Corporations are not democracies, and their leaders are not required to act in ways that seem fair to anyone but themselves. One of the most obvious ways in which many companies act in ways that would seem to an impartial outsider as unfair is that corporate boards tend to reward company CEOs with massive salaries and bonuses – and then lay off workers to save some of the money that they have just spent on those CEO salaries. This practice has been relatively common for at least a decade – as when in 1993 Boeing CEO Frank Shrontz earned $5.9 in salary and benefits in a year in which the company laid off 25,000 workers (Deal & Kennedy, 2000, p.74).
For-profit companies are frequently under pressure by their boards and stockholders to cut costs. One of the easiest and quickest ways in which companies can contain costs is by cutting their payroll: A company’s staff is one of the most expensive components in terms of taxation and mandates and competitive factors that make health insurance a must. This would be understandable if brutal, an aspect of doing business if companies made analogous cost-cutting measures across the board. Yet increasingly this is not the case: Those who run large firms tend to keep the goodies for themselves while the underlings suffer. (Deal & Kennedy, 2000, p. 74).
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