Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Kline's Supports BIG Corporations over Local American Workers

Posted in Kline’s weekly newsletter (09.16.2005):

“Over the past few months, I have been in contact with Northwest Airlines CEO Doug Steenland and know of his efforts to resolve the company's financial woes. I will continue to work with Northwest to determine the most effective solution for their employees and retirees. I have also shared my concerns with Treasury Secretary John Snow and requested his assistance in addressing the specific needs of Northwest Airlines.”

Is it just me or does Mr. Kline emphasis helping NW Airlines and meeting their needs over…oh let’s say…the mechanics or pilots or everydammday joe airline worker?

Kline should be working for pay equity and benefits for the modest everyday NWA workers…like the NWA striking mechanics. He should be talking to the people that get up every morning, eat cereal and get the kids off to school then go to work for a living wage, an average wage, a middle income wage, a wage that most of ‘us’ make verses multi-millionaire NWA CEO Steenland. Which one represents the average population in Congressional District 2? As an elected official Congressman Kline is charged with looking out for our interests, the people who elected him and not the profiteering elitist interests of a BIG Corporation.

What’s that phase... thieves working together or foxes guarding the chicken coop! What really is shocking is that Congressman Kline brags in a newsletter that he’s in contact with Steenland and seems to defend him in his role at NWA. A role, I might add, that has seen more than a fair amount of NWA positions in the last 4 years OUTsourced to foreign countries.

A Tale of Two NWA Workers

The average NWA striking mechanic made $60,000 a year.
That’s above average but certainly not an obscene amount of money to raise a family.

Naturally there’s a benefit package that goes with each employee, such care, retirement pension…so we’ll round up their yearly salary to the grand total of $70,000 a year. Of course, Mr. Steenland wants them to take a 25% pay cut, defer their retirement pension, and allow over 50% of their positions to be OUTsourced. But that's another story....

Compare that with what Kline’s talking pal and CEO Steenland made in 2004:

• Salary $472,649
• Short term comp $71,040
• Other Long term comp $3,108,575
That’s a grand total of $4,421,480 (or 4 million plus or an obscene amount of money!)

Oops, I forgot his stock options…
• Unexercised market value $241,799
• Unexercisable market value $725,390
That’s a total of $967,189

NWA paid CEO Mr. Steenland in 2004…. 4.4 million!
Not bad considering that NWA has NOT turned a profit since he’s been CEO. And just this week, NWA filed bankruptcy.

But not to worry, a day before filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, (a right to bankruptcy that John Kline voted to eliminated for average Americans but not for BIG Business)Northwest Airlines Corp. inked a one-year deal with Steenland to prevent him from taking a job at another airline.

The new deal keeps Steenland's base salary and incentive compensation, which were reduced as part of a cost-cutting program last December. Steenland's salary of $675,000 was cut to $573,750 as part of a deal that trimmed management salaries as well as pay for Northwest pilots. Still, Steenland's base salary and incentive compensation packages remain unchanged. And given the amount he made in 2004…well 2005 should be more than okay for Dougie. But the future is not as shiny for other NWA workers.

Average Worker Facing Possible Loss

Northwest Airlines' move to bankruptcy court came as unsettling news for Linda Harris of Niceville, Florida, a former Northwest flight attendant. Her husband is a retired Northwest pilot, and their family lives on his monthly pension checks.

Harris said she's worried about the possibility of losing income and insurance as Northwest reorganizes in bankruptcy.

"They will look at people like us who retired with a good salary, who have medical insurance, who earned all these things," says Harris. "And they do whatever they can to take advantage of any monetary obligations they have in order to survive."

I guess it takes one to know one…so go ahead Mr. Kline, keep talking with your pal Steenland and keep furthering the cause of BIG CORPORATIONS like NWA over everyday American workers. But don’t be too surprised when the everyday working joe votes you out on your elitist derrière.

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