Sodexo awarded for ethics as workers make minimum wage

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Excerpt:
Employee sources said that a significant percentage of workers live paycheck to paycheck; they are forced to frequent soup kitchens and charities to feed themselves and their families. The problem has been ongoing since at least fall 2008, when one employee estimated that between 65 and 70 percent of workers used charities to get food. Paul Kerns, general manager for Sodexo at BU, said he could not verify the statistics.

Sodexo partners with Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW) to collect food donations on campus.

Does Golden Pay for the CEOs Sink Stocks?

Links to the studies are included in the article.  Read the article here.

Excerpt:
Why does it seem that it’s always Christmas in corporate boardrooms? And how can investors tell whether those glittering pay packages are worth the cost?

The answer sounds obvious: Pay the boss more for good results now, and you should get even better results later. But the evidence for that is surprisingly weak, and two new studies even suggest that when chief executive officers get paid more, shareholders end up earning less.

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Scapegoating the Minimum Wage

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Excerpt:

What critics do do – in both good economic times and bad – is offer the usual bromide that the minimum wage is a “job-killer.” In reality, though, the most careful studies of state and federal minimum wage increases have found little evidence of job loss. For example, states that raised their minimum wages higher than the federal level between 1997 and 2007 (when the federal minimum wage was stuck at $5.15 an hour) enjoyed lower unemployment rates than states that did not. When Congress finally raised the minimum wage in 2007, the move was endorsed by more than 650 economists, including five Nobel laureates and six past presidents of the American Economics Association, who argued that the increase would significantly improve the lives of low-wage workers “without the adverse effects critics have claimed.”

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Feminomics: Women Reformers Motivated by a No Tolerance Rule

A great article from a very interesting website. Read the article here.
Excerpt:

During the past year, the financial sector has done a lot of wrong. First, it nearly self-destructed. Then it engaged with a set of Washington elites to extract trillions of dollars of public funds to ease its pain. Now, it’s posting record bonuses on the back of that assistance, in a disgustingly entitled manner, as if its profits are based on sheer skill, rather than federal aid, accounting tricks, and regulatory indifference. What’s missing from this reckless scenario? Women.

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Wall Street pay comes bouncing back

Crain’s New York Business
Aaron Elstein
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Excerpt:

Happy paydays are here again. On Wall Street, at least.

Compensation consultancy Johnson Associates last week forecast that Wall Street bonuses would rise 40% this year. At Goldman Sachs, average pay per employee is on pace for $658,000 this year—80% higher than a year ago. Generous pay guarantees for incoming executives and golden parachutes for departing managers are making a comeback at financial firms. And salaries are going straight up.

American Express Co. last month disclosed it recently raised the base salaries of its chief financial officer and two other executives by a range of 24% to 48% to offset 10% pay reductions they took earlier this year, before the credit card giant had repaid the government its $3.4 billion in bailout money. And new details on the $20 million exit package for President Alfred Kelly, who is leaving AmEx by April to search for a CEO post elsewhere, show his $9.7 million in severance will be paid fortnightly over two years, even if he lands a job at Bank of America or another big competitor. AmEx declined to comment.

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Maybe a New Day for Doctors’ Pay

The New York Times
Robert H. Frank
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Excerpt:

The United States spends twice as much per capita on health care as many other nations, yet achieves inferior outcomes by such varied measures as life expectancy, preventable deaths from specific illnesses, and infant mortality. Much of the performance gap stems from the fact that many of the nation’s 45 million uninsured fail to receive needed care.

The spending gap stems largely from a conflict inherent in how American physicians are paid. Elsewhere, most doctors are salaried. But under most American health plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, doctors are reimbursed according to how many tests and procedures they perform.

Most doctors undoubtedly recommend only those tests and procedures that they sincerely believe to be in their patients’ best interests. Yet those interests are seldom completely clear. And when doctors know that their incomes will be higher if they recommend additional procedures, many may tilt in that direction.

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Study: CEO Salaries At Nonprofits Up In 2008

NPR
Pam Fessler
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Excerpt:

It’s one of those things that irks charitable givers no end — the high salaries paid to some nonprofit CEOs.

And a new study by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, released Monday, shows that the top pay at the nation’s largest nonprofits rose again last year, with some eye-popping results. But the survey also found signs that these high-dollar salaries may be starting to turn around.

Seven-Figure Salaries

Here are some of the more striking numbers: $2.1 million for the director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York; $2.7 million for the head of a health care group in Boston; $1.3 million for the president of New York University.

The survey found that many nonprofit CEOs earned half a million dollars or more last year, and that the median pay raise was 7 percent. But to be fair, says Chronicle editor Stacy Palmer, most of those salaries were set before charities and foundations felt the effects of the recession.

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Sharper Claws for Recovering Executive Pay

The New York Times
Gretchen Morgenson
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Excerpt:

INVESTORS everywhere should applaud the deal struck last week by the UnitedHealth Group to recover nearly $1 billion in pay from former executives involved in the company’s option backdating mess.

Not only is the number big and round — by far the largest giveback by corporate executives ever — but the recovery sets a standard of behavior for other companies and boards when performance pay is later shown to have been based on ephemeral earnings.

What if C.E.O. Pay Is Fair?

New York Times
Joe Nocera
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Excerpt:

“I really don’t want to answer that question,” said Ira T. Kay, flashing me some combination of half-grin and half-grimace. “I have clients.”

Does he ever. Mr. Kay, 57, heads the executive compensation practice at Watson Wyatt Worldwide, which is one of the country’s leading compensation consulting firms. He is a funny, gregarious man, quick with a clever retort, and utterly without guilt about what he does for a living — not only enabling big-time chief executives to make oodles of money, but defending most of the practices that allow corporate chieftains to reap their millions.

For years, Mr. Kay has overseen an annual Wyatt Watson executive compensation survey, which the firm describes as an effort to provide “perspective on the executive pay model in general, pay for performance, stock ownership and share usage.” The Ira Kay perspective, not surprisingly, is that while there may be a few problems here and there (about which more later), the model is a darn good one.

A few months ago, Mr. Kay wrote a book entitled “Myths and Realities of Executive Pay” (Cambridge University Press), with Steven Van Putten, a Watson Wyatt colleague, that goes even further. “It is not a coincidence that the Dow Jones industrial average, which stood at 5,000 in 1996, is now well above 13,000,” the authors write. “While U.S. executive pay practices do not entirely explain this rise, there is little doubt that it would not have occurred without them.” I’ve heard Mr. Kay make this point before — and even debated him on it. He really does seem to believe that all of the great economic benefits we’ve enjoyed in this country during the past two decades or so can be traced back, in no small part, to the way we pay our chief executives. I, on the other hand, believe he’s got the cause and effect exactly backward: that it was the rising market that made the lucky fellas running America’s corporations look like geniuses — and made them richer than they’d ever imagined, thanks to the shift to stock options as the primary way to reward executives.