Just because it can.
Steve Greenhouse at the New York Times reported Sunday,
Despite earning a record $4.9 billion profit last year and projecting even better results for 2012, the company is insisting on a six-year wage freeze and a pension freeze for most of the 780 production workers at its factory here. Caterpillar says it needs to keep its labor costs down to ensure its future competitiveness.
The company’s stance has angered the workers, who went on strike 12 weeks ago. “Considering the offer they gave us, it’s a strike we had to have,” said Albert Williams, a 19-year Caterpillar employee, as he picketed in 99-degree heat outside the plant, which makes hydraulic parts and systems essential for much of the company’s earth-moving machinery.
Caterpillar, which has significantly raised its executives’ compensation because of its strong profits, defended its demands, saying many unionized workers were paid well above market rates. To run the factory during the strike, the company is using replacement workers, managers and a few union members who have crossed the picket line.This is just gross.
Hamilton Nolan at Gawker has a great idea: Tie the CEO pay to workers' pay. He writes,
...what Caterpillar and its executives are doing is wrong. They are taking from the poor to enrich the already wealthy. They are using the unemployment crisis as a weapon to pitch working class people against one another. So here's an idea: let's just tie executive pay to worker pay, by law. Pick a maximum multiple that a CEO can make. 20 times that of an average worker? 50 times? 100 times? The number is less important than the principle. Once corporate executives are tied to their workers in pay, the low man needs to get a raise in order for the high man to get a raise. The economic interest of the executive class is aligned with that of the working class.Then, he writes, "watch it fly."
Wouldn't it be nice?