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Corporate America's misers

By Joe Allen, Teamsters Local 705/UPS | September 16, 2005 | Page 10

UPS IS one of many U.S. corporations that proudly boast they are contributing millions to hurricane disaster relief. Declaring that the company would donate $1.25 million, UPS Chair and CEO Mike Eskew said: "We are committed to helping individuals in the communities in which we live and work to overcome this immediate crisis and then rebuild their lives."

UPS announced that it was going to pay all its workers in the hurricane zone for the last two weeks--which is better than other companies, like Wal-Mart, which had cut off their workers completely. It also UPS said it would support its 2,200 employees in the Gulf Coast region by "extending medical benefits to those employees who may not be working for the next 30 days."

But the crisis for UPSers and their families will undoubtedly last longer than 30 days. And given its enormous wealth and resources, UPS could do much more.

In 2004, UPS took in $36.6 billion in revenue. Divide the $1.25 million donation by 360 days of work on a 24-hour basis, and it comes to 20 minutes of revenue. This about the same amount of time it takes most of us to shower and dress before going to work.

Also, in 2004, UPS's Political Action Committee (PAC) contributed more money to Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives than the company is donating to relief efforts--$1.3 million. The PAC spent over $4.5 million on funding its favorite candidates in elections across the country, including its favorite president--George W. Bush.

Look at it another way. In the early 1980s, part-timers took a $4 an hour cut in pay. If you take 200 part-timers, for example, in Metro New Orleans and calculate the amount of extra money that UPS made from these people, based on three hours of work a day over the 20 years, you come up with an extra $14.4 million.

UPS is only giving back a fraction of what it "looted" from its workers in the New Orleans area.

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