Companies expect workers to understand that when the economy is bad or if the company has experienced tough times for other reasons. While that may make some sense, it doesn’t always seem that way when the company executives are making $500,000 a year and getting millions in bonuses while telling everyone else they need to tighten their belts.
According to a recent news feature form the Orange County Register, union member employees from Kaiser Permanente are protesting these excessive salaries as well as these huge bonuses. They chose to hold the protest outside the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where the healthcare executives were holding their board meeting. The choice of venue to hold the meeting at hotel known for being extremely luxurious amenities only serves to prove their point.
The purpose of this meeting was premised on executive compensation and bonus packages. Protesters where holding up signs making fun of how much money the executives made while they faced more rounds of cutbacks.
When union leaders were asked what they thought about the choice of where the meeting was being held, they said it does seem to be fairly excessive considering that there are a lot of conference rooms at the hospitals and in Orange County.
There are about 18,000 workers as part of this union, and they are currently collecting signatures to get a proposition on the ballot this November that would limit total compensation for hospital executives to $450,000. The reason they have chosen that figure is because it is the current salary of the president of the United States of America. Their argument is that if you can run the United States for $450,000 then it should be enough to run a hospital system.
While anyone can put something on a ballot if they collect the requisite number of signatures, it is hard to know what would actually happen with this law and if corporations other than the hospital would challenge it, as it is likely a scary proposition to them that the government could limit the amount of compensation for company executives.
However, to get an idea of how much these bonuses are, the previous CEO of the same hospital system earned just under $10 million in total annual compensation last year, including a salary that was less than one million dollars.
As one might expect, those in favor of these huge executive compensation packages claim that if you do not pay executives this much money, it will be hard to get the best people, because they won’t work for less money. Regardless of whether this argument is convincing, to an employee who is being denied overtime pay to which he or she is legally entitled, this will certainly be as good as reason as any to stand in front of the hotel where the board members are discussing golden parachutes and executive compensation packages.
However, in addition to standing in front of a hotel with a picket sign, it is also a good time to speak with an experienced Orange County employment attorney to make sure you are getting all of the compensation to which you are entitled.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 714-937-2020.
Kaiser workers in O.C. protest ‘excessive salaries’ of hospital system’s executives, March 2, 2016, OC Register, By Courtney Perkes
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