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June 25, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Highest-paid CEOs in 2011

Unnecessary raise in compensation

The double-digit rise of CEO compensation last year, as reported in The Seattle Times [“Top execs win raises in spite of ‘say on pay,’ ” Business, June 24] should come as no surprise.

Since the 1980s, corporate executives have managed to spectacularly enrich themselves while wages for workers have stagnated. But there is a less familiar, though increasingly common, story of how workers, particularly in our region, are responding to these inequities. Working families are fed up, starting to take action and getting organized.

In February, Port of Seattle truck drivers went out on a wildcat strike to protest unsafe working conditions at one of the largest, wealthiest ports in the country.

Their brave actions inspired hundreds of poverty-wage workers at Sea-Tac Airport to rally for change. Janitors who clean downtown offices have recently authorized a strike as have recycle and yard-waste drivers employed by corporate giant Waste Management. Seattle taxi drivers have formed a new association to combat an unfair regulatory system that sets them back thousands of dollars a month, while workers at the Davis Wire mill in Kent have withheld their labor for the last five weeks. They recognized that their dignity is worth more than miserable wages and dangerous working conditions proffered by a billionaire owner who cares only about his own profits.

With 23 percent of all children in the U.S. living in poverty, the excess of executive compensation is a national disgrace. Working people in our region and elsewhere realize what is at stake, and they are starting to fight back.

— Tracey A. Thompson, secretary-treasurer, Teamsters Local 117, Tukwila

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