About Employee Ownership
Once Again Nut Butter is 100% employee-owned. We are a company with an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP); however, we govern ourselves as a worker-owned cooperative. The biggest difference between a worker co-op and an ESOP is in the valuation of company stock. In our employee-owned company, all the employees are owners.
The employee-owners meet on a regular basis. All employee-owners have a vote on how the company is managed, and we govern ourselves. Each person gets one vote. Our company meetings are held to address the following: company policies, operational issues, and financial strategies. Committees are also formed to help resolve issues, which are subject to a final company vote (1 person = 1 vote). We have at least 3 employee-owners sitting on our Board of Directors.
The income that is generated in our business is distributed fairly. For example, a 4:1 compensation ratio of highest to lowest paid employees. Profit-sharing bonuses are distributed equally to all owners.
We are not hierarchical in our structure. The supply chain is flatter, and streamlined in the way that commodities are grown, purchased, and distributed. Products are produced with a higher level of integrity because the employees share ownership and they take pride in what they are producing.
Our employee-owned company cares a great deal that our growers make a fair wage, so we engage in fair trade practices. We start co-ops in developing countries, helping to address issues of economic crisis and poverty. We also engage in domestic fair trade practices supporting small and rural farms, making sure that beekeepers receive a fair price for crops.
About Our ESOP
An Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) is an employee benefit plan that makes company owners of company employees. At Once Again, the workers-owners own 100% of the company. The shares of our company stock and other plan assets allocated to our accounts must vest before we are entitled to receive them. "Vesting" is a process whereby we become entitled to an increasing percentage of our accounts over time. We receive the vested portion of our accounts at termination, disability, death, or retirement. These distributions are made in a lump sum or in installments over a period of years. If we become disabled or die, our beneficiaries receive the vested portion of our ESOP accounts right away.