ESOP Organized As a Taft-Hartley Trust
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In July 1990, a group of unions (represented by Attorney Olson) and management at Rosauers Supermarkets, a regional grocery chain of 15 stores headquartered in Spokane, Washington, entered into an ESOP buyout to save 1,250 jobs. The union buyout team, which included several different unions, was led by Sean Harrigan, then president of the UFCW local union. They developed some interesting procedures to ensure proper protection and representation of unionized employees interests in an employee owned company, where high level management employees own a portion of the company outside the ESOP. The ESOP trust is designed as a Taft-Hartley Trust with labor and management exercising block votes and the provision for a neutral third party to solve potential disputes within the ESOP Committee. They designated a number of shareholder and board of director issues as supermajority issues. They also provided for a termination of their wage set-aside agreement in the event of any foreclosure, liquidation or sale of the company without union approval.
In June of 2000, the approximately 2,100 employees, by unanimous vote, re-sold the company to URM stores.