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         Daily Blog - Tiger Software

                            August 27, 2007

                Labor Day's Greetings.

             White and Blue Collar Workers Are
            Mostly Unorganized Now.  Americans
            Are Paying A Big Price for The Decline
            in Trade Unions Here..

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It's Labor Day!  Organized Labor's Contributions
       Are Easily Forgotten, if They Were Ever Learned.  
       That Is A Real Peril Today! 

For most Americans, Labor Day is just a 3 day weekend with lots of barbequed hot
         dogs.   It should be a lot more.   We should rememeber organized labor's contributions
         if only because the American worker again is fast becoming dangerously over-worked
         and dangerously under-paid. 

                   What's more, yours may be the next job they send overseas or the next job that  is
        "outsourced"  to a "contract employee" company that pays nothing into your retirement fund
         and offers you no health insurance.   Already 40 million Americans have no health
         imsurance.  Though they are working, they simply cannot afford it.

                  Americans forget, if they were ever taught, that Big Capital did not voluntarily
         agree to a 40 hours work week, the abolition of child labor and laws to protect workers
         from hazardous employment conditions.   They fought every attempt to permit workers
         to organize without reprisal.  And they opposed, and still, oppose the right of unions to make
         campaign contributions, even though Big Business campaign contributions dwarf
         those of unions.  These victories for basic human rights, that many of us now take
         for granted, were won for all Americans because of organized labor's efforts and

                  Fifty years ago more than one third of  all Americans were members of a
        Union.  Now only one worker in twelve outside of government is a member of
        a union.  Walter Reuther and John L. Lewis were household names whom Presidents
        had to consider.   What Lewis said sixty years ago is, oh, so relevant today.

           "The union miner cannot agree to the acceptance of a wage principle which will permit his
            annual earnings and his living standards to be determined by the hungriest unfortunates
            whom the non-union operators can employ."

                  Why now is only 1 in 12 workers in the private sector a member of a union?   Why
        have real-time real wages gone steadily down?    Why have the hours worked per week
        risen steadily?  Technology and computers, in particular, were supposed to be
        liberating forces that would give us all more freedom to grow as individuals and
        time to spend with our families and friends?

                    Many blame Clinton for letting Amercian companies send millions and millions of
        manufacturing and service jobs overseas.   Clinton, they say,  put the interests of Wall Street
        ahead of Main Street.   Others blame Ragan for when he fired the unionized Air Traffic
        controllers.  Still others blame it on CEO greed.  Remember when Michael Douglas'
        character in the movie "Wall Street" said "Greed is Good!".   Why should a Michael Eisner
        or anyone else be paid almost a trillion dollars for twenty one year's work?  Why should the
        average CEO get $14.78 million a year in compensation, while average hourly
        earnings are declining for workers?

                                          CEO Pay Is Now Absurdly Greedy and Obscene.
                                 The Shareholders Are Left Holding The Bag.  

                      Consider the case of Blackstone Group.  This is an investment banker.  Its top
                five executives earned a combined $771 million in 2006.  It expects to report
                significant losses when its past earnings are set forth.
  In an age of conspicuous
                splendor, Blackstone's Schwartzman 's gilded lifestyle has even been rebuked in
                the Wall Street Journal
Since going public, the stock has fallen and fallen some
                more.   Clearly its executives have sucked the company dry.

                                                                 BX - Blackstone Group.

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                  The Blackstone Group has devised a way for its partners to effectively avoid
           paying taxes on $3.7 billion, the bulk of what it raised last month from selling shares
           to the public. According to a report in The New York Times, although Blackstone
           will initially pay $553 million in taxes, the partners will get that back, and about $200
           million more, from the government over the long term.  

                   Without Organized Labor there is not much chance of a concerted effort to
          rectify or reform the huge imbalances between workers and CEOs.  Certainly,
          there are no signs of self-restraint among CEOs.  CEO generosity is all too often
          PR tokenism.   Warren Bufferr told Lew Dobbs:

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"Rich people are doing so well in this country. I mean,
                       we never had it so good... It's class warfare, my class is winning,..Just take the estate tax,
                       less than 2 percent of all estates pay any tax. A couple million people die every year,
                       (now only) 40,000 or so estates get taxed..."

                 As Lew Dobbs said, most Democrats went along with the cut in estate taxes
         and at the same time voted for the new pro-Bank Bankruptcy Law.
  (Source: http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/05/10/buffett/index.html   )

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                     CEO pay is set by Boards of Directors.  Clearly these people are paying top

              executives far more than is required to retain their services.  This pay is at the
              expense of both workers and shareholders.  Often departing CEOs  are paid fabulous
              sums even though their companies did poorly.  Such may be said of Henry McKinnel
              of Pfizer and Rovert Nardell of Home Depot.  Each received exit packages worth more
              than $200 million...   The best source of this information is not the Wall Street Journal,
              but the AFLCIO.  See  http://www.aflcio.org/corporatewatch/paywatch/pay/index.cfm
              More info can be found at:

  Company                       CEO                           Pay                   Total Pay
Yahoo! Terry Semel $71,660,216 $751,000,000
XTO Energy Bob Simpson $59,489,924 $1,860,000,000
Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein $54,300,000 $9,537,000,000
Occidental Petroleum Ray Irani $52,822,584 $4,182,000,000
Merrill Lynch E. Stanley O’Neal $46,375,347 $7,499,000,000
Danaher H. Lawrence Culp, Jr. $46,215,671 $1,122,000,000
Countrywide Financial Angelo Mozilo $42,994,306 $2,674,000,000
Morgan Stanley John Mack $41,400,000 $7,472,000,000
Ford Alan Mulally $39,128,100 $1,540,000
Apollo Group Todd Nelson $32,626,442 $415,000,000
AT&T Edward Whitacre $31,765,761 $7,356,0

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                      On two thirds of American corporations, the CEO is is the Chairman of the
              Board of Board of Directors.  CEOs exercise preponderant influence in the selection
              of most Board members.  Under existing proxy rules, CEO designated candidates
              can becomes members of the Board even when a majority of shareholders withhold
              support.   CEOs and incumbent directors can freely spend th corporation's treasury
              to get re-elected, while challengers must often pay millions to mount costly proxy

                         So much for CEOs being responsiblle to shareholders.  In Germany, Sweden
              and Austria, labor automatically gets seated on the Board of Directors. 

The Securities and Exchange Commission must do more to protect shareholders. 
              It had recently beefed up CEO pay disclosure, but then back-pedaled away from it,
              especially in the area of options.

            wpe8.jpg (6933 bytes)     CEOs and their minions of the Boards of Directors
        don't want unions.  They don't want criticism.  They want to steal the company's net worth
        without being caught or held responsible.   They want the current trends to greater and
        greater inequality of pay to continue.  The CEOs and the business press say more unions will
        hurt stock prices and American competitiveness.   Such claims disregard a lot of history.
        One of the reasons for the Great Depression was because the stock market and
        investment got too far ahead of the buying power of consumers, most of whom
        were workers.

         wpeB.jpg (3760 bytes)   What You Can Do                 

         Urge your senator to support Sen. Obama’s executive compensation bill.
           Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has just introduced S. 1181, the Shareholder Vote on Executive
         Compensation Act, to require that public companies submit executive pay plans to a
         nonbinding shareholder vote. This reform will give shareholders a "Say on Pay" at their
         companies. Giving shareholders a voice in the executive compensation process will encourage
         boards of directors to consider shareholder interests before approving a questionable
         compensation plan.
Contact the SEC to voice your support for director accountability.

       Globalization, Lower Pay and Trade Union Weakness in The US

                     Globalization is teaching all American workers the relevance of what Lewis warned.
         Most large American companies now routinely threaten to send their work overseas.
         It is clear, if Americans want to keep their jobs, they must work longer for less and disavow
         the idea of real collective bargaining.

Like it or not, a public backlash against "free" trade is building.  This could easily
       create  the equivalent of the Smoot Hawley Tariff of 1930, which is often blamed for making
       the US stock market Crash into a World Wide Depression.

        FT/Harris poll below surveyed more than 1,000 people online in each of 5 European countries and the USA.

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           "In response to fears of globalisation and rising inequality, the public in all the rich countries
         surveyed – the US, Germany, UK, France, Italy and Spain – want their governments to increase
         taxation on those with the highest incomes. In European countries, a large majority want
         governments to go further and to impose pay caps on the heads of companies."
         (Source: Published: July 22 2007
                       http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2a735dd0-3873-11dc-bca9-0000779fd2ac.html )

Since the 1890's Labor has demanded a 40 hour day.  The New Deal made this
         the law in 1940.  But now it's a fiction for many.  We have lost ground since about 1950.
         The truth is that to have a "middle-class" lifestyle in the US, it takes more than one job
         for most non-Unionized workers.  And adminstrative and executive jobs regularly require a
         45 or 50 or 60 hour work week. 

                   "Over the last 30 years, middle-income couples with kids have added an average of 20 weeks
                     of work, the equivalent of five more months a year. In other words, fathers who worked a lot of hours
                    before are still working a lot of hours. But mothers who used to stay at home or work part time are
                    now far more likely to be working full time... A 1997 survey by the nonprofit Families and Work
                    Institute found that employed fathers with children worked an average of 50.9 hours a week, while
                    employed mothers with children worked an average of 41.4 hours a week."

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2001839155_longhours18.html )

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                 The rise in worktime in America has been gradual.  American workers, when
            surveyed, report that they have only 16 1/2 hours of leisure a week.  They work
            longer hours than they did 40 years ago and now, perhaps, more than they did
            in the 1920s.
"U.S. manufacturing employees currently work 320 more hours—the equivalent
            of over two months—than their counterparts in West Germany or France." 
            has risen every year in the US, but five and productivity is per hour worked is
            more than twice what it was in 1948.  American are sleeping an hour to an hour
            and a half less than optimal health would require.  Marriages and child-rearing
            suffer, of course, too.
             (Source: Juliet B. Schor, "THE OVERWORKED AMERICAN" (1991) http://users.ipfw.edu/ruflethe/american.html   )

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                     The decline of organized American Labor is both a direct cause and a direct result
       of the ascendancy of the Wall Street in political thinking by both political parties.  When we
       review the rise of stock prices from 1948 to 1966 and then from 1982 to 2007, we should
       realize that this has not come without a price.   And the cost to the Amercian worker is not
       yet fully calculated.  
Strong unions helped America win World War II.  And strong unions are not
       preventing bull markets in Western European countries.

Your Vacation Too Short?

            Americans with full-time jobs now average 3.9 weeks a year in vacation and paid holidays
         combined.  Workers in Germany, Italy, Austria, Denmark, and the Netherlands average nearly twice
         as much paid time off a year.

     wpe4.jpg (14583 bytes)  http://www.cipa-apex.org/toomuch/weeklies2006/July312006.html

                  The other "advanced" industrialized countries have a far higher percentage of their
        workforce in Unions.  
Union members as % of all employees. Figures are for 2000.

                             #1 Sweden         82%     
                             #2 Finland           76%    
                             #3 Denmark        76%    
                             #4 Norway         57%    
                             #5 Belgium         53%    
                             #6 Ireland           45%    
                             #7 Austria           37%    
                             #8 Italy               35%    
                             #9 Canada          30%    
                              #10 United Kingdom      29%    
                              #11 Germany           :      26%    
                              #12 Australia          25%    
                              #13 Netherlands     25%    
                              #14 New Zealand  22%    
                              #15 Japan       :      22%    
                              #16 Switzerland   22%    
                              #17 United States 13%    

wpe9.jpg (3323 bytes)          Case Studies    
           Read case studies about CEOs at

                                                             Caremark Rx,
                                                             Home Depot,
                                                             KB Home,
                                                             Pfizer Inc.
UnitedHealth Group.

                                                                 Sometimes Humor Helps

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  (Source: http://www.businesscartoons.co.uk/shop/index.php?page=17&act=viewCat&catId=14 )

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