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Sears CEO Lou D'Ambrosio is receiving what Sears defends as just your basic CEO compensation package. D'Ambrosio:

[...] received a signing bonus of $150,000 plus a base salary of $930,769 and $8 million in stock awards, according to a filing the company made Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

D'Ambrosio got another $852,037 in perks, including $803,856 for charter and commercial airfare and ground transportation to commute from greater Philadelphia, where he lives, to Hoffman Estates, Ill., where Sears is based. And he received $29,985 for temporary housing in Hoffman Estates. Sears paid part of the income taxes due on those benefits.

That's not because Sears has been especially profitable of late: "Sears's SEC filing shows it posted its largest quarterly loss in nine years, $3.1 billion. In addition to stores already closed, it shut another 62[.]" Think Progress's Pat Garofalo puts the layoffs number significantly higher, and notes that Sears also benefits from millions of dollars in tax incentives from the state of Illinois.

Sears' defense of itself is true, though—the company isn't paying its CEO an outrageous amount by corporate CEO standards. And CEOs are routinely rewarded for laying off workers. Sears is just participating in today's corporate culture. It's a totally corrupt values system, of course, and one that hurts family and state and national economies, but Sears is just the symptom of that. Nor is it the most disgusting example we could find. For instance, Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship became a former CEO after the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine explosion killed 29 miners under his leadership. Blankenship:

[...] got $39 million in accumulated retirement benefits, plus $14.4 million in severance and perks. These included five years' use of an office with secretary, free use of a house and land that formerly were Massey property, and reimbursement of taxes on the free house and land ($257, 111).
I'm sure Massey Energy's new parent company would tell us Blankenship earned it, that he was contractually assured of all that. But substitute one CEO with tens of thousands of union workers and see how quickly we start hearing that the contract needs to be broken because their pensions are too expensive and it's just not sustainable in today's economic environment. Now try to imagine if the union had created conditions that led to 29 deaths.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Mar 21, 2012 at 12:16 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  fuckers.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gerard w

    "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

    by Statusquomustgo on Wed Mar 21, 2012 at 12:27:52 PM PDT

  •  No bonuses for job destroyers (0+ / 0-)

    Should be illegal for execs to get a bonus when they've laid off workers. They're simply using the unemployment system to subsidize their bonus pool.

    Democrats are not always right, but Republicans are insane.

    by BobBlueMass on Wed Mar 21, 2012 at 03:21:07 PM PDT

    •  It's Called "Restructuring" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lightbulb

      And is very highly compensated though it may be a specialist like George Clooney's Mr. Ryan Bingham in "Up In The Air". You have to be paid extra for being a complete asshole.

      Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through & everything they gave their lives to flows down to me-Utah Phillips

      by TerryDarc on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 10:03:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The New Yorker had a great piece this week (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lightbulb

      ... discussing how cutting payroll can actually be quite detrimental to retail businesses.  Really worth a read:  http://www.newyorker.com/...

  •  Typical Big Business culture in America (8+ / 0-)

    ...and it's a disgrace.

    Keep in mind that this is the same Sears bought off the Illinois General Assembly into giving them a special tax break, while, at the same time, Sears was giving their CEO a luxurious compensation package, shuttering many of their stores, and is posting multi-billion dollar losses on its balance sheet! What a fucked up business culture that is!

  •  My family patronized Sears when I was a kid... (6+ / 0-)

    ...and then, as an adult, I saw how they treated their employees. I haven't been back.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 09:34:48 AM PDT

  •  We have seen far too much of this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MeToo, AnnieR

    Bonuses have been given out to bankrupt company officials all across the spectrum from bank execs to Fannie Mae execs to just so many others.

    It has to stop, regardless of political involvements and affiliations:

    http://www.sfgate.com/...

    - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

    by r2did2 on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 09:37:56 AM PDT

    •  again, case in point... (0+ / 0-)

      I'm on SFGate often and most social items like crime, murder, leaving someone w/o immediate assistance.. gets hundreds of comments. Yet this article, which defines our morality in terms of economics got ONE comment.

      Is it too abstract, too existensial, too removed from our cynical small lives to grasp? We need a few good movies to spell this out for people. (please see the article I reference below on Vaclav Havel for what he says better than I.)

      The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

      by MeToo on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 10:04:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow. (5+ / 0-)

    And he received $29,985 for temporary housing in Hoffman Estates

    Lemme tell you who doesn't get "extra" money for housing. The part-timers in Sears' receiving department.

    I write the series Confessions of a Retail Worker here on DK. It documents my life in a non-unionized workplace.

    by Lightbulb on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 09:41:14 AM PDT

  •  I know that Sears often enjoys a 'special' (4+ / 0-)

    status in many homes in the United States, but it's not always deserved:  I worked for Sears for several years, and they treated their employees terribly unfair, especially with regard to their profit-sharing/retirement program.  And that was 40+ years ago.

  •  .... (9+ / 0-)

    I teach adult computer classes at night and a year ago I had a student who was 62 and was desperately trying to learn computer skills because she had worked for Sears in the phone in catalog order department for many years--something like 20.  She had been laid off just short of retirement and her job was sent overseas.  Her husband was in poor health and they didn't have health insurance.  

    During the time that she was in the class, her husband died and shortly after that she had a heart attack.  Again--no insurance.  She came to class right after the heart attack and I asked her if she was supposed to be doing that so soon and she said she just needed a job and insurance and was willing to do anything that would help.  

    This was a great person with a strong work ethic.  She was thrown away and realistically--who is going to hire someone who is 62 and recently had heart problems?  

    Sears sucks and I have come to their defense before because I always have bought appliances from them and have been satisfied.  NO MORE.  I'm sure the small amount of money I have to spend there won't leave a gaping hole in their revenue, but I hope others do the same.

  •  Complicit in their cultural dogma (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AnnieR

    Your quote Laura:

    "Sears is just participating in today's corporate culture. It's a totally corrupt values system, of course, and one that hurts family and state and national economies,"...

    ties in nicely with something else I'm reading this afternoon:

    http://www.thenation.com/...

    QUOTE...became complicit in their oppression. “Each person is capable, to a greater or lesser degree, of coming to terms with living within the lie,” Havel wrote. What prevented rebellion was “the general unwillingness of consumption-oriented people to sacrifice some material certainties for the sake of their own spiritual and moral integrity.”

    In Havel’s analysis, in other words, the basis of Communist power was consumerism. The Communist regimes were not different in kind from the West; they were merely, to borrow a phrase, the avant-garde, and Havel thought the West should consider them “a kind of warning.” END QUOTE

    The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

    by MeToo on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 09:49:48 AM PDT

  •  And Who Sets Those Benefits For CEO's? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hillbilly Dem, MeToo, Amber6541

    Why the Board of Directors. And who appoints those Boards of Directors? Why, the individual CEO's from amongst his friends (and it's most usually HIS friends).

    Very, very cosy arrangements wouldn't you say? This happens in both privately held corporations (which is bad enough seeing how "Mr. Sears" behaved but also in publicly held companies which are publicly traded and which you and I can get a table scrap or two of what's left over from the bounteous setting this CEO<---->Board of Directors after they've had their fill.

    Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through & everything they gave their lives to flows down to me-Utah Phillips

    by TerryDarc on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 09:51:00 AM PDT

    •  And with little redress for the shareholders. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MeToo, Amber6541, TerryDarc

      An attorney friend of mine said that shareholder derivative suits were declawed during the Geo. W. Bush administration. Now it's that old carnival game "Shoot 'Til You Win" for the execs.

      The Republican motto: "There's been a lot of progress in this country over the last 75 years, and we've been against all of it."

      by Hillbilly Dem on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 09:58:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Would boycotting these companies, and letting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hillbilly Dem, Amber6541

    them know specifically the reason, help?  People are getting laid off while CEOs are making obscene amounts of money, and the only way to stop it is if we stop it.  The income disparity between executives and worker bees is just going to grow if we don't do something.  No?

    "They love the founding fathers so much they will destroy everything they created and remake it in Rush Limbaughs image." MinistryofTruth, 9/29/11

    by AnnieR on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 09:52:07 AM PDT

    •  Unfortunately this won't work... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AnnieR

      companies that operate like this are not worried about Main Street, they are doing this to make themselves attractive to Wall Street.  They are showing that they will trim all of the "fat" in order to increase their stock price and dividends - and that is all Wall street cares about.

      A nerd from Louisiana who likes the ridiculously complicated things in life.

      by Hey338Too on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 12:34:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But won't Wall Street care if suddenly they lose (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53

        a great percentage of business?  Just wondering how we can better get these CEO salaries in line with reality, and maybe save a few jobs in the process.  Years ago I worked as an office manager, clerical position really, but not without some responsibility.  A glorified secretary, as it were.  I made around $17,000 a year.  This was 1990 in GA, and it was decent pay - not great but decent.  I worked with a woman whose husband was the CEO of one of the local power companies associated with the Southern Company, and he made $500,000 per year.  Today I could probably  make right around $30,000 for doing the same thing I did back then.  And him?  The salary for my position doubled in all these years, the CEOs are now paid about 20 times what they made back then.  It's obscene.  And especially when they could give up some of that salary and save workers and still trim some of that fat.  Heck, all the fat these days belong to the CEOs.

        "They love the founding fathers so much they will destroy everything they created and remake it in Rush Limbaughs image." MinistryofTruth, 9/29/11

        by AnnieR on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 04:26:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I totally agree with you (0+ / 0-)

          but Wall Street has changed the playing field.  Instead of American workers being assets, they are only considered expenses.  So when a jerk CEO outsources a job or eliminates a position which increases the workload of other employees, he is viewed as a cost cutter and his actions are considered to be increasing profit.  

          All Wall Street is looking for is a consistent and predictable return on their investment.  They want stock prices to keep going up and dividends to be paid on time and never decreased.  They way in which a company meets Wall Streets expectations is not an issue.

          So with regard to the job you mentioned - today's CEO looks at every position in their company like this.  If the employee doesn't truly need to be in the office, a person in India or China will happily do the work for around 25% of the pay with no additional benefits.  If the employee needs to be in the office, can the 40 hours of work the position demands be effectively spread out over existing employees (so if 10 employees can handle the work that's 4 hours per employee per week or less than one additional hour per day per person)?  It's a terrible paradigm.

          I honestly don't know how it can be changed.

          A nerd from Louisiana who likes the ridiculously complicated things in life.

          by Hey338Too on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 08:29:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'm sure D'Ambrosio deserves the money (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MeToo

    Think how much more money Sears would have lost without the insight of his titanic genius.

  •  AT&T CEO received a 9% raise - to $18 million - (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, MeToo, ladybug53

    for 2011 over 2010, even though shareholder value declined 8%.

    No one can tell me these people are rewarded "on performance."  They are rewarded in a vast "back scratching" circle where everyone sits on each other's boards and hands each other money for nothin'. Four board meetings per year can equal $250,000 in your pocket -- five times the average income of a working American who works 260 days per year.

    And for that $250,000 for four days of meetings with wonderful canapes, drinks and fab catered lunches, they will vote a few more million for the dude who had someone have someone order great sandwiches.

    That's the reality of corporate "governance" today.

    What a Police State Looks Like: "On one side: soft human flesh, unprotected human skulls, cardboard signs, slogans they chant, armed with belief in 1st Amendment rights. On the other: helmets, body armor, guns, batons, chemical weapons." -- JanetRhodes

    by YucatanMan on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 10:01:39 AM PDT

  •  It's Not Culture It's the Laws Passed and Defended (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    by both political parties.

    This is why lunatic minorities can win elections; so many Americans know they're going to get screwed by both parties, even if they're not aware of the details.

    This framework came in in 1981 and the Democratic Party has had 3 WH terms supporting it, and counting.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 10:06:00 AM PDT

  •  They don't need us to work for them to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541

    make money.

    Makes me sick.

    They robbed us and everyone so that they could rob us of our government.

    tipped and rec'ed Laura.

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 10:07:35 AM PDT

  •  I forgot: money is more important than people (0+ / 0-)

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 10:13:21 AM PDT

  •  Kmart filed Bankruptcy was handled by Paul Traub (0+ / 0-)

    and stiffed all their creditors - cut loose all the stock holders as

    PAUL TRAUB (Bain/ Mitt Romney/ BofA Fleet and Gordon Brothers attorney)
    helped Ron Burkle win in the Kmart deal
    where Kmart came out of bankruptcy so strong
    it bought SEARS for cash.

    BAsturd = frukrrs

    ALL OF THEM

    PLEASE, by all means possible, THINK for yourself? Then make a difference in the world; by doing something good for someone else today.

    by laserhaas on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 10:18:38 AM PDT

  •  Penny's has my business. (0+ / 0-)

    Penny's hired & stood by Ellen.

    I shop at Penny's.

    The invasion of Iraq was a war crime, a crime against humanity, and a crime against civilization. Prosecute the crime.

    by Positronicus on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 10:21:38 AM PDT

  •  Blankenship got almost $2 million per dead worker. (0+ / 0-)

    It's hard to beat that.

  •  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp (0+ / 0-)

    There's also the unfunded Sears Executive Pension Plan that is lurking just over the horizon.

    Taxpayers through the underfunded BPGC (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp) are on the hook for this because of slick accounting allowed by Congress and the IRS and by unscrupulous CFOs and CEOs at Sears and other large corporations.

    Silence with a yawn or two accompanied this thrilling announcement

    by Ih8W on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 11:02:56 AM PDT

  •  D'Ambrosio hasn't actually fired anyone, has he? (0+ / 0-)

    He's a former CEO of communications company Avaya Inc., and he held several positions at IBM Corp. in 16 years with that company.

    I sound like Sears hired him to ramp up the on-line end of the business.

    I'm as offended by the current state of CEO compensation as the next Kossack. But this diary conflates  D'Ambrosio's paycheck with the ongoing layoffs at Sears, and then with the deaths of coal miners.

    I would hesitate to use this in a debate with a Republican. They'd say that Amazon.com and Costco are more to blame for the layoffs at Sears.

    But it's still a good case to refer to when arguing about taxing "job creators".

    Have you noticed?
    Politicians who promise LESS government
    only deliver BAD government.

    by jjohnjj on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 11:14:52 AM PDT

  •  They can all go straight to hell (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53

    I hope these people choke on their money. They disgust me to the core.

    I will never buy another thing from Sears, as long as I live. Why? Sears decided to close the little Sears in my hometown, the first time since I have been alive (48 years) that there will be no Sears here.

    I try to only support businesses that support my neighbors, too. When they told those 46 people that worked there they no longer had a job, they decided they no longer needed my business.

    I'll miss Sears. I have bought many, many things there over the years. No more. Not online, not in the next nearest Sears store, not at Kmart. No where. They are as dead to me as they are to those 46 people they just put on the street.

    Sadly, the other stores treat people no better. Even the very few remaining mom and pop places can't compete with the big boxes. It is a really sad time to be American, where the ONLY thing that matters is profit.

    “Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.” – Agnes Sligh Turnbull

    by A Man Called Gloom on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 11:31:32 AM PDT

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