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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Creigh Deeds Stands Up for Circuit City Workers

Senator Creigh Deeds today called on Circuit City CEO, James Marcum, to continue providing health care coverage, under COBRA, for his laid off workers, all of whom will lose it. Meanwhile, a federal bankruptcy court judge approved more than $4.6 million in bonuses for Circuit City corporate executives. I kid you not, the press release from Deed's campaign is below:


DEEDS CALLS ON CIRCUIT CITY CEO TO KEEP WORKERS INSURED, NIX EXECUTIVE BONUSES


RICHMOND – Senator Creigh Deeds called on Circuit City CEO James Marcum today to keep his laid-off employees from losing their health care coverage and forgo his request for more than $4.6 million in bonuses for senior executives.

Circuit City announced yesterday that all employees will lose their health insurance on March 31st and will not be eligible to extend their coverage under the COBRA health care program. The news broke the same day a federal bankruptcy judge approved more than $4.6 million in bonuses for corporate executives.

“The issue here is fairness. It’s just not acceptable to ask for multi-million dollar executive bonuses while denying health care to laid-off workers,” said Creigh Deeds, “The company failed, so I question why the executives think they deserve any bonuses at all. Corporate responsibility requires that we look out for all of those who have lost their jobs, not just those at the top of the salary scale.”

Circuit City has announced layoffs of 1,500 workers at its corporate headquarters in Henrico County and more than 35,000 layoffs nationwide.
Never mind the sheer chutzpah of declaring bankruptcy, throwing over 35,000 people out of work and ending their health care coverage while rewarding executives with bonuses It seems that the top echelon in the business world have lost all sense of shame and comon sense.

Usually when a worker loses his job, he is eligible to remain in the company's group health insurance plan but, unlike those still employed, he must pay the entire premium. But he still gets the group rate, which makes it cheaper than purchasing an individual plan. But in this case, Circuit City has managed to leave its employees with no health care coverage.

Kudos to Creigh Deeds for highlighting this and taking up for the workers. As for that bankruptcy judge, I'm still just shaking my head. Meanwhile, below is Creigh Deed's letter to Marcum.
February 25, 2009


Mr. James Marcum
Acting Chief Executive Officer
Circuit City Corporate Headquarters
9950 Maryland Drive
Richmond, VA 23233

Dear Mr. Marcum:

I am writing to ask you to reverse your decision to end health care coverage for the laid-off Circuit City workers starting March 31st and forgo your request for more than $4.63 million in bonuses for corporate executives.

I appreciate the concerns you shared publicly in December for maintaining benefits for these workers. However, as the plan currently stands, you are putting executive pay for the few ahead of basic health care for thousands of workers laid-off by your company.

The issue here is fairness. It is just not acceptable for you to ask for multi-million dollar executive bonuses while denying health care to laid-off workers. The company failed, so I question why you think these executives deserve any bonuses at all. Corporate responsibility requires that we look out for all of those who have lost their jobs, not just those at the top of the salary scale.

Again, I call on you to provide health care benefits for your workers and end your plans to provide large bonuses to your top executives. Please feel free to contact me at 804-698-7525 to discuss this further.

Sincerely,



Senator R. Creigh Deeds
Deeds hit the most crucial point with one question. Why do Marcum and his top executives even believe they are entitled to bonuses after their business failed? If they wish to save it under reorganization, shouldn't they be showing some responsibility and accountability? And shouldn't their first thought be for their investors, then their own employees and then themselves?

In the New York Times the other day, I saw this quote: "If a truck driver crashes his truck, does he get a bonus for good driving?"

Shouldn't that be the same question we apply to all these ivory tower, gilded executives holding out their hands for public moneys while continuing to suck their own corporations dry with bonuses they don't deserve for performances they haven't met. Who are these people who still think they bring value when they are driving their businesses into failure and then sapping it of money?

1 comment:

Brad said...

Good for Mr. Deeds! After all Circuit City meant for the Richmond area and all the area did for Circuit City, it's the least Marcum could do. I don't have a dog in the hunt, especially after moving out of VA for DC, but he's certainly looking like a great choice for gov.

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