Business groups are daring President Barack Obama to impose pay caps on labor union bosses in light of indications the White House will limit how much corporate executives can be paid.
President Obama has argued “corporate greed” has contributed to the economic crisis and appointed a “compensation czar” to review executive pay for several companies receiving taxpayer bailout money Wednesday. Now White House officials have told the press legislation should be enacted to limit executive pay in private companies through nonbinding shareholders votes.
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The Workforce Fairness Institute, which has lobbied heavily for the defeat of the Employee Free Choice Act to ease organization rules for labor unions, points to a 2008 Hudson Institute study that suggests unions have short-changed benefits for their rank and file in favor or generous executive compensation packages and to pad the coffers of their political allies, who are mostly Democrats.
“On average, the 21 largest unions pension plans had less than 70 percent of the funds that they would need to cover their total obligations, and none were fully funded,” the study said. “Seven were less than 65 percent funded. Yet 23 officer and staff funds from the same unions had 88.2 percent of the funding they would need to pay promise pensions, including seven full funded plans and another 13 with at least 80 percent of the required funds.”
Business leaders who oppose plans to limit executive pay say if it is to be passed, labor unions should be included as well.
“Given that union bosses’ job performances have yet to be scrutinized despite numerous, credible reports that they have engaged in ‘creative accounting’ and have mismanaged and underfunded worker pension plans, while wholly funding their own, is deplorable,” said Katie Packer, executive director of the Workforce Fairness Institute