Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Questioning the morality of a $54.5 million pay package

Ford's gearing up for upcoming negotiations with the United Auto Workers by offering Alan Mulally, Ford's CEO, stock options in the company worth $54.5 million.

And that's just a piece of Mulally's package. According to the Chicago Tribune, "his full compensation package has yet to be disclosed." 


UAW president Bob King is outraged:
“I think Alan Mulally is a great CEO, but I don’t think any human being in the world deserves that much money. I think it’s outrageous,“ said King, speaking to reporters during a three-day union convention in Detroit.
 In September, Ford is set to have the first negotiations with the UAW since the collapse of our economy and the bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler. The union made concessions during and after the crisis. Entry level auto workers get paid $14/hour. For workers who work 40 hour weeks, that's less than $30,000 a year in salary.

King says that's not enough to maintain a middle-class standard of living, though he recognizes that autoworkers are competing in a global arena against competitors abroad who pay less than American workers.  

But those are newly hired employees. What about more experienced workers? According to this Washington Post story, more experienced workers make $28/hour, which is about $60,000 a year.


Ford earned $6.6 billion in 2010, its best results in more than ten years. Clearly, its CEO deserves to be compensated for his success. And Ford was, of course, the only big-three car company NOT to need a bailout in 2008. Obviously Mulally's running a tight ship over there at Ford. And the $54.5 million stock package seems in line with what other CEOs have gotten over the years.


Still, the questions linger... What's enough? What's fair pay for a successful CEO? Is it morally acceptable to receive such a dramatically large payment for one's services? Especially when so many in our nation are struggling to keep their heads above water?

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