I hear the mantra quite often: “Take care of your employees, and they will take care of you.”
Unfortunately, when you’re going out of business, like Circuit City, you might wonder whether the senior management cares at all.
According to Creigh Deeds, a candidate seeking the Democratic nomination for Virginia governor, Circuit City executives are set to receive $4.6 million in bonuses as their employees lose health care coverage on March 31. He is calling on the executives to not accept that money and use it towards extending the employees’ coverage.
“The issue here is fairness. It’s just not acceptable to ask for multi-million dollar executive bonuses while denying health care to laid-off workers,” said Creigh Deeds, “The company failed, so I question why the executives think they deserve any bonuses at all. Corporate responsibility requires that we look out for all of those who have lost their jobs, not just those at the top of the salary scale.”
In some respects Deeds is right. While I feel that those who manage get paid to take risks, be creative, and direct the company, when it fails, they clearly did not do their job. So, like a ship’s captain, shouldn’t they go down with the ship? Shouldn’t their crew get to the life rafts first?
After all, the buck has to stop with the executives. If they get paid handsomely for the company’s success, shouldn’t they be equally culpable for its failure?
When a worker signs onto the company, they work hard at their job as they are told to do. For most of those set to lose their health care, they did everything that was asked of them.
But those senior executives, whose job was to keep the company solvent, clearly failed.
Yet the execs are getting the reward while the workers are getting the shaft?
Something is clearly backwards here.
Businesses fail. It’s the risk of the free market. But integrity, responsibility, and honor is universal. It would be nice to see the Circuit City executives exhibit some.
Good for Sen. Deeds at speaking out on this issue. Especially on behalf of the 1500 Henrico County Circuit City employees who are set to lose their jobs. (As an aside though, it is clearly a populist message. If you divide $4.3 million by the 34,000 nationwide set to lose their jobs, it amounts to about $126 per person. That’s not likely to have much impact. But if the money were to be put into an account and used on an as needed basis???)