Allow us to freeze your wages for seven years and cut the starting rate for new hires. That’s part of the “deal” the union at Mercury Marine was offered. Bravely, they said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
A Journal Sentinel article quotes the Mercury Marine president, “Quite simply, Mercury is capable of producing many more engines than the market will require in the foreseeable future. Our facilities were designed and built during much different market conditions and are now underutilized.”
This seems to be a problem of management and planning. But, of course, for which, the everyday workers will have to sacrifice.
According to the Executive Paywatch Database, Dustan McCoy, CEO of the Brunswick Corporation (Mercury Marine’s parent company), “In 2008, Dustan E. McCoy raked in $9,334,343 in total compensation. In the previous year the CEO of this company made $8,623,206. Total CEO compensation has increased by 8%.”
I’m sure these executives will be taking a pay-cut and agreeing to a wage freeze to show solidarity with their workers – the ones who actually produce the goods that allow the executives to get such ridiculous compensation. The average unionized Mercury Marine worker earns $20 per hour; roughly $41,600 per year. McCoy’s earnings alone are equivalent to the yearly wages of nearly 225 workers.
Pundits, talking-heads, parrots, and a generally business-friendly press all seem to be on board with the idea that a reduced-wage job is better than no job at all. It’s always the responsibility of the lowest on the ladder to feel the pain. Why is there no longer accountability among the executives that are supposed to be running these companies? Why, when profits decrease, or when their stock value decreases are executives still rewarded with increased compensation? While simultaneously laying off workers and rewriting union contracts forcing workers to make concessions.
Alongside this, these same pundits always push for state giveaways to the corporations. Subsidizing workers’ wages or healthcare outright is bad policy. Rather than just directly giving tax breaks, incentives, or subsidies to workers, the circuitous route of trickle-down is preferred. They rationalize that giving away millions to corporations to create/retain jobs is sound policy.
Thom Hartmann offers an idea for how we might get this country back on the right track.