Friday, August 2, 2013

McKesson shareholders reject CEO pay

Teamster Glenn Gray, McKesson warehouse worker
Shareholders said “no more” to a pharmaceutical distribution company lavishing extravagant wages on its CEO while paying its workers so little they can’t afford health care.

At the McKesson annual meeting in San Francisco on Wednesday, shareholders sent a resounding message that they’ve had enough with the company’s excessive pay packages for its CEO. A majority vote by the shareholders rejected the CEO’s compensation package and approved a shareholder proposal to strengthen the executive pay clawback policy. The proposed clawback policy would allow the company to recoup some of the boss’s pay if it is discovered the pay was based on inaccurate financial reporting or misconduct.

McKesson has had to pay out nearly a billion dollars to settle allegations of price fixing and Medicaid fraud. The scandal happened during John Hammergren’s tenure as chief executive. Still, the board richly rewarded him with roughly $50 million a year in total compensation.  His pension, valued at $159 million, is likely the highest for any executive in history according to compensation consultants interviewed by the Wall St. Journal.

Perhaps even more shameful than the CEO’s pay is the workers’ pay. Glenn Gray, a 10-year McKesson employee from Lakeland, Fla., stood up at the meeting to tell the CEO that the pay for McKesson workers in his distribution center is so low that many of his co-workers cannot even afford to pay for their healthcare. “Most cannot even afford to set aside one percent of their paycheck into their 401 (k),” he said.

Workers at the Lakeland facility voted for Teamster representation nearly two years ago and still don’t have a first contract.  The company has hired union busters and retaliated against workers who support the union. At a rally outside the San Francisco shareholder meeting, Teamster leaders pledged the solidarity of Teamster members throughout North America to support the fight of McKesson’s workers in Florida.
Teamsters Local 337 in Detroit has represented McKesson employees for nearly two decades. “McKesson employees work hard and they deserve to earn a decent wage and have affordable health care and a safe work environment,” said Teamsters Local 337 President Mike Martin.

Steve Vairma, Teamsters international vice president and director of the union’s Warehouse division, said, “McKesson Teamster members from 13 local unions across North America have put the company on notice that an injury to one Teamster is an injury to all. If McKesson wants to wage war on its Florida workers, it’s going to find itself fighting all of us.”

“This company profits off the hard work of some 1500 Teamsters employed at McKesson distribution centers as well as off the billions of dollars in prescription drug purchases made by Teamster families through our affiliated health funds and their pharmacy benefit managers,” said Ken Wood, international vice president of the Teamsters union. Wood’s local union represents the Lakeland employees.  Inside the meeting, he warned, “I will not stand silently by and allow a company like McKesson to use the hard earned assets of Teamster affiliated health funds to hire union busters and undermine workers’ rights.”

Teamsters rally outside McKesson shareholder meeting on Wednesday.