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I just wanted to make some basic mathematical observations about today’s Home Depot news, perhaps pointing out some mileposts in our ongoing national decline.  (Discussion below)

Home Depot announced today that it will lay off 950 people at call centers in three states.

If we assume that the fully-loaded cost of an average call-center employee is $75,000 (a total guess) that means Home Depot will save about $71 million in annual wages and benefits.

Interestingly, that $71 million is about 1/3 of the $210 million Robert Nardelli received in severance when he left Home Depot.

Now I would not argue for keeping underutilized call centers open for no reason.  And it is hard to argue that the housing market will recover any time soon.  (The housing bubble drove Home Depot's over-expansion).  But there should be certain standards of decency for treating employees.

According to an interview on NPR this morning, employees laid off today will not be getting meaningful severance packages.

As an alternative, Home Depot could have given Nardelli $0 – when he was essentially fired for cause – and each of the 950 employees who were just laid off $221,000 each (probably 3-5 years of salary) in severance, and come out equal.

But, I guess, the latter would be outrageous...

The former (Nardelli’s package), I guess, was just fine.

Originally posted to Minerva on Tue Dec 04, 2007 at 09:48 AM PST.

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