to employees every day for whatever the reason, but especially on Labor Day. To your point, Rodney, and it is a very good point. The folks, ironically, who are working on a day to honor those that are working deserve some extra special love. So Rodney, I do want to acknowledge the point that you were making.

Gentlemen, thank you very much. I'm very excited for later, September 2021, for the launch of the Owner to Owner podcast, the Why Worker Co-ops podcast, which will join my two efforts, The EO/ESOP Podcast and the ESOP Mini-cast as we form the EO Podcast Network.

To everybody listening to this, happy Labor Day weekend. Thank you for everything you contribute and we'll look for you next week.

With that, I'm Bret Keisling. Be well.


[00:07:38] Bitsy McCann: We'd love to hear from you! To contact us, find us on Facebook at KEISOP, LLC and on Twitter @ESOPPodcast. To reach Bret, with one "T", email, on LinkedIn at Bret Keisling, and most actively on Twitter at @EO_Bret. Again, that's one "T". This podcast has been produced by The KEISOP Group, technical assistance provided by Third Circle, Inc. and BitsyPlus Design. Original music composed by Max Keisling, archival podcast material edited and produced by Brian Keisling, and I'm Bitsy McCann.

Standard Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are my own and don't represent those of my own firms or the organizations to which I belong. Nothing in the podcast should be construed as guidance or advice of any kind in any field and the fact that I mentioned an organizational website or an advocate or a company on a podcast does not reflect an endorsement, but if you've heard your name or your group's name mentioned on this podcast, I'd love to have you come on and talk about it yourself.

A note on the transcript: This transcript was produced by Descript, an automated transcription service. While it has been reviewed by The ESOP Podcast, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the transcription. Please refer to the original audio when citing sources.


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