Friday, February 15, 2013

BTW, Carnival Cruise exploits workers, pays nearly zero in taxes

By now you probably know that the Carnival cruise from hell has docked in Mobile, Ala. You probably don't know Carnival Cruise paid a federal income tax rate of 1.1 percent on more than $11 billion in profit between 2004-09.

You may also not know the cruise line fired 150 workers from India last year for protesting their pay -- $1.20 an hour. They were working 350 hours a month for $400. Cruise Law News tells us what happened:
... for about 90 minutes the waiters engaged in a "good-humoured" demonstration dockside about the low wages.... 
Not only did Carnival prohibit them from returning to work on the Arcadia but banished them from working on any Carnival cruise ship world-wide. 
In addition, Carnival instructed the hiring agency, Fleet Maritime Service International, which is registered in Bermuda to avoid taxes and labor regulations, to prohibit the waiters from ever working for Fleet Marine as well. The Guardian explains that "the Fleet payroll office is in the tax haven of Guernsey. Yet the letter is signed by an Edward Jones, the chief financial officer of Carnival UK." 
Fleet Maritime is the largest employer of cruise ship personnel in India, and Carnival runs half of the world cruise market.  So Carnival essentially "black balled" 150 cruise waiters from one-half of the world's cruise ships.
If you haven't been following the story of the disabled Carnival cruise ship, the Chicago Tribune reports:
Thousands of relieved passengers poured ashore from a stinking cruise ship on Friday after five days adrift in the Gulf of Mexico with overflowing toilets and stench filled cabins. 
Exhausted passengers lined the ship's decks, waving towels and flashlights, cheering and singing "Sweet Home Alabama" as tug-boats pulled the stricken Carnival Triumph into the port of Mobile, Alabama... 
The end of the saga, documented live on U.S. cable news stations, was another public relations disaster for cruise giant Carnival Corp. Last year, its Costa Concordia luxury liner grounded off the coast of Italy, killing 32 people.
The passengers praised the underpaid crew:
Jacob Combs, an Austin, Texas-based sales executive with a healthcare and hospice company, praised the ship's crew. 
"Just imagine the filth," said Combs, 30. "People were doing crazy things and going to the bathroom in sinks and showers. It was inhuman. The stewards would go in and clean it all up. They were constantly cleaning," he said.
(You might also want to check out Gawker's priceless story on how a CNN reporter compared the "shit-covered Carnival cruise ship" to Hurricane Katrina here.)

Carnival Cruise Lines was named by Sen. Bernie Sanders as one of the top 10 corporate tax evaders in the country last year. Not only did most of the other nine NOT pay federal taxes, they got money BACK from the government.

Sanders' other top tax avoiders for 2009 were Exxon Mobil (got $156M back), Bank of America (got a $1.9B refund), General Electric ($4.1B refund), Chevron ($19M refund), Boeing Co. ($124M refund), Valero Energy ($157M refund), Goldman Sachs (1.1 percent tax rate), Citigroup (zero in federal taxes) and ConocoPhillips ($451M in tax breaks).