How to keep jobs in Rochester

Rochester's economy has been suffering for many years.  Unemployment usually runs 50% more than the state level and poverty has risen to 31%.  With Kodak in bankruptcy, Hickey Freemen being sold every few years, and the sale of Bausch & Lomb to Valeant, the old industrial base in Rochester, seems to be headed towards extinction. 

Bausch & Lomb had made Rochester its home for almost 160 years and for years they seemed very happy to be one of the anchors of our economy. In 1995, B&L built a new skyscraper in the heart of our city to house its corporate headquarters. At the time, such a move was questioned, but their CEO wanted to tie B&L to Rochester and a huge hard to sell piece of real estate was thought to be just the tool.  As such an investment would make both sales and moving the company more difficult. 

Unfortunately as time passed, B&L moved out of the tower and was then bought by Valeant.  A mere 18 years after the tower opened, Valaent moved B&L corporate headquarters to New Jersey.  With this came 408 layoffs and there are more to come by year end.  This company was not in trouble, it was profitable, and now Rochester is suffering a huge economic loss.  

This seems to be the way of the new economy.  There is no corporate loyalty and with the whole world as a competitor for jobs it is hard to compete as a low cost location. Municipalities are at the whim of large international conglomerates for jobs. Thus we seem to be racing to the bottom as our workers suffer rising prices and decreasing salaries.
There is a solution, though, as we do not have to be at the whims of corporate piracy.  It is time for us to embrace democracy in the work place with employee owned companies.  Presently in America there are thousands of these companies small cooperatives to large employee share ownership programs.  ( )
These function in many ways ( ) but the important thing for us is that they are tied to the area where the employees live.  This makes it harder to close the company when profitable or to move the firm to another location.
While we cannot force companies to be employee-owned, it is possible to encourage employee-owned companies.  Presently our city spends $72 million in purchasing and millions more for economic development.  If this money was used to promote employee owned companies then we could help create and maintain companies which would remain in the area and help our economy really grow.
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