Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Teamsters protest retaliation at McKesson today

Teamsters protest McKesson's retaliation against Florida warehouse workers. 
The Teamsters protest of McKesson Corp.'s retaliation against its Lakeland, Fla., warehouse workers is taking place right now during the company's annual shareholder meeting in San Francisco.

Though McKesson employees voted for Teamster representation more than a year ago, the company still will not agree to a first contract that provides decent wages and affordable health care.

McKesson, the largest pharmaceutical distributor in North America hired a union-busting law firm and has threatened and intimidated the workers rather than agree to a contract.

CEO John Hammergren, meanwhile, is looting the company treasury with $131 million in compensation last year -- after McKesson paid nearly $1 billion to settle claims that it stole from taxpayers and customers through price-fixing. 

The Teamsters protest against retaliation at McKesson is just the latest manifestation of labor unrest that's sweeping the country. Today hundreds of fast-food workers in Chicago and Detroit walked off the job, following similar actions in New York, St. Louis and Kansas City. Teamsters are striking Gold Cross Ambulance in El Centro., Calif., to protest low wages and dangerous working conditions. The protests, strikes and rallies are fueled by anger by CEO looting. They are all aimed at the same thing: empowering workers to stand together and fight for fair treatment and living wages.

McKesson faces not just the Teamsters protest. Investors at today's meeting are challenging the election of two directors and demanding changes to the company's compensation policy.

Forbes reports today:
Should one of the largest drug wholesalers have a clawback policy for executives? Two institutional investors believe the notion is overdue for McKesson MCK +0.35%, since the wholesaler has paid more than $1 billion in recent years to resolve regulatory and other legal disputes without publicly disclosing any clawback steps. Meanwhile, McKesson ceo John Hammergren received $131 million in compensation last year. 
And so, the LongView Funds run by Amalgamated Bank and the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust are pushing a proposal to be voted on at the McKesson annual shareholder meeting tomorrow. As they see it, the move will “increase transparency, encourage executive pay-for-performance and discourage senior executives from engaging in behavior that could cause significant financial harm to the company.” 
What do they want? The investors argue that the current McKesson policy is too weak because misconduct is defined as acts that are intentional, regardless of the degree of harm, and they maintain the existing policy sets too high a standard under which clawbacks may be applied. For instance, theft is not covered if the amount of money stolen by an exec does not materially harm the wholesaler.
Stay tuned.