Record Profits for a Decade & Americans on Hamster Wheels

Since the 2008 recession – many of the best-known companies, like the airlines, technology, and automakers to just name a few, have enjoyed a nearly uninterrupted streak of profits – ten straight years to be exact. Several of the largest airlines and the big three carmakers brought in record profits such as $25 billion last year. 25 billion yet they can’t divvy that up so the entire workforce can get their fair share of the pie? Why? Hence CEO compensation hovers in the multiple tens of millions of dollars per year, followed by the rest of the executive class. That’s great, but what about the bottom 90% of the workers though? Economic Policy Institute says it’s just crumbs. Such has been the story every quarter of every year – year after year. This matters to me as an employee engagement engineer, but it might to you too – keep reading.

Since only a few benefit from company profits – in the form of huge compensation payouts, there is a growing number of U.S. workers who are getting really fed up, (wouldn’t you be?) and now many of these hard-working blue collar and white collar Americans who have not seen any type of bonus or stock perks, are fighting back. A recent article stated, workers who assemble cars, fly planes, prepare airplane food, clean hotel rooms and stock grocery store shelves, just to name a few — many of them unionized employees in the middle of contract talks — are determined to get a bigger cut of the spoils.”

So finally the tension is mounting and it’s because of what many folks are finally starting to realize. The article also stated “wage growth has not kept pace with an increase in productivity and the cost of living. Workers are now seeking not only higher pay but better working conditions”, as they should – and they are demanding better health benefits and better retirement plans and packages, “just as some companies are bracing for lower economic growth forecasts.”

As the article states about union workers – but comes to no surprise: “The American worker … has been stretched further and further and further to make ends meet,” said labor leader and United flight attendant Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which represents some 50,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines. “That’s an impossible hamster wheel to stay on.” This shouldn’t surprise anyone, you don’t need to be in a union to be on that hamster wheel – just ask the 20% of Baby Boomers who, according to a recent Harvard study, will never get to enjoy retirement or their golden years and will work until the day they pass away. So Sad, but who’s doing anything about it? Not enough people that’s for sure. We must wonder then: Has The American Dream now become the American Struggle?

There are protests, from employees of companies like Uber, Lyft, Amazon, and IBM. But that doesn’t ever seem to last long and then employees come back to work either having gained nothing or a couple of crumbs. And why shouldn’t there be more protests, companies are making record profits, but it seems like it’s all about one thing…pleasing Wall Street instead of the American worker, the lifeblood and engine of the nation.

And where are we? America now has the greatest wealth inequality of all developed nations on earth. The greatest developed country in the world has the greatest wealth inequality in the world – that just doesn’t sound right does it?

Today, I’m working on new ideas for the valuation of people and their worth. I think there is far more we can do in the name of shared capitalist prosperity.

Follow me on LinkedIn as I work with colleagues around the nation and the world to find better ways to reconstruct American Middle Class and the American Dream.

the article i cited:

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