08-13-2005, 12:25 AM #1
Corporate uprising needed by the workers.....time to chop off some heads
While pensions fall short, CEOs fly high
Ford, GM, United Airlines, Continental. They're just four of the companies struggling with falling profits and pension problems as their executives get huge payouts.
By Michael Brush
At companies across the country, workers are watching their pensions dwindle.
At UAL’s (UALAQ, news, msgs) United Airlines, workers stand to lose more than $3 billion in promised benefits as the airline passes its pension obligations on to the government.
Unfunded pension obligations at Ford (F, news, msgs) have risen to a whopping $12.3 billion, and General Motors (GM, news, msgs) is looking at shortfalls of $7.5 billion.
In the executive suites of these companies, however, there's no pain to be found. United Airlines chief executives John Creighton, Jr. and Glenn Tilton collected $13.1 million in the two years leading up to its 2002 bankruptcy.
And while the pension pit grows at Ford, chief executive William Clay Ford Jr. has collected $53 million over the past three years. At GM, G. Richard Wagoner Jr. got $40.7 million over that period.
It's no secret that corporate bigwigs have paid themselves handsomely while stiffing their workers and sending jobs overseas. It's particularly galling, though, to see these same executives locking in their own lifetime of luxury while rolling the dice with their workers' retirement years.
Separate and unequal pensions
Consider the case of Continental Airlines (CAL, news, msgs). Last year, with Continental and other major airlines facing massive losses and the threat of bankruptcy, outgoing Continental chief Gordon Bethune took a $22 million lump-sum payment from his retirement plan. At the same time, Continental's pension plan is underfunded by $1.58 billion.
“That situation with Bethune just crystallizes the whole unfairness of it all,” says Paul Hodgson, a senior research associate with The Corporate Library, a Portland, Me. company that examines executive pay and corporate governance issues for investors. “The amount that (executives) have earned over the years would seem to be enough to provide for their retirement, and the idea that you have to provide retirement benefits worth 50% of their annual compensation is absurd.”
Pensions don't actually shrink unless a company files for bankruptcy and passes pension obligations on to the government. Pfizer (PFE, news, msgs) has a $2.98 billion pension plan shortfall, but $19.8 billion in cash. But seemingly healthy companies can be felled by unexpected events, as United discovered after Sept. 11, 2001. GM has $35.9 billion in cash on its books (much of it tied up in its financial arm), but earlier this spring analysts speculated openly about the likelihood of the automaker filing for bankruptcy protection.
08-13-2005, 12:29 AM #2
The workers at these companies need to harass these assholes until they hate life......
be wherever they go...piss in their food....key their cars.....sink their boats....follow them around constantly like the paparrazzi.......
08-13-2005, 08:40 AM #3
08-13-2005, 11:08 AM #4
The amount most workers earn over a carreer should be enough to take care of their retirement if they weren't f*cktards with their money. There is no reason why that statement should not apply to non executives also. But good luck trying to convince some union or government employee they should take care of their own pension. IMO the only realiistic and fair way to provide pensions is through flexible defined contribution plans. Defined benefit can be riskier that it seems.
Originally Posted by Badgerman
08-13-2005, 11:30 AM #5Originally Posted by chicamahomico
Give realistic compensation to both parties and then I agree.......but as long as you have a good buddy system determining compensation for execs.....the worker's gonna get hosed......
Like I say......the CEOs and Boards need to fear the guillotine......corporate America is becoming like the French Aristocracy......
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