GE CEO pay knocked down, workers have their say:
BOSTON, MASS. – On the morning of Tuesday, May 4, General Electric employees staged a protest at the front door of the GE headquarters in Boston. Workers gathered in the rain with stickers, signs, and banners decrying what was slated to be a $47 million bonus for current GE CEO Larry Culp.
"No $47 million bonus for GE CEO Larry Culp. No reward for outsourcing U.S. jobs," read one giant banner raised up by workers who have long decried the offshoring and outsourcing patterns of GE jobs spanning multiple industries, including many associated with U.S. government contracts. Meanwhile, thousands of their GE co-workers showed up to work wearing stickers emblazoned with the same slogan.
The date of the protest was timed to coincide with the annual GE shareholders meeting and the demonstration followed full-page advertisements and other public tactics that workers had been utilizing in the weeks leading up to the shareholders meeting to raise questions about GE's priorities and offshoring practices.
GE employees had also been reaching out to major shareholder groups through their union, IUE-CWA, and had participated in a webinar for shareholders the week before, calling for Larry Culp's egregious compensation package to be voted down.
Later that morning, in a rare victory for the little guy against corporate greed, the workers' efforts and outreach paid off as shareholders took a virtually unprecedented step of voting down Culp's compensation package – including his proposed $47 million bonus.
"We feel encouraged by this vote and we feel encouraged by having an administration in the White House that is ready to engage the workers and CEOs of American companies in important conversations about increasing investments in U.S. jobs and in U.S. manufacturing," said Frank Grullon, GE Lynn front-line worker, who attended the protest.
"We think there is a moment now for GE to become a new type of American company, to reinvent itself as it has before, but this time in a way that is socially responsible when it comes to matters of keeping jobs in this country, especially jobs that are being funded by government contracts. We need GE to invest in America, not just one top executive. We are glad that shareholders are starting to see it the same way," said Carl Kennebrew, National President of IUE-CWA, Manufacturing Division of the Communications Workers of America.
The workers who have led the public protests and published the advertisements are members of IUE-CWA, one of the nation’s largest unions representing manufacturing workers, including thousands of GE employees across multiple states.