Unions Pressure GE, IBM for Changes

April 23, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Members of the International Union of Electronic Workers-Communications Workers of America (IUE-CWA) will be pressing two of America's biggest companies to use their profits to benefit workers and not senior managers.

The IUE-CWA said in a press release that it would “greet shareholders” outside the Waukesha County Expo Center in Waukesha, Wisconsin at a General Electric Company (GE) shareholder meeting. The goal was to convince GE to use its $14.1 billion in profits to “maintain quality jobs and ensure worker retirement security.”

The union is also pressing for a shareholder resolution to keep GE pension fund income separate in determining executive and incentive pay.

“Including pension fund income in executive compensation formulas distorts the concept of pay for performance,” the union said in a statement. “Executives and senior management should focus on improving the business and not rely on pension income to boost the company’s bottom line.”

IBM Shareholder Initiatives

IBM Corporation’s shareholders are scheduled to consider a similar resolution about including pension income in incentive pay formulas in the giant computermaker’s April 30 meeting Louisville, Kentucky.

There, the union said, members will “express their concerns” to shareholders.

According to the union, IBM’s 2001 pension fund earnings contributed 13.2% to the company’s pre-tax earnings.

Shareholders also will consider a resolution calling on the IBM board to ensure that all employees have the same choice regarding their pension and retirement medical insurance as the company offered to those employees within five years of retirement in 1999.

That’s when IBM slashed retirement pay for some employees by as much as 50% and made extensive cuts in retiree health care.